Monday, October 30, 2006

Andrew Muir in today's Herald

The Herald newspaper
In today's Herald:

"THE Wilderness Foundation has called for a joint security and outreach programme to be launched, led by the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, aimed at realising the “huge potential” of Settlers Park Nature Reserve.

Addressing a function yesterday to celebrate the park‘s 50th anniversary, foundation director Andrew Muir said the reserve was the icon conservation area in Mandela Bay – which was itself unique as having the greatest mix of plants and animals of any municipality in the country.

“We need to make Settlers safe for anyone to visit. We should be doing the Guinea Fowl Trail in our thousands, and we are not, because we do not feel safe. We‘re calling on the municipality to find a way to do this. We will walk beside you and help in any way we can.” - Read the full story here...

To learn more about the Wilderness Foundation SA's programmes, visit their website here:

Friday, October 27, 2006

TONIGHT - Rewilding: The Vision, Examples, Constraints and Benefits’

27 October ‘Rewilding: The Vision, Examples, Constraints and Benefits’
- Toby Aykroyd, Co-ordinator of the ‘Wild Britain’ initiative and trustee of the Wilderness Foundation; and Jonathan Spencer, Senior Ecologist, Forestry Commission

Toby Aykroyd and Jonathan Spencer both promote the concept of rewilding. They will jointly present the case for rewilding, but will review the established difficulties in achieving this.
Toby Aykroyd studied macroeconomics, geography and development economics at Cambridge University and has an MBA from the Cranfield Institute of Technology. He was initially posted to the UN Development Programme in Central America where he worked on agricultural and SME business projects. His career since has mainly included commercial management both in the private sector and under contract to government. He has been involved in farming and forestry enterprises, directed a political lobby group and co-founded the Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative.

The Wild Britain Initiative which he coordinates seeks to promote the restoration of large-scale natural habitat areas across 2 million acres in the UK over the next 25 years: making use of economic, social and political as well as conservation opportunities. He is Co-Chairman of the Population & Sustainability Network and Vice-Chairman of the Wilderness Foundation. - Meeting at Extra-Mural Centre premises at 26 Russell Square or 32 Tavistock Square.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Which is the finest wilderness south of the Scottish border?

New article by Wilderness Foundation member Alec Forss who previously wrote a popular piece on Finnish Wilderness:

With the exception of parts of Scotland, where is the finest wilderness landscape in Britain?
Though of course the answer is largely subjective, the end of another summer out in the hills has left me with a particular favourite. The North Pennines, where I spent a few days in the heat of late July walking over its parched moors, is a clear contender. So too are the Cheviots - often billed as England’s last wilderness - where a particularly chilly August saw me tramping amidst a blaze of purple heather. However, for me at least, there is a particular range of hills in Wales that really stands out as a superlative wilderness destination.

Obviously, in a small and overpopulated country it is difficult to rigorously apply the concept of wilderness. Therefore, a little definitional flexibility is required. My favourite area has experienced mining over the centuries; its slopes are used as grazing land for sheep and old stone walls criss-cross the landscape demarcating local boundaries. Yet, apart from the occasional walker, the hills exude a certain wildness that is difficult to find elsewhere.

Wishing to complete a traverse of the range on a two-night backpack, I set off with a friend. Ascending, we soon came across the remnants of some old stone cottages perched high above the town below. The throwback views across the estuary were spectacular framed by the rising bulk of one of the most beautiful mountains in Snowdonia. Ahead of us lay an area uncrossed by any road for nearly 25 kilometres. Given the nature of the terrain, moreover, our route would end up being a good deal longer. After a few hours the grassy ridge gave way to rock and heather as we descended to a tarn tucked below modestly towering peaks. There we pitched our tent in splendid isolation with it dawning on us that we could neither hear nor see any sign of human activity other than our own transient intrusion. Rising the next morning, after a star-studded night, we spied a herd of wild goats and followed in their wake up the steep gulley to the main - though not the highest - summit in the range. With a distinct haziness enveloping the surrounding landscape, one forgot about the grand vistas and concentrated on the geological complexity at hand. A maze of parallel ridges and rocky chasms interspersed with tarns lay on the menu for the route ahead. A large group of hikers passed us having come up from one of the few easy access points. We strode ahead and soon had the place to ourselves again as we trod our way through the largely pathless terrain that characterizes the northern part of the range. We stumbled across a most beautiful tarn with strange jellyfish-like creatures floating sporadically to the surface. Moving on, the next little lake proved an eye-catching foreground to the rugged backdrop behind where we took many photos. The totally incongruous towers of a decommissioned nuclear power station looming to the north aside, it was hard to believe that such a unique setting remains sparsely visited - mercifully so - in spite of its close proximity to the popular mountain mecca within sight to the north.

The next day we ran out of range to traverse. We descended to the coast and left the hills behind for the urban wilderness of Birmingham. Although my pick is by no means comparable in terms of size or sheer grandeur to other wildernesses further afield, it nonetheless exudes a highly distinctive and intense character almost unparalleled in England and Wales, and one that favours the connoisseur seeking a walk on the wild side away from the more usual haunts. Have you guessed where it is?

You're welcome to join the debate - simply post a comment.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Measuring Impact and World Community Grid

At One FoundationThe Wilderness Foundation and other At One members took part in an intensive one-day workshop on measuring impact. The workshops was offered as part of IBM's "On Demand Community Challenge”.

The IBM led workshop provided the charities and non-profits with a great opportunity to take an honest look at their existing programmes. Jo Roberts, director of the Wilderness Foundation and one of the attendees, said: "I can really see now how I can structure our communications and plans to be more effective".

The Wilderness Foundation also took the opportunity to join the the At One Team on the World Community Grid - Read more how you can make a difference too by volunteering your PC to the fight against AIDS. Also, read more about our Umzi project.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

New protected Wilderness area in California

Sierra Club This just in from our friends at the Sierra Club, specifically the Redwood Chapter in California:

"...the Thompson/Boxer/Feinstein Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act (AKA Wilderness Bill, or HR 233/S 128) " ... "Passage of this legislation has given nearly 275,000 spectacular acres in the Redwood Chapter PERMANENT protection as Federal Wilderness." - Read more here

We congratulate the Sierra Club Redwood Chapter and the other many people and organisations who campaigned for this.
- The Wilderness Foundation supports the creation of protected Wilderness areas around the globe.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Umzi in the Algoa Sun

More press coverage of Umzi - This time in the Algoa Sun. Click on the image to read the full story:

Umzi in the Algoa Sun - Click to read full story
We always welcome support for the continued success of this flagship project - Please use the Donate or Raise Funds buttons to the right!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Saving Iceland

This just in from Saving Iceland:

"Dear all,

I am writing to invite you to a theatrical and interactive protest against the destruction of Europe's second largest wilderness at the hands of heavy industry. The drowning of the Icelandic highlands has begun, in a project to
create a series of large hydropower dams for Aluminium smelting giant ALCOA's factories. The first of the dams will affect 3% of Icelands landmass and destroy reindeer breeding grounds, 60 waterfalls and a beautiful canyon-all for cheap American Aluminium.

I write to implore you to help show the Icelandic government and ALCOA that this is not acceptable. The Icelandic highlands are a beautiful and unique resource, until now untouched except by hikers and lovers of natural beauty.
By 2020 it could all be destroyed.

JOIN US for the 'FUNERAL OF THE WILD' in London on the 27th Oct and help preserve the last of Europes wilderness before its too late.

Meet at Sloane Square at 1pm for speeches, march and a fuberal ceremony."

To learn more about this, please visit - But to give you an upfront view, here's a map of Iceland with the rivers and potential dams marked out (the latter in orange).

Map of Iceland

Monday, October 09, 2006

Book for the Alpine-minded

This new book may be of interest to our Alpine-minded members:

- Contact the author for more information: Guy Sheridan, Comus, 11340 Espezel, France.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Amazonia and Assynt in Scotland

RSA ScotlandWhilst we're waiting for confirmation on exactly where in South America the next World Wilderness Congress will take place - one could in the meantime take stock of what is happening in at least one corner of the Amazon:

Angus Millar Lecture 2006 - Monday 16 October 2006 - 6pm
Hawthornden Lecture Theatre, Weston Link, National Galleries of Scotland on the Mound, Edinburgh

Chair: Professor Aubrey Manning FRSE

Chris Clark, President, Associazione Amazonia Onlus and Vice President and Founder, Associacao Amazonia Brazil will debate issues relating to social enterprise and resilient communities with Bill Ritchie, Assynt Crofters Trust and Assynt Foundation after their respective illustrated presentations.

More info on Lecturelist and on the RSA Scotland website --> Events Programme.

For reference: 8th World Wilderness Congress - Resolution on Tropical Protected Areas

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Inside the Artice Wildlife Refuge - NYRB Article

In the most recent issue of the New York Review of Books:

"Wild northern Alaska is one of the last places on earth where a human being can kneel down and drink from a wild stream without being measurably more poisoned or polluted than before; its heart and essence is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the earth's last sanctuary of the great Ice Age fauna that includes all three North American bears, gray wolves and wolverines, musk ox, moose, and, in the summer, the Porcupine River herd of caribou, 120,000 strong." - Read full article...

Arctic WildernessProtection of the Artic was a key action point at the most recent World Wilderness Congress (held in Alaska), where a resolution to Protect Arctic Natonal Wildlife Refuge from Oil Development was adopted, but is not a new subject for the Wilderness movement - Fulcrum Books have amongst their Wilderness stock the proceedings from the 5th WWC entitled: Artic Wilderness. (Full list of past World Wilderness Congresses).

You may also find this earlier NYRB article (albeit on Global Warming) of interest, albeit not on the artic specifically.

Artic Wildlife Refuge on GoogleEarthLast but not least, we support our friends at the Sierra Club in their continued efforts to preserve the Artic Wildlife Refuge. They also have a set of interesting tools such as maps well worth checking out (click on the Google Earth thumbnail on the left).

Monday, October 02, 2006

Coverage of Trails Expansion in Today's Kruger Park Times

Andrew Muir, Dr Ian Player and Alan McSmith

"The Wilderness Foundation SA and the Wilderness Leadership School, founded in the 1950s by conservation legend Dr Ian Player and Magqubu Ntombela, is seeking to expand the wilderness trail concept that it pioneered. One of their first partners in the planned expansion is Alan McSmith, an independent Hoedspruit-based trails operator." - Read the full article here ...

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