Restoration Stewards: Meet the young experts nurturing the world’s ecosystems in 2024

27 Dec 2023

Seven experts from Bolivia, Brazil, India, Kenya, Nigeria, the Philippines and Rwanda were selected for a one-year holistic program to restore mountains, forests, drylands, wetlands and oceans in 2024 

Bonn, Germany (19 December 2023) – Young people across the globe are spearheading the movement for a fairer and healthier world through activism, outreach and community-led solutions for ecosystems and livelihoods. From over 300 candidates, seven young ecosystem restoration experts have been selected by international organizations the Youth in Landscapes Initiative (YIL) and the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) to receive funding, mentoring and networking opportunities through the 2024 Restoration Steward Program.

In the program’s fourth year each of these leading young practitioners will be offered scientific and peer guidance, training, a grant of 5,000 EUR and other resources to deepen the impact of their projects.

Meet the 2024 Restoration Stewards:

Trophic rewilding to enhance ecology-based climate resilience in the Indian Himalayas: Trisa Bhattacharjee, from India, is the 2024 Mountain Restoration Steward. An ecology graduate, Trisa is a researcher at the Zoo Outreach Organisation. Her project aims to restore the landscape of Chamba in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. She works with local communities and women’s self-help groups to mitigate the climate crisis, reduce human–wildlife negative interaction and provide ecology-based livelihoods to local communities.

Grassroots development through economic development, intersectoral collaboration and environmental conservation: Jann Vinze Barcinal, from the Philippines, is the 2024 Forest Restoration Steward. The founder and chairperson of Dulungan Youth, Jann is a nature conservationist, climate justice activist and storyteller devoted to mainstream community-led biodiversity conservation in Antique, Philippines. His work covers the conservation of the rufous-headed hornbill –a bird recognized by IUCN as critically endangered– as well as behavioral change through alternative livelihoods, ecological education, assisted natural regeneration and agroforestry.

Community development interconnecting ecological, social and economic components: Kamanzi Claudine, from Rwanda, is one of the two 2024 Dryland Restoration Stewards. The founder of the Forest for Life Project, she is an environmentalist expert in conservation agriculture, photography and video direction. With fellow youth, Kamanzi restores lands in the Kayovu Model village in Bugesera district to enhance biodiversity, improve soil fertility and promote sustainable land management practices. She helps create a resilient and productive landscape through capacity building, reforestation and agroforestry systems using native indigenous trees.

Community land management and restoration with agroforestry systems: Maria Geana, from Brazil, is one of the two 2024 Drylands Restoration Stewards. An expert in agroecology, beekeeping, rural education and business, Maria hails from the Quilombo Lagoas – one of Brazil’s largest Quilombola communities. She represents the Xique–Xique Agroecological Farm, which focuses on restoration, capacity building and awareness raising through sustainable land management and agroforestry systems. She aims to reconnect people with their landscapes through food production, income generation and environmental restoration in the Caatinga ecosystem.

Mitigating climate change from biodiversity hotspots: Anna Obi Akpe, from Nigeria, is one of the two 2024 Wetland Restoration Stewards. A graduate in plant and ecological studies, Anna is a passionate and dedicated biodiversity conservator. She will represent the Biodiversity Rescue Club (BRC)’s Mangrove Restoration Project (MRP), which aims to revive and reconstruct the natural structure and functioning of mangrove forests in the community of Esierebom in Calabar South Local Government Area, Cross River State, Nigeria. The project will enhance biodiversity, local livelihoods, carbon capture and water quality.

Totoras and plastic bottles to clean a millenary Bolivian lake: Dayana Blanco, from Bolivia, is one of the two 2024 Wetland Restoration Stewards. An Aymara woman and co-founder of the Uru Uru Team, she restores the Uru Uru Lake in west-central Bolivia through community activism and nature-based solutions. Placed on floating rafts made of recycled plastic bottles, the native aquatic Totoras plants help absorb heavy minerals from the polluted waters. This contamination, due to mining, plastic pollution and climate change, is affecting the lake’s unique flora and fauna and the surrounding seven Indigenous communities.

Support local communities for mangroves and sustainable livelihoods: Steve Misati, from Kenya, is the 2024 Ocean Restoration Steward. The founder of Youth Pawa, he is a marine conservationist and climate justice advocate fostering youth engagement. His organization adopts a community-based approach to mangrove restoration, involving raising awareness and training communities in the city of Mombasa on restoration and conservation. The Mangrove Eco-Restoration Project aims to restore over 50 hectares of degraded mangrove forests by 2030.


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About the GLF

The Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) is the world’s largest knowledge-led platform on integrated land use, connecting people with a shared vision to create productive, profitable, equitable & resilient landscapes. It is led by the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF), in collaboration with its co-founders UNEP and the World Bank, and its charter members. Learn more at

About YIL 

The Youth in Landscapes Initiative (YIL) is a growing global network and movement of over 60,000 young people working and studying in landscapes around the world. The Initiative is a partnership between the International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA), Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD), and Youth 4 Nature (Y4N)who joined forces to deliver workshops, mentorship, training and networking. Today, YIL has become a global movement of young people committed to living and breathing the landscape’s philosophy: collaboration, diversity, and collective action. Learn more here.

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