Millennial engagement in conservation at the ICCB 2017 Conference in Cartagena, Colombia.


What a convention! I'm back home from Colombia where Cecile Tang and I attended the 28th International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB), arranged by the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB). 

Cecile Tang and Myself, Touchdown in Cartagena!

Cecile Tang and Myself, Touchdown in Cartagena!


Held this year in the hot and humid, but beautiful Cartagena (a vibrant city located on the coast of Colombia in the Caribbean region) ICCB is one of the largest global forums that address the many conservation challenges we face. Ideal for learning about and for presenting innovative research in the fields of conservation science and practice.

This year’s congress focused on sustainability, with the theme being

Insight for Sustaining Life on Earth”,

which in my opinion answers to the need for conservation science to help create and secure the future of both biodiversity and people.  Approximately 70 countries from around the world were represented at the conference. Oral workshops, symposiums, posters and plenary presentations covered a variety of topics, from conservation databases and tools, technology, genetics, community-based conservation, to the restoration of biodiversity and conservation conflict.

I was interested in many topics. just a few of the workshops and symposiums that I participated in during the conference were: 

  • Thinking about conservation in an uncertain world,

  • Conservation challenges and opportunities in areas of armed conflict,

  • Predation risk modeling as a decision-making tool for reducing Human-Wildlife Conflict,

  • What’s hindering the success of conservation translocations?,

  • Monitoring and remote sensing speed talk,

  • Conservation matrix,

  • Wildlife trade chains,

  • Data-rich but insight poor? How to use data scene to empower management and conservation,

  • Empowering the use of camera traps in ecology and conservation,

  • Living within giants - Human Elephants Conflict in Myanmar

  • Promoting community-based management of fisheries resources in the Colombian Pacific coast.

Presenting my work on the Youth Panel.

Presenting my work on the Youth Panel.

The Youth panel and IFAW team celebrating after a successful ICCB!

The Youth panel and IFAW team celebrating after a successful ICCB!


But on top of all of this, my most important role in the congress was participating in the youth panel, alongside Melina Sakiyama from the Global Youth for Biodiversity Network (GYBN) and Luz Rodriguez from the Conservation Leadership In the Caribbean program (CLiC), in the workshop entitled:

Millennial Conservation: How Today Youth Will Shape Tomorrow Conservation”.

This panel was organized by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). It was a unique opportunity for each one of us to share our voice regarding our personal journey in conservation, and I was able to bring insights from my forest community in Kenya. What united us was our belief in youth engagement for conservation, and the importance of including youth for long-lasting conservation impacts.


Cecile Tang, proudly presented our poster based on our project report entitled; Millennial Engagement in Wildlife Conservation: motivation, challenges and opportunities of youth globally (photo).

Cecile and myself also enjoyed meeting, interacting and learning from scientists from different part of the world. Many people came to talk to us and we got an opportunity to share with people the goal of Y4WC in depth, the findings of our Millennial Conservation project, and grow our professional networks. We received a lot of encouraging words from passionate conservationists, which actually made the conference even more worthwhile to attend. 

Being my first time visiting South America, the congress was much more educational and motivational than I expected. I am inspired!