SAF Announces 2023 Gregory Award Recipient 

September 9, 2023

Photo courtesy Karuna Karki

SAF is pleased to announce Karuna Karki as the 2023 SAF Gregory Award recipient. The Gregory Award commemorates the legacy of G. Robinson Gregory by bringing an outstanding international student or early-career professional to the annual SAF National Convention.

Karuna Karki is a government forest officer working in the Division Forest Office in the Myagdi District under the Ministry of Industry, Tourism, Forest and Environment in the Gandaki Province of Nepal.

Since 2017, Karki has worked with community forest user groups, facilitating in the protection, management, and utilization of the part of the national forest under their care. Her role includes providing technical services; facilitating the supply of timber, fuel-wood, and NTFPs/MAPs; regulating services; judicial adjudicating about forest and wildlife crimes; and collecting revenue and tax from forestry activities. 

Currently, Karki is in charge of two subdivision forest offices, among six subdivisions, within Division Forest Office in the Myagdi District. She is also the only female forest officer within the district. To date, she has worked with more than 200 community forest user groups in different districts of Nepal.

Apart from this, Karki is also interested in wildlife research and conservation and has received two Rufford Small Grants for a snow leopard conservation project, working with local communities in the Himalayas of Nepal. With this project, she has conducted awareness campaigns about snow leopard conservation with 42 villages and more than 200 students.

Karki completed her technical certificate level (TCL) in forestry in 2012 and earned a Bachelor of Science in Forestry in 2016 from Tribhuwan University, Institute of Forestry in Pokhara, Nepal. She was also awarded "Bidhya Bhusan Padak" by the President of Nepal for being the most outstanding student in forestry in September 2012. Recently, Karki has graduated with a double-degree, Erasmus+: Erasmus Mundus Joint Master and Master of Science in European Forestry in the field of forest sciences (2020-2022 from University of Eastern Finland and University of Freiburg in Germany under scholarship from European Union). 

We are honored to have her join us in Sacramento in October at the 2023 SAF National Convention.

Photos courtesy Karuna Karki unless otherwise noted. 
Descriptions (left to right)
Photo 1: Karki briefing about the techniques of tending operations, collecting leaf litter, and covering the wounds in trees from resin collection to prevent forest fire in the pine forest to the community forest user groups, Rolpa District of Nepal, 2018. 
Photo 2: The preparation of a seed orchard within the community forest. The happy faces of local community after completion of plantation, cleaning, weeding, numbering the trees available in seed orchard of Lekhali champ (Michelia Kisopa), Myagdi District of Nepal, 2019.
Photo 3: The happy faces of local community forest users after cleaning the fire-line to prevent uncontrolled forest fire with in the community forest during forest fire week, Kaski District of Nepal, 2020. 
Photo 4: Handing over tending and harvesting tools to the local community forest users to manage the forest, Myagdi District of Nepal, 2023.