From an invasive reptile capture system to a nucleic acid barcode that identifies poached and traded wildlife products around the world, the US Fish and Wildlife Service Theodore Roosevelt (TR) Genius Prize Winners and their technological innovations will help address conservation challenges and opportunities, and engage new communities and diverse ideas. The six awards promote technological innovations that advance the service’s mission by preventing poaching and wildlife trafficking, promoting wildlife conservation and stewardship
Learn about invasive species, protecting endangered species, reducing human-wildlife conflict using non-lethal methods, and reducing human-predator conflict. Each of the 2022 award winners will receive between $50,000 and $100,000 for their submitted innovation, for a total of $550,000 for the 2022 awards.
“As the service addresses multiple conservation challenges, the 2022 Theodore Roosevelt Genius Prize Competition and future competitions will build a community of innovators with a variety of skills and perspectives to collectively advance resource stewardship,” said Service Manager Martha Williams. “These competitions support the larger goals of the America the Beautiful Initiative and work within the
Learn more about bipartisan infrastructure law. Both efforts underscore the Biden-Harris administration’s intergovernmental approach to building climate resilience and protecting natural areas for present and future generations.”
The TR Genius Prize Competitions were was established under the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act to provide annual awards and expand opportunities for new partners and networks to share ideas, catalyze new solutions, and inspire conservation collaboration across the country .
The 2022 TR Genius Prize Competition Category Winners:
Preventing Poaching and Wildlife Trafficking: The NABIT Rapid, Portable Genetic Testing Tool to Combat Wildlife Trafficking by Conservation X Labs and the Thylacine Biosciences Team
- Conservation X Labs developed the NABIT, a portable, battery-powered system to quickly perform a simple genetic test to identify suspected illegal or trafficked wildlife products. Providing rapid results gives law enforcement officials and conservation partners a state-of-the-art tool to track down illegal wildlife products, including meat and other tissues that are often difficult to identify.
Promotion of Wildlife Conservation: Harnessing Machine Learning to Connect Urban Residents to Wildlife Conservation through Social Media by Jason Holmberg, Executive Director, Wild Me, in collaboration with Lincoln Park Zoo’s Seth Magle, Executive Director, Urban Wildlife Information Network
- This project uses machine learning to connect city dwellers with wildlife conservation via social media to create a deeper connection with conservation. Using artificial intelligence software to identify media content and social media posts about urban wildlife, the innovation aims to collect important ecological data and create a dialogue between users and scientists through their posts.
Protecting Endangered Species: Extending the use of photo identification technology to tiny, flying, and ephemeral species by Jenny Shrum
- This innovation aims to extend the use of photo-identification technology to the level of individual insects and use photo-identification to fill information gaps for rare butterflies such as the island marbled butterfly. Advances in digital cameras, database processing, and artificial intelligence software can advance our knowledge of individual insects and populations for management and conservation.
Managing Invasive Species: A Smart-Trapping System for the Live Capture and Monitoring of Invasive Reptiles by Ben Stookey and Derek Yorks, co-founders of Wild Vision Systems
- This innovation presents a live capture system and data platform that uses artificial intelligence to identify and capture invasive snakes and lizards in a stationary robotic trap. The design could enable scalable, inexpensive, and sustainable deployment of smart trap networks to effectively control and monitor invasive species.
Promoting Non-Lethal Conflict Between Humans and Wildlife: Creating a No-Fly Zone for Pesky Birds by Hardshell Labs’ Boarman, Boarman and Shields
- This innovation aims to improve laser defenses against pesky birds by using species-specific responses to different colored lasers and flash patterns. Plans for innovation could include systematizing the use of lasers to ensure efficient protection of habitat and nesting sites of sensitive species, agricultural resources, electrical infrastructure and waste treatment facilities.
Reducing Human-Predator Conflict Using Non-Lethal Means: Cattle Breeder Develops Automated Mineral Bin by Cameron Krebs
- The innovation’s automated mineral container is a strategy to reduce human-predator conflict that combines standard livestock handling practices with robotic technology. Started by a fifth-generation Oregon sheep and cattle farmer, the project takes advantage of cattle’s natural defenses and is easy for growers to implement. The project uses an automated salt bin to herd livestock into larger groups, reducing the risk of predation by large predators.
The service has partnered with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to help administer the awards contest. The competition was also run by the Theodore Roosevelt Genius Prize Boards. These committees are responsible for selecting the topics and creating problems and advising the winners on all options for developing and implementing the solutions.
A total of 104 submissions were received for the competition, which were evaluated by 31 jurors. That Theodore Roosevelt Genius Prize Advisory Counciladministered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, will hold a public meeting October 4-6, 2022, Hear presentations on the six winners and consider recommendations to the Home Secretary on potential opportunities for technological innovation related to the winning proposals.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the lasting benefit of the American people. For more information visit www.fws.gov and Connect with us on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, flickrand youtube.