‘The problem of managing ecological resources is very complex – more so than a simple little thing like the economy,’ says Dr Bill Holsworth, who has supported more than 830 students since starting the Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment in 1990.
‘Very little philanthropy goes into funding ecological research. There are so many factors influencing the environment, but so little knowledge about what is going on. I’m hoping that in time we will not make so many stupid decisions in terms of managing the environment, wildlife, plants and animals, forests, deserts and so on.’
Dr Holsworth is a renowned ecologist, mammalogist, wildlife biologist and philanthropist. In 1989 Bill and his wife Carol established the Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment to fund grants to universities for postgraduate students in fauna and flora. The fund is now managed through a partnership with the Ecological Society of Australia.
Professor Don Driscoll, CIE member and President of the Ecological Society of Australia, says the fund supports around 200 post-graduate students each year to conduct research in ecology, wildlife management, and natural history studies. ‘Individual grants of up to $22,500 for 3 years are available,’ says Professor Driscoll. ‘Applications are especially invited for postgraduate students doing field work on Australian native plants and animals, studies relating to the management of protected areas and rare or threatened species in Australia, and wildlife management relating to hunting, harvesting, pest control, and the effect of land management on native species.’
Students funded by the Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment have contributed in many areas. ‘Past students have gone in different directions, into university and school teaching, scientific research, public relations, advising governments,’ says Dr Holsworth. ‘All of these pursuits are valuable, so I couldn’t say which is my favourite. There’s a need to educate the public and politicians responsible for some of the mistakes that have been made or things that haven’t been done for the environment.’
The first round of 2017 applications are now open, and close on 31 March.
More information about the Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment is available at: http://www.ecolsoc.org.au/endowments