The John Spedan Lewis Emerging Leader Award

John Spedan Lewis Medal detail

Formerly awarded by The John Spedan Lewis Foundation (JSLF), a UK nature charity created in honour of the founder of the John Lewis Partnership, who had a keen interest in UK nature and natural history. From 2024, the Award forms part of the John Lewis Partnership Foundation’s Nature Fund.

Nominations are now closed. Sign up to our newsletter, Linnean News, for updates on events, grants, awards and news from the Linnean Society of London.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Nominees must have led an initiative with notable positive impact for the UK natural environment*
  • Nominees must be based in the UK, but need not be UK nationals; applications are welcomed from all nationalities
  • The work of nominees must take place in the UK [1]
  • Nominees must be within the first 10 years of their engagement with the UK natural environment. This period does not need to be continuous and should allow for career breaks.
  • Nominees can be professional or non-professional
  • Nominees should have a strong track record of engaging the public in their work, including under-served communities such as minority ethnic or low-income backgrounds, or those who are differently abled
  • There is no age restriction (no upper or lower limit) for nominees**

* For the purposes of the Award, 'UK natural environment' includes activities like:

  • Climate and environmental activism and campaigning
  • Natural history (i.e. the study of wild plants and animals)
  • Nature conservation research
  • Nature conservation practical interventions (e.g. habitat improvement)

**Age of nominees (safeguarding):
The application form will require contact details for the parent or guardian of nominees under the age of 18.

Judging Criteria

  • Nominators should provide evidence of change that has taken place as a consequence of the intervention of the candidate (for example evidence of: policy change, positive change in the natural environment, change of attitude of a community towards an environmental issue).
    • Impact should be at regional (city/ county) or national level
    • Impact should be long-lasting (i.e. greater than one year)

    Each year the closing date for nominations is 30 September.

    Neither nominators nor nominees are required to be Fellows of the Linnean Society.

    History of the Award

    The original JSLF Medal was created in 2014 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Foundation. In 2022 the JSLF Trustees were excited to launch a new version of the medal that celebrates emerging leaders in the UK natural environment.

    [1] The focus of the award is the UK environment, which includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

    John Spedan Lewis Emerging Leader Award Recipient 2024

    Kabir Kaul smiles and looks to the distance standing on a grassy bank next to water holding binoculars
    Credit: Gayatri Kaul

    Kabir Kaul

    Kabir Kaul is a London-based conservationist, who created the first interactive map of London’s 1,000+ nature reserves and wildlife sites in 2019, aged just 13. An authentic and impassioned communicator, his aim ever since has been to help people connect with the nature around them and learn about conservation. For his work, Kabir has received a Points of Light award from the Prime Minister. In 2020 he became a volunteer Ranger with London National Park City, and as an Ambassador for the Cameron Bespolka Trust, Kabir launched a campaign for the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022—over 100 schools across London received free nestboxes.

    Previous Recipients of the John Spedan Lewis Emerging Leader Award*

    • Kwesia (City Girl in Nature) (2023)
    • John Burton (2019)
    • Marcella Corcoran (2018)
    • Lynn Dicks (2017)
    • Edgar Turner (2016)
    • Mercy Morris (2015)

    *The John Spedan Lewis Emerging Leader Award for the UK Natural Environment replaces the John Spedan Lewis Foundation Medal (2015–2019).