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Are you passionate about conserving the natural world? Do you have a burning desire to drive conservation efforts around the world to create a brighter future?
Are you aged between 18-25 years old?

The DARWIN200 team is in the process of selecting 200 of the world’s most capable, young (18–25 year old) naturalists and conservationists.

We are searching for the very best candidate from each of 200 different countries and states around the world, representing at least 50 different languages and cultures.


The young people we are searching for are very special.

Our selection criteria are not based on academic qualifications. In fact, it does not even matter if candidates can read or write.

What we are looking for is the raw, burning passion to protect the natural world – the innate spirit to conserve wildlife and change the future for the better.

In particular, we are looking for candidates that show determination and ingenuity to think laterally to solve problems.

The youngsters we are looking for may have planted trees under their own initiative to reforest a landscape, to save a critically endangered animal or plant. Or they may have set up a rare species breeding programme.

One inspiring example being Fred Burton in the Cayman Islands, who stubbornly refused to allow the endemic blue iguana to become extinct. Even though the population of blue iguanas had fallen to a few dozen individuals in the wild and was on a path to being wiped out within a few years, Fred captured the last individuals from the wild, set up a breeding programme in concrete pits (without any support of funding), and after a decade of breeding and releasing, there are now over 2,000 blue iguanas back in nature!

The essence of conservation is this stubborn determination. The refusal to allow species to slip off the cliff of extinction despite all odds and challenges.

This is the quality that the DARWIN200 team is searching the world for.

Once selected, the world’s 200 top young conservationists will be invited to join the DARWIN200 tall ship, in groups of up to eight, for one week at a time, based in one of the ports Charles Darwin visited along the HMS Beagle route. They will complete a very focused training programme. Note: all costs for DARWIN LEADERS are fully covered by the DARWIN200 Project (including flights).

During their placements on the DARWIN200 tall ship, these young conservationists will receive intense training, support from some of the world’s top environmentalists, and the opportunity to study wildlife and design projects to hone their skills. Each youngster will be upskilled and empowered so that, by the time they leave the ship, they will have become elite DARWIN LEADERS.

Environmental Decision-Makers of Tomorrow

It is our hope that the DARWIN LEADERS will lead environmental efforts over their life-long careers (spanning decades), becoming the environmental decision-makers in the world of tomorrow, and the catalysts to change the future of Planet Earth for the better.

In 2026, at the end of the DARWIN200 voyage, all DARWIN LEADERS will be invited (with all costs covered) to London for an award ceremony event to celebrate their work and achievements during the DARWIN200 voyage!

The objective of the DARWIN200 project is to create a living legacy of 200 elite DARWIN LEADERS in 200 countries and states around the world.

It is our hope that the DARWIN LEADERS will lead environmental efforts over their life-long careers (spanning decades), becoming the environmental decision-makers in the world of tomorrow, and the catalysts to change the future of Planet Earth for the better.

The activities that will be undertaken on board our ship are carefully designed to train the DARWIN LEADERS in specific ways, namely; how to think, how to problem-solve, how to develop solutions and (just as importantly), how to communicate results to audiences across the globe.


We are currently recruiting one DARWIN LEADER from each of two hundred countries and states around the world.

Selection Process

DARWIN LEADERS will be selected through an application process in partnership with NGO partners, embassies and governments across the globe. All applicants will be judged fairly and freely. Applications will be open to people of all nationalities. It is particularly hoped that applications from less developed corners of the world will participate, providing resources and inspiration to countries and languages perhaps not traditionally associated with scientific research and conservation understanding.

Academic qualifications will be valued, but real experience and accomplishments on the ground with tangible results to create positive change will be the most valued quality sought for in applicants. Rigorous analysis of applications by a judging committee will select the top young conservation-leaders in two hundred countries and states across the globe. All travel costs will be covered for each DARWIN LEADER (including international flights to/from placement locations).

  • Aged between 18-25 years (between 2023-2025)
  • Demonstrate your passion for conservation – any project or activity you have undertaken (under your own initiative) to advance conservation of a plant, animal or habitat).
  • Nominated by an conservation organisation or educational institution


    Complete the following form to receive a DARWIN LEADER application pack, which contains detailed information on completing your application!