You might already be familiar with the Royal Geographical Society’s ‘Go Beyond’ bursary, but in short it offers a small team of 2-4 members the use of a Land Rover and £30,000 to carry out an expedition that advances geographical knowledge (with the Land Rover constituting an integral part of the expedition). I’m intending to submit a proposal that will:
1. Seek to understand the impact of climate change and changing land use in Madagascar, and the resultant risks to forest cover/biodiversity
2. See how local communities are being engaged and empowered to promote sustainable land use and conservation practices, and assess whether these models can be used elsewhere.
3. See the team use the Land Rover to access some of the remotest parts of the country and act as a mobile lab/survey vehicle, in combination with e.g. an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) for 3D mapping
4. Fully document the expedition using social media and using it to raise conservation awareness and better improve climate change models with real-world data. Relay updates in the field, potentially for use in schools.
I’m still shaping the proposal (including the proposed route) and at this point I’m seeking to put together a small team who would be willing/able to spend several weeks in Madagascar (the main eligibility criteria states that team members must be over 18 and must hold a current clean driving licence for at least 3 years). Dates are also flexible as the trip is still in the planning stage, and I envisage the trip taking 4-8 weeks (again depending on route). The deadline for applications is 10 June.
A little bit about me – I’m 35 and a photographer and civil servant with a geography MSc, travelled independently to 55 countries and driven in 20. I have a keen interest in conservation and exploration but I am not working in that area at present. I would see my role in the expedition as photographer, driver, logistics, organisation etc and I would be keen to hear from potential team members who have some experience in conservation or geographical research from an academic perspective.