Fellow Since 2003
Networking for Nature Conservation in Turkey (NatureNet)
This profile was prepared when Gunesin Aydemir was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2003.
The New Idea
Having worked in most facets of conservation–species monitoring, research, project and resource management, lobbying, nature education and awareness–Gunesin sees that what is needed now is not more citizen-led groups, but greater capability and professionalism among those that already exist. Thus, she has turned her attention to those organizations that are too small or disorganized to attract international funding, sustain their efforts, or contribute effectively to a national conservation plan. To strengthen these peripheral but critical groups, she arranges resources–educational materials, volunteers, information infrastructure, funding, and guidance in project management–and links them through frequent newsletters, email lists, and workshops. Through these measures, Gunesin hopes to eliminate much of the duplication and waste that slows progress, allowing common strategies and clear, realistic targets to emerge from the national network–to conserve the region's endangered ecosystems, introduce effective legislation, and educate and involve the public in decision-making to transform environmentally destructive practices. To support these efforts, Gunesin is part of the strategy team of a "zero extinction" campaign, the first of its kind in Turkey, to raise awareness of imminent threats to ecosystems, species, and people.