As an awarded young social entrepreneur and conservation biologist, I plan to directly apply this learning and experience in the research, environmental education, and sustainable development efforts I lead within Planeta Océano (www.facebook.com/planetaoceano), the community-based marine conservation organization I founded with my undergraduate research in 2007. Planeta Océano now works along the entire central and northern Peruvian coast. We’ve reached more than 20,000 people, empowered dozens of environmental leaders, generated new scientific information for the country, contributed to management and policy, and engaged governments and local companies. I plan to exponentially increase the impact of Planeta Océano, further strengthening the quality of our work, the amount and scope of our projects, and scaling-up our organization in Peru and abroad.
Through GESA 2012 I hope to access a wider community of conservationists with whom I can share my creativity, energy and standpoint with, thus benefitting conservation in my country and beyond. I’ll also share this experience and learning with our staff, volunteers, beneficiaries and partners (including civil and youth organizations, academia, government and industry), further empowering them in marine conservation as well. Thus the academy will greatly allow me to increase my contribution to the species, environments, livelihoods and communities I work with. I hope to develop myself as an effective environmental conservation leader focused on empowering community-based, multi-disciplinary marine conservation.
In June 2013, Kerstin received the WWF International President’s Award, for exceptional young people in conservation, for her work as marine conservation biologist based in Peru. As Founder-Director of the non-profit organization “Planeta Océano”, Kerstin leads community-based marine research, environmental education and participatory sustainable development initiatives in Peru. Planeta Océano currently manages different citizen scientist research programs, as well as environmental education programs for marine conservation, and plans to expand community-based marine conservation across the coast of Peru, and in the near future, internationally. [Updated December 2013]