Jackson Wild Unveils Legacy & Rising Star Award Winners


Jackson Wild has revealed the recipients of the 2022 Legacy Awards in Conservation and Media, as well as the recipient of the 2022 Rising Star Award.

“We are proud to recognize Brian Leith and Dr. Paula Kahumbu with our Legacy Awards in Media and Conservation for the tremendous impact they have had in their fields,” said Lisa Samford, executive director of Jackson Wild. “Their achievements and contributions inspire our community and deeply illuminate our connection to the natural world.”

“Jackson Wild is equally committed to amplifying and elevating early-career leaders,” added Samford. “Faith Musembi exemplifies outstanding achievement and impact, and we are thrilled to recognize her incredible talent with our Rising Star Award.”

The Legacy Award in Media, sponsored by Terra Mater Studios, recognizes visionaries who have demonstrated excellence and innovation in delivering world-class media—from filmmakers and producers to thought leaders—that spotlights species and the environment to protect our planet. Brian Leith, this year’s recipient of the award, served as a presenter on the live environmental series Nature in the early ’80s at the BBC Natural History Unit and produced numerous environmental and wildlife films for the BBC, while writing pieces for The New Internationalist, Nature and BBC Wildlife magazine.

In 1990, Leith left the BBC to become an independent producer, working on Channel 4’s series Fragile Earth. At Scorer Associates, he produced several projects for the BBC and won many awards, including a Grierson Award for Charles Darwin and The Tree of Life with Sir David Attenborough. He returned to the BBC’s Natural History Unit in 2007. His own production company has produced numerous series and films, including Lobo the Wolf that Changed America. His passion project The Age of Nature was made for PBS and BBC Studios in 2020.

Sponsored by Conservation International, Jackson Wild’s Legacy Award in Conservation recognizes either an individual, group or organization that has demonstrated excellence in science and conservation. This year’s recipient, Dr. Paula Kahumbu, CEO of WildlifeDirect, is an ecologist committed to transforming conservation results in Africa and the world through science, advocacy and education. She sits on the boards of WWF International and National Geographic and is behind the Hands Off Our Elephants campaign with Her Excellency Margaret Kenyatta, the First Lady of the Republic of Kenya.

Further, Kahumbu is the producer and presenter of Africa’s first wildlife documentary series made by Africans, Wildlife Warriors, which seeks to transform conservation literacy in Africa by shining a light on the continent’s front-line conservationists. A holder of the Order of the Grand Warrior (OGW) title, she is the Rolex NatGeo Explorer of the Year 2021, winner of the Whitley Gold Award 2021 and is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer.

Jackson Wild’s Rising Star Award, sponsored by Off the Fence Productions, recognizes an emerging leader in nature, conservation and science media. Winner Faith Musembi, a producer and director, is drawn to telling narratives that showcase the beauty of Africa’s natural resources while highlighting issues regarding their sustainable conservation. She has directed sequences for series produced for National Geographic, Sky Nature and Disney+, and her recent credits include Chasing the Rains and Spectacular Earth. Musembi is currently working on Queens, a series about female-led animal societies.