Kerstin Forsberg

2016 Laureate, Environment
Peru, Born 1984

kerstin@planetaoceano.org

Project Goal

Protect giant manta rays in Peru

Location: Peru

Born on 31 October 1984, Forsberg developed an early interest in the environment when her family relocated to Vancouver for five years.

She was influenced by the strong current of environmental awareness in the city, a perspective that was reinforced by her parents. Returning to Lima, she became passionate about marine fauna, which led to a BSc in biology at the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, a period when she spent a considerable amount of time as a volunteer for environmental groups.
 
In 2006, Forsberg took part in a sea turtle conservation project in Ubatuba, Brazil, and later studied threats to sea turtles in Tumbes, on the northern coast of Peru, as part of her degree. Engaging local volunteers in her undergraduate project helped Forsberg understand how to inspire local communities to participate in conservation. She successfully united the community, fishermen and local government in Tumbes to take on board the importance of conserving endangered sea turtles. The following year she founded a Marine Educators Network to formally introduce marine issues into the local educational system.
 
Building upon this work, in 2009, Forsberg established Planeta Océano, a non-profit organization whose key aims are to conserve and restore coastal and marine environments by promoting research, environmental education and sustainable, community-based development initiatives. With initiatives ranging from strengthening Marine Protected Areas to involving youth in research on critically endangered sawfish, she has now engaged thousands of people along the coast of northern and central Peru.
 
Forsberg’s work has been nationally and internationally recognized. She became an Ashoka Fellow in 2011 and has won an award from Peru’s Ministry of Environment and the World Wildlife Fund, among others. She is now pursuing a PhD by developing a multidisciplinary biological and socio-economic assessment of sharks and rays in Peru, under the guidance of Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.

Other 2016 Laureates