UN Foundation Announces 2022 Thomas Lovejoy Memorial Press Fellows

Washington, D.C.

October 7, 2022


Megan Rabbitt

The United Nations Foundation today announced the inaugural cohort of Thomas Lovejoy Memorial Press Fellows. The ten international journalists will travel to Manaus, Brazil where they will visit a remote research station in the Amazon, known as Camp 41, to report on topics related to biodiversity, deforestation, climate change, and sustainable development.

Selected from a competitive pool of over 1,000 applicants from around the world, the fellows are:

Gloria Dickie, Reuters (UK/Canada)
Mélissa Godin, Freelance (France/Canada)
Robbie Gramer, Foreign Policy (USA)
Farai Shawn Matiashe, Freelance (Zimbabwe)
Christine Ro, Freelance (UK)
Dewi Safitri, CNN Indonesia (Indonesia)
Adele Machado Santelli, TV Cultura (Brazil)
Kirk Siegler, NPR (USA)
Adam Vaughan, Times of London (UK)
Phillippe de Campos Thiers Watanabe, Folha de S. Paulo (Brazil)

The Fellowship is named after the late Dr. Thomas Lovejoy, the renowned ecologist and Senior Fellow for the UN Foundation who first popularized the term “biodiversity.” Camp 41 is one of the best-known field camps co-managed by the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragment Project (BDFFP), which was founded in 1979 by Dr. Lovejoy as a lab for scientists, a school for students, and an exposition to those in power about why we must preserve the world’s largest rainforest.

“Tom’s love of our planet’s wondrous diversity was infectious,” said UN Foundation President and CEO Elizabeth Cousens. “He inspired countless people over decades to defend and protect the Amazon – from young researchers and students to journalists and world leaders alike – through trips to his beloved Camp 41. We are honored to host the Thomas Lovejoy Memorial Press Fellowship as a way to carry on this legacy, and we are delighted to welcome such an impressive inaugural cohort.”

The trip will take place the week of October 17, 2022 amid a national election to determine Brazil’s next president, just three weeks ahead of COP27, and two months before the Biodiversity COP in December.

About The UN Foundation
The UN Foundation is an independent charitable organization created to work closely with the United Nations to address humanity’s greatest challenges, build initiatives across sectors to solve problems at scale, and drive global progress. Learn more at www.unfoundation.org

About Dr. Thomas Lovejoy
Dr. Lovejoy was a valued member of the UN Foundation, where he advised leaders on biodiversity and environmental science, initially as an adviser to the Foundation’s founding president, former U.S. Senator Tim Wirth, and later as a Senior Fellow. He is widely credited with putting the threat of tropical deforestation and biodiversity loss at the top of the global agenda. As early as 1980, he produced the first study of global extinction rates, correctly predicting the mass species loss we are seeing today.

Throughout his career as one of the world’s leading ecologists, Dr. Thomas Lovejoy recognized the impact of seeing one of our most precious resources in person and welcomed dozens of visitors to Camp 41, once explaining: “There is no better classroom than the reality of being in the heart of a living planet.” He earned the nickname the “Godfather of Biodiversity” for his passion and dedication for understanding and preserving our ecosystem. During his acceptance speech for the prestigious Blue Planet Prize at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012, he said: “I accept this on behalf of, and in deference to, the diversity of life in all its wondrous glory: every living thing — plant, animal, and microorganism. We are all related, and each the product of 4 billion years of evolution. Together we constitute the living part of the planet — what science calls the biosphere. Collectively, we are why the Earth functions as a living planet — the one we call our home.”

About the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragment Project (BDFFP)
In 1979, Dr. Thomas Lovejoy founded the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragment Project (BDFFP) as a lab for scientists, a school for students, and an exposition to those in power about why we must preserve the world’s largest rainforest. In 2018, he created a sister institution, the Amazon Biodiversity Center, to help carry on this vital work. The project’s research sites comprise forest fragments and adjacent continuous areas across a 620-square-mile protected reserve north of Manaus, Brazil. There are seven working camps, including facilities that support field research on biological diversity and the impact of forest fragmentation. Its best-known field camp — Camp 41 — is located at the 41st-kilometer marker on the access road to the reserve.