Do you have questions about how to innovate for conservation?

Come along to the live Q&A with Gautam Shah – the founder of Internet of Elephants, whose colleague Raff Mares spoke about ‘Activating new wildlife enthusiasts via games’– and  Mark Spalding who spoke about ‘Big data, big ideas and the big blue ocean’. Ask them your questions about how innovations in conservation can make a difference. This Q&A will be chaired by Veronica Pickering.

This will be airing at 8pm on Tuesday 31 March.


Photo left to right: Veronica Pickering, Gautam Shah and Mark Spalding

Register for this live Q&A

Related Pages

Welcome to Innovating for conservation

Champion of wildlife charities and supporting communities, Veronica Pickering will introduce some inspiring stories that show how conservation can succeed through creativity and innovation.

Activating new wildlife enthusiasts via games

Computer games are often blamed for taking people away from nature, but can their power be harnessed for conservation? Games data analyst and passionate conservationist Raff Mares thinks they can.

Big data, big ideas and the big blue ocean

The problem of overfishing can seem overwhelming, but several countries are making ambitious commitments to ocean conservation. Advances in satellite technology mean that tracking down the rule-breakers is becoming possible - even when they're thousands of miles from land.

Veronica Pickering

Veronica Moraa Pickering, was born in Kenya and moved to the England with her parents in the late 60’s. She is married to Nottinghamshire-born artist Roy Pickering. In May 2013 Veronica was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant for Nottinghamshire.

For more than 25 years, Veronica worked with children and families from multicultural communities in London, as a social worker and a children’s guardian. She was also an international child protection consultant with the UN and other NGOs, working mostly in Africa. She is now a consultant focusing on the needs of diverse communities. She advises on corporate social responsibility programmes, diversity and inclusion, and assists, where appropriate, with networking and community links.

For the past eight years, Veronica main focus has been her work as an executive coach and mentor with individuals clients and also within charities and companies in the UK. In September 2018 Veronica was appointed and approved by Her Majesty The Queen as an HAC (Honorary Air Commodore) for 504 (Nottinghamshire Squadron). Veronica has, for many years supported a range of charities including those working in wildlife, conservation and those offering access to the arts.

Gautam Shah

Gautam Shah, a National Geographic Fellow, is the founder of Internet of Elephants, a social enterprise that develops groundbreaking digital tools to engage people with wildlife. Through unique mobile games, augmented reality and data visualizations that use GPS and other data gathered about animals, Internet of Elephants tells the stories of individual animals studied by conversation organizations and researchers all over the world. In doing so, Internet of Elephants hopes to catalyze whole new approaches to engaging the public with wildlife.

Mark Spalding

Mark fell in love with the sea on the rocky shores of Cornwall, but was also privileged to dive in the Red Sea aged 11, when his parents moved to work in the region. After studying in Cambridge, Mark joined the World Conservation Monitoring Centre in the early 1990s, where he compiled the first ever detailed maps of coral reefs and mangrove forests. Building on these maps he worked with partners around the world to track both threats and conservation efforts. The Reefs at Risk publications, dating back to 1998, were among the first to raise global attention to the plight of these critical ecosystems. Mark is cautiously optimistic that we can overcome the slew of problems facing the ocean, and he believes that better information, and the smart utilization innovation and of new technology may be critical adjuncts to “old-school” conservation approaches. He believes that saving our planet cannot be done a slow, drawn-out campaign of persuasion to save this species or that habitat: “we’re slower than the competition, and that means we’re constantly losing ground”. What we need, he believes, is to convert the competition – have them work with us, not against us. And to do that we need to use their same tools and approaches. His ongoing work with The Nature Conservancy, involves high resolution global mapping of the value of nature to people, and is helping to engage new audiences to strengthen the demand for action: “once a hotel realizes that its beach is built by the coral reef offshore, or the fisher understands the critical role of mangrove forests as a nursery habitat then they are with us. We’re on the same side!”. And in rubbing shoulders with industry and economists he has realized that these same sectors present other opportunities. If search engines and retailers are using artificial intelligence to read our minds and to predict our predilections then we should learn from them, if hedge-fund managers are growing wealthy on “smart” deals surely there are places in the market for us to act to. Not nefarious double-dealings, but straight, honest, fact-led and transformative approaches. We have a huge challenge ahead, but there are growing glimpses that many in the conservation community are growing wise to these opportunities, and this could be transformative.