Thursday, June 29, 2006

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Trails Update: Widford Lodge School Group does Duke of Edinburgh

The Widford Lodge Group doing map reading and navigation in preparation for their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Expedition.

The Wilderness Foundation's trails office, Dave Hedges, is facilitating the training for this including, campcraft, map and compassing and navigation work, kit packing, food, nutrition planning and cooking.

Next step is a practice expedition in North Yorkshire (next week) and in August they'll the be doing expedition proper in South Africa.

The Wilderness Foundation accredited as a Duke of Edinburgh Access Organisation.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

First Clouddog Scholarship Programme in the Wild

Our partner clouddog has just launched their new website. This week also sees their first scholarship programme, developed in partnership with the Wilderness Foundation, being in run in South Africa.

clouddog is a charity helping students to get into the world of conservation, wildlife and environmental care - You can learn more about their work at:

Friday, June 23, 2006

Thursday, June 22, 2006

At One - a meeting of like minds

At One - a meeting of like minds Today saw the launch of At One - an umbrella group of 11 independent organisations – to help their front line work of transforming the lives of young people at risk. The Wilderness Foundation is a member and strong supporter of this initiative. Read a full report on the day here.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Earth in the balance sheet

The Great Room at the RSAToday the Wilderness Foundation UK Chairman, Euan Macdonald and Director Jo Roberts attended the Earth in the Balance Sheet lecture given at the RSA by The Hon. Al Gore, and chaired by James Naughtie. This was an interesting and informative lecture followed by a Q&A session and finally a reception in the RSA vaults.

The Wilderness Foundation welcomes the leadership provided by Al Gore in changing perceptions about what needs to and in fact can be done to avert global warming.

- RSA Audio: Full lecture (MP3)
- RSA Manifesto Challenge: Moving towards a zero waste society
- An Inconvenient Truth
- The Wilderness Foundation Website

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Today's Wilderness View

Picture courtesy and © of

Monday, June 19, 2006

Wild areas of Okavango to renew commitment to The Wilderness Foundation

"The wilderness of the Okavango Delta in Botswana will be home to conservation legend Dr Ian Player for 10 days in June. Dr Player will be refuelling his love of the wilderness together with the chairman of the Wilderness Foundation, Andrew Muir, and an American fundraiser who helps the foundation fulfil its goals of the world.The three men are journeying into the pristine wilderness of Botswana under the guidance of Alan McSmith, who will lead the expedition first through the southern section of the delta, where dugout mokoro canoes will be used to explore the wetland.

From there Alan and the group will travel to the north eastern part of the delta, where there are no vehicles and all game viewing is done on foot. Alan says that recent local rains have made the delta wetter than can be expected from its normal winter floods.The trip will close with a visit to the panhandle of the delta, to visit Tsodilo Hills, where ancient cave paintings and archaeological artefacts point to continued human settlement for hundreds of years. The area is a world heritage site, and is known for its spiritual aspects."

The Kruger Park Times

Today's Wilderness View

Picture courtesy and © of

Saturday, June 17, 2006

World Day to Combat Desertification, Drought

UNCCD - June 17 2006
This year is the International Year of Deserts and Desertification and today's the 10th anniversary of UNCCD - United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and specifically World Day to Combat Desertification, Drought. The Wilderness Foundation shares the concern for deserfication, especially as its UK office is in the green, yet driest county in the UK.

The theme for the day is “The Beauty of Deserts – The Challenge of Desertification”, so we'll start with an appreciation of existing deserts before we look at some of the work that the Wilderness movement is doing to address challenges in desert areas.

The Sierra Club Desert Reader: A Literary Companion is an excellent collection of writings on the desert lands of the world.

On the magic of deserts, Ernest RĂ©nan observed: "At night in this waterless air the stars come down just out of reach of your fingers".

On the Challenge of Desertification front, our sister organisation, the Wild Foundation is working in Mali to try and save the few remaining Desert Elephants:

Mali is a beautiful, landlocked desert country in North West Africa. Perhaps best known for its rich cultural diversity, Mali is also home to the northernmost herd of African elephants. The only elephants in the arid Sahel, this herd is also unique because of its annual migration – circumscribing an area of over 24,000 square kilometers, the herd has the longest recorded migration route of any elephants.

The The nomadic pastoralists who live in this extended area – primarily the Tuareg and Fulani (Puhl) tribes – have coexisted peacefully and in close proximity with these animals for centuries. They graze and herd their cattle and goats in the same areas, and use the same waterholes. More than just tolerated, the elephants have been integral part of the local culture. But times are changing. Agricultural development policies and subsidies are encouraging nomads to settle permanently near water points, and are generally encouraging the drilling of new wells for crop production. Intensifying land use in an arid system and increasing concentration of previously nomadic human populations around water points is leading to more human/wildlife conflicts. Without careful planning, these conflicts will likely worsen. Now is the time for a successful intervention.-

You can see pictures of some of these elephants and the people who live in their proximity here - and pictures from more of Mali here.

Today's Wilderness View

Dunes in Namibia Picture courtesy and © of

Friday, June 16, 2006

International Rangers Federation World Congress

Today the Wilderness Foundation UK director, Jo Roberts, address the 5th IRF World Congress - this year held in Stirling.

Edited excerpt from her speech:

"By 2007 it is estimated by the UN that the world will have more urban dwellers than rural ones.

This ties in with a recent Sunday Times article that suggests that the only way to live more sustainably will be to draw most of the earth’s population into dense, urban settlement.

For those of us gathered here, people who have a deep and close connection to wild places, there may be sympathy that this development leaves wild places freer to get on with living as they know best. That less humans in wild areas the better it will be for landscape and wildlife. This is only partly true.

The other side of the coin is the creation of increasingly urbanised population of people who will have an increasingly deep detachment from Nature, from all things wild, from all sources of inspiration and healing that since the creation have been called on to rebalance society and humanity at its best and at its worst.

We know through research that urbanised communities suffer the greatest social problems from loss of community, youth at risk and crime, depression, drugs and social exclusion.

So we seem in a mess - but it means we need to work harder, in a more constructive way to keep the critical link between wilderness, wildlife and people even closer – because – taking us back to the beginning of the talk – we know that connecting to Nature creates custodians of the wild – if learning to feel part of something makes it harder to destroy.

We know that to imperil the processes of Nature and the destruction of the environment imperil our very existence.

We try at the Wilderness Foundation to tackle these issues through three main strands of work. – wilderness experience, social benefit programmes and advocacy and practical conservation. Through raise the profile of wilderness benefits we aim to promote its preservation.

Our Experiential Learning programmes take young people in particular, from mainly urban environments and facilitating a deep and meaningful experience in wilderness.
Our second main strand of work focuses on social programmes. This work involves a variety of programmes, and is potentially our busiest workload.

It gives value to wild places through the therapy that they offer society.

Our third main strand lies with advocacy and the need to fight for the protection of remaining wildlands wherever possible.

In amongst all the pragmatism, and the calculation of outcomes of wilderness experience, the monitoring and evaluation of self esteem and personal growth, their lies the age old need for resting the soul.

If we can slowly wake the world out of the imbalance that currently exists in the homocentric focus that modern day living demands, and enable people to see wild places through experience, and feel the uplifting of spirit, the soaring of our human soul, the delight of observing nature that has none of our controls making it happen, then we have hope for the future." - Read the full speech (PDF)

- World Urbanization Prospects:The UN Population Database
- IFR Website
- Wilderness Foundation Website

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

RSA Coffeehouse Challenge Chelmsford

Further update to the RSA Coffeehouse Challenge Chelmsford - Check out the blog for latest developments further to the event.

Monday, June 12, 2006

RSA Coffeehouse Challenge Update

The Wilderness Foundation helped facilitate a discussion on Environment vs. Development in Chelmsford which led to lively debate including incisive contributions from Essex County Council, Chelmsford Environment Partnership, The Wilderness Foundation, the local water company and Countryside Properties PLC as well as RSA Fellows.

The Wilderness Foundation hopes to follow this up with another similar event in about six months time.

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