Marsh Award for Marine Conservation Leadership

The Marsh Award for Marine Conservation Leadership, run in partnership with Fauna and Flora International, has a specific focus on recognising those special people and organisations who are having a profound impact on marine conservation activities where they operate.

It particularly focuses on those who have been active in the communities, highlighting local leaders or organisations making a particularly special contribution to marine conservation through FFI’s three organisational aims:

• To secure the future of key threatened habitats and species.
• To address the root causes of biodiversity loss.
• To help others deliver conservation gains.

The 2014 winner is Patricia Davis

Patricia, pictured right, is an exceptional marine conservationist. She has independently secured funding for and delivered a number of pioneering projects, working with communities across many nations, from the Pacific islands and South East Asia to eastern Africa and the western Indian Ocean. In doing so, she has managed to bridge differences in language, culture and gender for the common purpose of conserving threatened species.

Patricia studied Zoology as an undergraduate at Oxford University and completed a Masters degree in Protected Area Management at James Cook University, in Queensland. At the age of 24 she travelled to the island of Palau in Micronesia where she worked closely with fishing communities and government representatives to highlight the plight of the smallest population of dugongs in the world.

It was during this period that she also co-founded the not-for-profit organisation, ‘Community Centred Conservation’ - ‘C3.’

Patricia has worked in the Comoros Archipelago, off the East Coast of Africa where she recruited a local team to conduct research, community awareness and conservation activities and completed the first national survey of dugongs. This encouraged the Comoros to sign the new Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species on Dugong Conservation.

Patricia relocated to Madagascar when she was invited by government representatives to extend her work to their country. Between 2009 and 2011 she completed the largest ever survey of dugongs and their habitat. She has also built foundations in the Philippines to establish the first dedicated dugong research and conservation programme in the province of Palawan.

Patricia has pioneered the 'Environmental Stewardship' model. This focuses on community-based marine conservation in return for the development of social services and infrastructure, such as repair of schools and delivery of healthcare. She has also designed a survey technique which can be applied in remote areas, where dugong populations are too small to study through conventional techniques. The surveys have been incorporated into a global survey technique which is now promoted worldwide.

Patricia’s efforts have been recognised in recent years by a number of Awards, including the Conservation Leadership Programme's Future Conservationist Award (2007), the Future for Nature Award (2012) and the Environmental Laureate Award (2014).


Fauna & Flora International
4th Floor, Jupiter House
Station Road, Cambridge
United Kingdom



Previous Winners:

2013 Joni Trio Wibowo

2012 Zafer Kizilkaya

2011 Alexander Gaos