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Green Corruption: Dissecting a Recent Wilson Center Event
20:06December 12, 2023

Wilson Center Global Fellow Sharon Guynup to Receive National Geographic Society's 2024 Eliza Scidmore Award for Outstanding Storytelling

Wilson Center Global Fellow Sharon Guynup will receive the National Geographic Society's prestigious Eliza Scidmore Award for Outstanding Storytelling alongside her husband, wildlife photographer Steve Winter, for their 2 year-long cross-country investigative reporting on the dangers captive tigers face in the tourism industry. Their reporting ultimately led to the passage of The Big Cat Public Safety Act, which was passed by Congress in December of 2022. The act ended the private ownership of big cats as pets and prohibited exhibitors from allowing public contact with big cats. It also placed new restrictions on the commerce, breeding, possession, and use of certain big cat species.

Jill Tiefenthaler, CEO of the National Geographic Society, said of Guynup and Winter's work: "Storytelling is fundamental to our mission work at the Society because it raises awareness of critical issues, provides context, sparks dialogue, fosters empathy and moves people to act. Sharon and Steve's compelling, evidence-based storytelling did just that." 

Guynup is a celebrated journalist, author, and photographer who has employed her skills in writing and reporting, photography, and videography to cover climate and wildlife-related issues for over two decades. Her work has been published in The New York Times, National Geographic, Scientific American, Smithsonian, and many other national and international publications. She also co-founded a nonprofit with her husband Steve called Big Cat Voices, which focuses on media and film projects to draw attention to the plight of big cats in the tourism industry and to advocate for change. 

Since 2017, Sharon Guynup has authored a number of projects at the Wilson Center while continuing her research. During her time as a Wilson Center scholar, Guynup conducted research for her project: "Narco versus Nature: How the Drug Trade Impacts Wildlife and Nature in the Americas." She is currently continuing her research and reporting on wildlife trafficking and environmental crimes as a Global Fellow for the Environmental Change and Security Program and Global Risk and Resilience Program. Guynup has said of her time at the Wilson Center: "All that I've learned at the Wilson Center has empowered my abilities. I am truly grateful."

Congratulations to Sharon and Steve on their well-deserved award! May their work continue to inspire and create the change necessary to protect wildlife and the environment as a whole.

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