The Conservancy would like to congratulate Maria Azhunova, Director Elect of the Conservancy’s Land of the Snow Leopard Network & Executive Director of the Baikal Buryat Center of Indigenous Cultures, who is this year’s recipient of Stanford’s Bright Environmental Award.
This top honor is given to individuals who are dedicating their careers to increasing sustainability & to conservation of the environment. While recognizing her past achievements, this award will enable Maria to achieve her full potential as a leader in biological and cultural conservation.
According to the Stanford Report:
Maria Azhunova, winner of the 2020 Bright Award, supports the intergenerational transfer of traditional knowledge and biocultural approaches to nature conservation through her work at the Baikal Buryat Center for Indigenous Cultures. From her family’s ancient homeland in the mountainous region of the Buryat Republic in Southern Siberia, Russia, Maria Azhunova harnesses generations of her people’s Indigenous knowledge to preserve Buryat culture and biodiversity across a vast multinational region of Central Asia – including the preservation of critically endangered snow leopards in direct cooperation with local peoples, youth education programs focused on sustaining Buryat language and traditional lifeways, and the reintroduction of an ancient Indigenous Buryat cattle breed once believed to be extinct. Azhunova does this work as executive director of the Baikal Buryat Center for Indigenous Cultures (BBCIC) and as director-elect of a unique multinational conservation collaborative, the Land of the Snow Leopard Network (LOSL).
Maria Azhunova and Dr. Rodney Jackson at the 2019 WCN Wildlife Conservation Expo