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Esmond B. Martin Royal Geographical Society Prize

Esmond B. Martin was a renowned American geographer and conservationist who passed away in 2018 in tragic circumstances. You can read his obituary in the Geographical Journal.

Esmond left an endowment for the Society to award an annual prize in his name - the Esmond B. Martin Royal Geographical Society Prize. The Prize consists of one or two annual prizes that recognise outstanding achievement by individuals (not organisations) in the pursuit and/or application of geographical research across the breadth of the discipline, with a particular emphasis on wildlife conservation and environmental research studies.

The Society dedicates one Monday night lecture per year to an event that marks the Prize and sees it awarded. 

2025 Prize

Nominations are now open for the Esmond B Martin prize 2024-2025. Find the nomination form and guidelines below. 

RGS Prize nomination guidelines and form 2024-2025

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Nomination form


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Nomination guidelines


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2024 Prize

The second annual Esmond B. Martin Royal Geographical Society Prize has been awarded to Dr Lola Fatoyinbo.

Lola is a Research Scientist in the Biospheric Sciences Lab at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, where she develops and uses advanced remote sensing technologies and data to understand forested and coastal ecosystems.

As well as having more than 60 scientific publications to her name, Lola is committed to conservation outcomes, partnering with organisations that protect ecosystems, and ensuring her research informs policy decisions. Her work on airborne LiDAR and satellite imagery campaigns after Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean, the impact of oil exploration in the Niger Delta, and studies of mangrove forests across the Americas, Africa and Asia, have increased global understanding of some of Earth’s most critical systems and supported the voices of those who depend on them.

Lola is also dedicated to training the next generation of scientists looking to understand and safeguard our planet, mentoring dozens of junior researchers in her lab.

Lola gave the Monday night lecture on 8 April for Fellows and Members of the Society.

Watch Dr Lola Fatoyinbo's lecture (Fellows and Members only)

Inaugural Prize recipient

The inaugural Prize was awarded on Monday 3 April 2023 to Dr Paula Kahumbu, a Kenyan biologist and ecologist, and an inspiring and committed advocate for international wildlife conservation in Africa. For over 35 years Paula has shown outstanding achievements in the application of innovative conservation practice, knowledge and education, with far reaching impact across Africa. Her vision is to change the narrative, so Africans become the primary storytellers about African wildlife and the future of community conservation.

Watch Paula talk about her work and what being awarded the Prize means to her: