Passions and Obsessions

Marine conservation NGO launches fellowship program and photography contest

It promotes the legacy of photographer Tommy Schultz, who lived in the PH and gave travel and adventure a sense of mission

A white tip reef shark photographed by Tommy Schultz in Tubbataha

The Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute Philippines (LAMAVE), a marine conservation NGO, has launched a new initiative to support young Filipinos advocating environmental conservation through impact media.

LAMAVE, with research sites across the Philippines, uses science, education, and collaboration with local communities and governments to help protect the future of marine megafauna—whale sharks, sharks, rays, sea turtles, among others—in Southeast Asia. In the Philippines, LAMAVE’s work includes managing the national catalog of three endangered species.

Travel and adventure photographer Tommy Schultz (Photo by Corey Wills)

The Tommy Schultz Impact Media Fellowship (TSIMF) is a unique program for start-up creatives focused on conservation storytelling in the Philippines, and who are looking to refine their skills in impact media, or to work with measurable impact. The program supports their professional development through a three-month placement with LAMAVE, during which fellows will receive training and mentorship in conservation and communication: how to creatively tackle conservation challenges; recognizing and reaching key audiences; and identifying measurable impacts.

The fellowship is open to different creatives in the Philippines, initially with focus on filmmakers and photographers. The key focus is to create work that contributes to conservation and has measurable impact.

“We’re very excited to be able to widen the scope of our work by getting more young Filipinos involved and providing the future generation of conservation storytellers with practical skills whose impact can be properly measured,” says Sally Snow, communications director for LAMAVE. “Storytelling is an incredibly powerful tool and when paired with calls to action, we can measure the impact of the work, helping to know what works and what doesn’t, and paving the way for real conservation action on the ground.”

To learn more about the fellowship program, visit Application will open in early 2023.

The TSIMF is in memory of the late travel and adventure photographer Tommy Schultz, who spent several years living in the Philippines as a volunteer of the US Peace Corps. Much of Tommy’s photography, videography and travel writing focused on capturing the beauty and power of wildlife, and on infusing a sense of mission in travel and adventure, to preserve the environment for future generations. Schultz passed away June 2021 at 45 years old. The fellowship fund initiated by his family is part of his legacy and will continue to grow through the annual photo competition held in his name.

Schultz dedicated his life to telling stories through photography and videography. He made a career of exploring different places in pursuit of the natural beauties the world has to offer. His journey began when, as a Peace Corps volunteer, he was stationed at Silliman University Marine Lab in the Philippines. It was an experience that, paired with his passion for people and the environment, inspired a life-long adventure.  He collaborated with National Geographic, Patagonia, The North Face, WWF, LAMAVE, and many more. Explore, dream, and discover—Tommy lived his life by these words.

The inaugural Tommy Schultz Travel and Adventure Photography Prize will open  September 29. There will be three competition categories—Adventure Travel, Underwater, and Animals in Their Environment. The full competition mechanics will be available at on the competition’s official opening date.

LAMAVE is an independent non- profit non-governmental organization dedicated to the conservation of marine megafauna and their habitats in the Philippines. LAMAVE strives for conservation through scientific research, policy and education. For more information visit:

For more information, contact Sally Snow at [email protected].

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