Skip to content

National Geographic/Buffett Awards for Leadership in Conservation

Nominations for the 2020 National Geographic Buffett Awards for Leadership in Africa and Latin America are now open

Picture of Victor Zambrano

Photograph by Kerenda Zambrano

Nominations for the 2020 National Geographic Buffett Awards for Leadership in Africa and Latin America are now open. The deadline to submit the nominations is Friday, January 10, 2020. Find the guidelines and nomination form here.


Submit a nomination

Awards for Leadership in Conservation

The National Geographic/Buffett Awards for Leadership in Conservation were established in partnership with the Howard G. Buffett Foundation to recognize and celebrate unsung conservation heroes who are working in the field. Two awards are presented each year: one for achievement in Africa and the other for achievement in Latin America. These outstanding individuals have demonstrated leadership in managing and protecting the natural resources in their regions and countries, and are inspirational conservation advocates who serve as role models and mentors.


“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 Programme, and is a member of National Geographic's Council of Advisors.

2019 Award Recipients

Photograph by Liana John

Patrícia Medici

Patrícia Medici is a Brazilian conservationist who has dedicated her life to the conservation of lowland tapirs—the largest land mammal in South America—and their remaining habitats in Brazil. For the past 27 years, Patrícia has worked for the Brazilian nonprofit Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas (Institute for Ecological Research), of which she was a founding member. In 1996, she founded the Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative, which has directly led to the development of global, national, and regional tapir conservation strategies and action plans. Also, for almost two decades, Patrícia has been the chairperson of the IUCN SSC Tapir Specialist Group, helping to grow a global network of over 130 tapir conservationists from 27 countries.

Photograph by Lucy Keith-Diagne

Tomas Diagne

Tomas Diagne is an expert in African freshwater turtles and tortoises who has been working to save threatened and endangered turtle species in West Africa for the past 25 years. He began rescuing endangered African spurred tortoises as a teenager in Senegal and in 1992 he established S.O.S. (Save Our Sulcata), a nonprofit conservation organization. He also co-founded and built the Village des Tortues in Noflaye, Senegal, a sanctuary and captive breeding facility for African freshwater turtles and tortoises that now houses over 300 individuals and has reintroduced numerous others back to the wild. Tomas has also been active in freshwater and marine turtle research in other countries across Africa. In 2009, he created the African Chelonian Institute to expand turtle research, captive breeding, and the reintroduction of all African turtle species to the wild.