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National Geographic/Buffett Awards

Awards for Leadership in Conservation

The annual National Geographic Society/Buffett Awards for Leadership in Conservation were established by the Society and The Howard G. Buffett Foundation to recognize and celebrate unsung heroes working in the field. Two awards are presented each year: one for achievement in Africa (established in 2002) and the other for achievement in Latin America (established in 2005).

Recipients of these awards have demonstrated outstanding leadership in managing and protecting the natural resources in their regions and countries. In addition, they are each inspirational conservation advocates who serve as role models and mentors.

Award recipients are chosen  from nominations submitted to National Geographic Society through a rigorous peer-review process. The awardees chosen each year are honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., and receive a one-time award of $25,000 to support their ongoing work.


“The individuals that hold the front line for conservation often go unrecognized while making great personal sacrifices. This award was established to motivate and support these great conservationists.”

—Howard G. Buffett

Howard G. Buffett is president of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, which focuses on humanitarian and conservation issues. An agriculturalist, businessman, and widely published photographer, Buffett is also a member of the Commission on Presidential Debates, serves as a United Nations Ambassador Against Hunger for the United Nations World Food Program, and is a member of National Geographic's Council of Advisors.

2019 Award Nominations

Nominations for the 2019 National Geographic Buffett Awards for Leadership in Africa and Latin America are now open. Find the guidelines and nomination form here.

The deadline to submit the nominations is
Friday November 30, 2018.

Nominate Now

2018 Awardees

Leonidas Nzigiyimpa

Since 2001, Leonidas Nzigiyimpa has been the chief warden in charge of the protected areas in the southern region of Burundi. Through his commitment, passion, and leadership, he is safeguarding the critical habitats of scores of species of birds and mammals, and is addressing the challenge of agricultural encroachment by involving communities in management and conservation decisions.

Against a backdrop of political and social unrest, and even death threats, Leonidas is working toward his dream of offering Burundians and others a peaceful place where they can admire the natural beauty of the region and become advocates for its protection.

Pablo Garcia Borboroglu

Pablo Garcia Borboroglu is the founder and director of the Global Penguin Society, which worked with the government of Argentina to secure the protection of 3.1 million hectares of penguin habitat in Patagonia. This UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is 58 percent marine and 42 percent land and contains almost half of the global population of Magellanic penguins. This new reserve, called Patagonia Azul, was granted status in 2015.

Pablo is also passionate about inspiring and educating the next generation of our planet’s guardians: our children. His educational program, Messengers of the Sea, is in its 10th year and has taught thousands of students across Latin America about the importance of protecting our natural world.