Megan joins us from Key Conservation, where she is Founder and Director.
I’m a wildlife biologist who has worked on several wildlife and plant projects, including species that were extinct in the wild. My passion lies in endangered species reintroduction work, learning new things, being creative and helping others go after their big goals. I’m an optimist that believes anything is possible and that through the utilization of technology, small contributions from individuals that are compounded can result in substantial impact and change.
Research interests (What’s your specialist research interest and what first attracted you to it?)
I am particularly interested in conservation technology and how we can utilize it to help advance conservation efforts. I first started exploring technology in conservation after experiencing gaps of funding and support while working for conservation organizations that were the main lifelines for the survival of critically endangered species.
My current research looks at what if an underfunded and relatively unknown conservation organization could have real-time direct access to professional skills, in-person help, and funding on a global scale every single day? What if every individual was given easy, direct actions to take to help a conservation organization and could then see exactly where their support went and how it made a difference?
We are providing these opportunities through the Key Conservation app and I am researching how we can measure the output of the app to ensure that it is providing meaningful tools to conservationists and supporters and if not how we can pivot quickly on a large scale.
The ICCS theme that my research falls under is “Understanding resource user incentives” because my work primarily focuses on how can we shape the way conservation organizations and their supporters interact with one another. What makes a person want to help a conservation organization? Are there ways that we can encourage them to dive in deeper and help on another level? Through the Key Conservation app we are working to create new avenues for supporters to give outside of money in ways like giving their professional skills and helping in person. By helping supporters see what is happening in the field around the world in real-time and giving them the opportunity to see how their one interaction can make an actual difference will that change how they feel toward a conservation organization and how they interact with them in the future?
The President's Volunteer Service Award Recipient 2012.
Zoological Society of San Diego Institute of Conservation Research Fellow
Student Conservation Association Alumni Council Board Member
Society For Conservation Biology
What made you want to join ICCS as a Biodiversity fellow?
I wanted to join the ICCS Biodiversity Fellows Programme because the work that I am doing with my conservation tech organization Key Conservation, if successful, will have a global reach that will change how conservation organizations gain global support, funding and how they interact with their supporters. Being able to tap into the joint knowledge of the researchers at ICCS will be absolutely imperative in ensuring that we are asking the right questions and that strong foundations are put in place now to collect the critical data needed to measure the success and failures of the tools within the app for conservation organizations.
Is there a specific project you will be working on while you are with ICCS? Can you tell us a little about it?
During my time with ICCS I will be working with researchers to enhance the development of the Key Conservation mobile app which aims to help conservationists gain global support and funding in real-time for day-to-day campaigns. The Key Conservation app has several features and ways for conservation organizations and supporters to interact that the app itself will become a powerhouse for data collection that we could tap into help conservationists and move global support forward. We can then use the data to help conservationists build specific campaigns based on proven research to utilize their time and efforts more effectively. I am working to launch the app in spring of this year and will focus on creating measurable points of both outreach success and failure to determine the most effective means of outreach from before and after the app launches. I will also be working closely with the Conservation Optimism team to set up the website-app integration and complete testing of our two platforms.