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The Ron Magill Conservation Scholarship provides a $5,000 annual scholarship to a graduate student in the Department of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation at the University of Florida. The scholarship enables training for the next generation of conservationists.
The 2019 winner of the UF Ron Magill Conservation Scholarship was Celso Poot for his research on tapirs in Belize. Celso is an unusual student among the graduate research assistants in the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation at the University of Florida, in that he began his degree program with over two decades of experience in wildlife conservation in Central America. A native of Belize, Celso began his affiliation with the Belize Zoo in 1995, when he was hired as an environmental educator. He was subsequently promoted to Education Director, and then to Manager of Operations and Finance. He currently oversees the facility’s staff of 56 individuals.
The 2018 winner of the UF Ron Magill Conservation Scholarship was Anmari Alvarez-Aleman for her work in conserving the endangered Antillean manatee in Cuba. Born and raised in Cuba, Ms. Alvarez-Aleman has worked her way through a demanding curriculum in Cuba to be accepted into the highly competitive PhD program at the University of Florida and has received extremely high praise from all of her professors there.
The 2017 winner of the UF Ron Magill Conservation Scholarship at the University of Florida, graduate student Michael Esbach, along with his award-winning proposal! His work goes to the very core of what we believe is the key to conservation – the coexistence of communities with their surrounding wildlife and the sustainable use of that wildlife for the betterment of the communities through research and education. In the photograph with Michael (center) is Eric Hellgren, Chair of the Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Department at the University of Florida, and Bette Loiselle, Director of the Tropical Conservation Program at the UF School for Natural Resources and the Environment.
Maria Juliana Bedoya-Duran received the scholarship in 2016 to further her work in Columbia with local communities to preserve wildlife corridors in a biodiverse region.
Matt Hallett was awarded the first annual scholarship. Matt studies interdisciplinary ecology with a focus on tropical conservation and development. In Guyana, he has been researching how vegetation structure, hunting intensity, and livestock affect large wild mammals, like jaguars.