Introducing the Australian Geographic Awards for Nature

By AG STAFF 7 February 2024
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The Australian Geographic Awards for Nature is the Society’s brand-new flagship conservation funding program.

These competitive grants will run annually and each of the grants, known henceforth as awards, are worth either $20,000, $30,000 or $50,000 each.

Through this program, we aim to support conservation leaders working across Australia. We will offer tiered, continuing, financial and practical assistance to courageous changemakers spearheading scientifically informed local solutions to the biodiversity, pollution and climate crises.

In 2024, year one of the program, we will be awarding one grant in each of the three categories: $20,000, $30,000 and $50,000. In subsequent years, we will award two in each category, and from year three, we will add continuation funding to projects that show growth.

First round applications for this inaugural year (expressions of interest stage) open 7 February 2024 and close 28 March 2024.

A near threatened Eastern quoll (Dasyurus viverrinus). Image credit: Aussie Ark

Funding through this program will be awarded to organised projects tackling major and urgent environmental issues

  • Biodiversity loss
  • Feral and invasive species of plants and animals
  • Habitat loss and degradation
  • Nature-based climate change mitigation
  • Natural disasters resulting from climate change
  • Pollution both marine and terrestrial

Types of projects likely to succeed

  • Citizen science projects linked to practical conservation outcomes
  • Fenced sanctuaries
  • Rewilding programs
  • Translocation programs
  • Marine conservation
  • Nature-based climate change impact adaption and mitigation
  • Pollution mitigation
  • Wildlife corridors
  • Habitat restoration
  • Applied scientific research with tangible projects
  • Insurance population building
A pod of common dolphins (Delphinus delphis). Image credit: shutterstock

More than money

In addition to funding, the Society identifies capacity building opportunities, creates media assets and offers PR and media training to our awardees if applicable. 

From 2026, past awardees will be eligible to apply for continuation funds from the Society. The winners of follow-up funding will be announced along with that year’s Australian Geographic Awards for Nature.  

Public event

The winners of the Australian Geographic Awards for Nature are announced at a public ceremony which takes place in October/November each year. Details will be announced later in the year.  

When do applications open? 

Expressions of interest (EOI) will be invited from 7 February 2024 until 28 March 2024. This will take the form of an A4 sheet of paper with a summary description of your project.  

Once these EOI’s have been reviewed, potential awardees will be invited to apply for the awards during April 2024. 

How can I apply? 

Please check the eligibility criteria below and, if you think your project qualifies, email the administrator of the Australian Geographic Society for an information pack at [email protected] 

How long does it take to apply? 

The EOI should fit on one A4 sheet of paper. This shouldn’t take very long to complete. If you are invited to the next stage to submit a full application for the Australian Geographic Awards for Nature grants, the process will be online and will require more detailed information including plans and budgets. 

Can I see examples of successful projects? 

As this is a new program, we don’t have examples yet. 

Who will review my application? 

The Australian Geographic Society appoints an expert review panel each year. It is made up of environmental scientists and conservation experts alongside key personnel from Australian Geographic and office bearers of the Australian Geographic Society. 

Can I request an explanation of the result? 

Due to limited resources within the AG Society, it will not be possible to engage directly with the staff or review panel during the EOI review phase or request individual feedback on unsuccessful applications. 

What happens if I am successful? 

There will be strict milestone reporting requirements to fulfil as a condition of the funds. It is vital to demonstrate the impact of our funding well into the future. 

We will visit your project to create the story and media assets as described above. We will invite you and your team to attend the award ceremony. During your visit, there will be media coverage of the awards, and we hope that you will be available for any media opportunities that arise in connection with the prize both at the time of the announcements and at any time in the future. 

Australia’s red sands. Image credit: Unsplash

Eligibility criteria

  • Located in Australia or on an Australian o/s territory (Macquarie Isand, Antarctica, Christmas Island, Cocos Keeling Island etc.)
  • Operating at a grass roots, hands on level
  • Run by passionate dedicated people who will be able to inspire others and who can communicate their projects in an articulate and effective way that helps others to become engaged and involved. As such, we are looking to award individuals who are leading a team and prefer a face or identity for the project
  • Informed by the latest scientific research
  • Uses evidence-based methods and with existing indications of success
  • Demonstrates community stakeholder involvement and/or engagement including with First Nations stakeholders
  • Projects with scalability
  • Clear and measurable outcomes; reporting requirements will be part of the award
  • Sustainable projects with longevity; we will be looking to track progress and impact well into the future
  • Proven ability to manage funding

What won’t be considered

  • Pure academic research; we will consider applied research with conservation outcomes
  • PhD student fieldwork
  • Captive breeding programs for commercial zoos (this doesn’t include captive breeding for establishing a conservation program or to supplement a wild or captive existing population or for re-establishing a population that is extinct in the wild)
  • Campaigns, legal/media costs and protests
  • Films, documentaries and media projects
  • Events and conferences
  • Public education programs that don’t include a hands-on community conservation project