Turkey’s Changemakers: A scientist chasing nature
The Sabanci Foundation’s Turkey’s Changemakers Program continues in its 7th season to share the unique stories of extraordinary people who contribute to social development. The first Changemaker of the 7th season is Çağan Şekercioğlu.
Çağan Hakkı Şekercioğlu is an ecologist, ornithologist, conservation scientist, wildlife photographer and the first tropical biologist of Turkey. He has been keen on nature since his childhood. He part of the first International Biology Olympiad team from Turkey when he was studying at Robert College. His team was awarded the silver medal in the contest organized in the Netherlands.
Şekercioğlu completed his undergraduate degree at Harvard University, one of the top universities in the world, and got his PhD in ecology and ornithology from Stanford University’s biology department in 2003.
After leaving Turkey for his college education, he returned to his country as a scientist to do research on biodiversity and ecology in the provinces of Kars, Ardahan, Iğdır and Artvin. Thanks to his research, he was selected as an Emerging Explorer by National Geographic in 2011.
Şekercioğlu founded the KuzeyDoğa Society in 2007 as part of the Kars-Iğdır Biologic Diversity Project which began in 2003. The KuzeyDoğa Society enabled the construction of Turkey’s first bird nesting island in Kuyucuk Lake, which was chosen Turkey’s 2009 European Destination of Excellence. Besides volunteering for the KuzeyDoğa Society, Şekercioğlu is a faculty member in the biology department of Utah University. He has published more than 70 articles and received tens of awards due to his work on nature conservation.
Şekercioğlu set out from his childhood dream and worked to preserve nature and ecological balance to become one of the most important scientists in ecology and environmental protection. He has made a big difference in the species of Eastern Anatolia as well as with his work in conservation ecology.