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Monday, January 29, 2007

David Rattray

It is with great sadness that The Wilderness Foundation has learned of the death of our Patron, David Rattray.

News24.com reports
that David, a world expert in the Anglo-Zulu war who promoted tourism to historic battlefields, was attacked and killed at his home on Saturday.

Wilderness Foundation UK Director, Jo Roberts, said of David "There are few human beings who can inspire both young and old, as David did. He had a knack of using history to raise awareness of the present and in this capacity made history work for the benefit of local communities in and around his beloved Kwa-Zulu Natal in South Africa."

Our thoughts are with David's widow, Nicky and his family at this difficult time.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Jay Griffiths - Wild: An elemental journey

Jay Griffiths - Wild: An elemental journeyIn this book, out in May but available for pre-order through the Wilderness Bookstore, Jay Griffiths describes an extraordinary odyssey, courageous and sometimes dangerous, to wildernesses of earth and ice, water and fire.

It is a poetic consideration of the tender connection between human society and wild lands, "Wild" is by turns funny, touching and harrowing. It is also a journey into that greatest of uncharted lands - wild mind - as Griffiths explores the words and meanings which shape our ideas and our experience of our own wildness. Part travelogue, part manifesto, this is a one-of-a-kind book from a one-of-a-kind author.

We are working with the Gaia Foundation on setting up an event focusing on this book - Keep an eye on this space.

We have just heard that due to a last minute cancellation the Centre for Human Ecology has 2 (or possibly 3) spaces on their Action Research training course starting this Friday:

"Action Research helps people deepen their learing about questions they feel passionate about. Research with others, not on them!
- Learn-by-doing whilst engaging with inspiring articles and papers;
- Enhance your leadership, facilitation and research skills;
- Slow down, go further: develop awareness practices in your life andwork.

Action Research is increasingly central to the success of projects and people engaging with the challenges of social justice and sustainability. This course offers inspiration and practical skills to improve the ways you (and your organisation) work, so the results better match your values and objectives. Certificate of Professional Development offered through a partnership between CHE and the Dept of Geography & Sociology, University of Strathclyde. Full details, including costs and dates, here: http://www.che.ac.uk/mambo/content/view/180/188/
If you would like to attend, please email Nick Wilding, the courseleader, direct.

The Wilderness Foundation supports the work of the Centre for Human Ecology - especially their commitment to taking the sustainability message into the wilds which we have written about previously here.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Wilderness on VideoJug: How to build a one-person shelter

Last spring we wrote about the 'Bushcraft in practice' some of our volunteeers did with Natural Pathways - We've also featured a couple of How-to videos from a service called VideoJug. Now we've combined the two:




VideoJug: How to build a one-person shelter

If you're interested in getting all the skills to get by in in the outdoors locally then get in touch with Geoffrey at Natural Pathways - If you want to learn in a Wilderness setting, then why not have a look our Wilderness Training Course that runs regularly in South Africa. Please contact our office if you'd like to learn more or book a place - info (at) wilderness foundation.org.uk or 08081786931/+441245443073.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Wilderness Related Job Opportunities (North America)

Here are a couple of recent job openings we came across and thought might be of interest to our readers in North America:

Executive Director - The Cottonwood Gulch Foundation
"The foundation sponsors educational wilderness expeditions and outdoor programs in the American Southwest that promote personal growth, scientific, historic, and cultural discovery as well as a knowledgeable environmental ethic among all those who participate." http://www.idealist.org/job/205849-224

Wilderness Campaign Directors - Montana Wilderness Association
"Located in Helena, Choteau and Kalispell, Montana. Positions will be responsible for developing and implementing a wilderness designation campaign plan and working with staff and members to build statewide support for campaign." http://www.idealist.org/en/job/203156-28

You may have to create an Idealist.org account to see the postings.

Looking for Wilderness on Google Books

Just a few of the books on Wilderness that can be browsed through Google Books:

Wilderness: A Journal of Quiet Adventure in Alaska by Rockwell Kent - 1996 - 237 pages. "All around was the wilderness, a no-man's-land of mountains or of cragged islands, and southward the wide, the limitless, Pacific Ocean." ...
Limited preview - Table of Contents - About this book

Wilderness Forever: Howard Zahniser And The Path To The Wilderness Act by Mark W. T. Harvey - Biography & Autobiography - 2005 - 325 pages. "In 1956, as executive secretary of the Wilderness Society, Zahniser had written the first draft of the bill, and in the years since had shepherded it ..."
Limited preview - Table of Contents - About this book

Should you prefer books printed on paper rather than staring at a screen, then do visit our Amazon-powered bookshop where you can find plenty of reading material - and any purchase helps us continue our work for Wilderness, Wildlife and People.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Get out into the Wilderness and Boost your Self-Esteem!

University of Essex logoJo Peacock, University of Essex, reports:

The Wilderness Foundation and the University of Essex are collaborating on a piece of ongoing research which explores the heath benefits derived from participating in wilderness trails.


Many different groups of young people have taken part in the trips, including Norfolk army cadets and members from Envision and Clouddog. Since collaboration began, 44 people (29.5% male and 70.5% female) have participated in these wilderness trails in Snowdonia National Park, North Wales and Imfolozi Game Reserve, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa. The trips have involved a variety of activities, such as camping, back packing and hiking, story telling, observing wildlife, cooking, campcraft, conservation volunteering and learning about the environment.
All participants were requested to complete a questionnaire immediately before and after participating in a trail, so that we could identify any changes in their self-reported self-esteem levels. There was also an opportunity for participants to express their feelings concerning the special moments of the trip, in addition to rating the enjoyment levels of various aspects of the trail.

Participating in the wilderness trails significantly enhanced individuals’ self-esteem, and therefore improved their psychological well-being. Figure 1 highlights the overall positive change in self-esteem, with values improving from 18.1 to 15.8 (the lower the value, the higher the self-esteem).
The beauty of the scenic environment was a fundamental part of the experience and a lot of enjoyment was also derived from interacting with the wildlife and spending time outside in the fresh air. The narrative consistently referred to the enjoyment of forming a “great team” and establishing new and special friendships, so the social element was an important part of the experience (see Box 1). The personality of the group leaders were a notable influence and the trail enabled participants to feel very connected to their surrounding natural environment. So, it appears that spending time in the natural wild environment can help to re-connect you with nature as well as to each other and this compelling bond can empower and inspire you.

What was Special? Comments from Participants

“Looking at things from a different perspective, in particular looking at life overall in a more positive way. Also, it was most special to find out about others within the group and forming special friendships. Overall, it was special simply because I had not dreamt of having such an opportunity”

“Meeting new people was fantastic as was getting away from the pressures of modern life”

“Having no sense of time and being able to enjoy it all without being stuck to a time structure. Seeing animals in their natural environments”

“The way a group naturally bonds together to support each other. To acknowledge humans can live comfortably without spoiling the environment.”

“I found it an amazing new experience being away from a large city environment. Having to experience this on such a personal level really brought home how much I'm missing and reminds me to take time out for similar things.”

“I thought Rob [the guide] was very special. His knowledge and ability to pass on his experience and knowledge is a fantastic skill. I also have made some very good friends here. I learnt that people are supportive and caring even in a tough situation. It was an invaluable experience that I feel privileged to have been a part of “

“I found the interaction between the different plant and animal species including humans a special part of my experience. Furthermore, I found the opportunity that allowed me to understand the wilderness is special. Most of all the knowledge I have gained and friendships that I have made special”

“The experience taught me immense amounts about myself and the world I live in. It was absolutely amazing, and I think I am beginning to understand the world and my place within it”

Grants for Planting Trees (UK)

The Wilderness Foundation is a strong supporter or tree planting through our project Kirisia in Kenya and also through our work with Trees for Life here in the UK. We thought others might also be interest in some of the funding opportunities available in this field that can be accessed for smalller local projects:

Heritage Trees"The Tree Council, a national charity that promotes the planting and conservation of trees in town and countryside has two grant schemes available for 2007. These are the Trees for Schools Fund and the Communities Tree Fund. Under these funds grants of up to £700 are available both to schools and community groups proposing to undertake well-planned tree planting projects starting in 2007 during National Tree Week, 21st November to 2nd December. The closing date for both funding streams is the 31st May 2007". - We heard about this through SEL.

The Tree Council also have a set of interesting books in their bookshop including the one pictured above the right called Heritage Trees...

BBC Newsnight: Green Technology

BBC Newsnight LogoWe have written about Global Warming before on this blog (if you click on the label below this posting you'll find our previous postings on this subject). It is an issue that affects us all and we thought last night's Green Technology feature on BBC Newsnight might be of interest. If you're in the UK, you can watch it again online here.


Monday, January 08, 2007

Guardian: Britain's forgotten wilderness - less than an hour from Norwich

The Wilderness Foundation congratulates the RSPB on the acquisition-for-preservation of Sutton Fen. Here's an excerpt from coverage in today's Guardian:

Guardian Unlimited Logo"Walk in any direction from the middle of Sutton Fen in the Norfolk Broads and you will be lost in minutes. You may also sink to your armpits through what looks like solid land but is actually a crust of peat. You could scream but no one would hear because for nearly a mile around there is only slow-flowing water creeping between tall reeds and dense low copses of alder trees. There are no paths, fences, or sounds except for the occasional owl or bittern. It is a true British wilderness - and for its new owners, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, a £1.5m Christmas present to its members."
- Read the full article on Guardian Unlimited here.
- The RSPB have some amazing pictures here.

The Wilderness Foundation works for Wilderness preservation in the UK specifically and globally through our sister organisations on other continents - We also support likeminded organisations wherever and whenever we can.

Friday, January 05, 2007

New Year Reading List: Wilderness Bookshop

Wilderness Foundation BookshopThe Wilderness Foundation has launched an Amazon powered bookshop to make it easier to find good books on our favourite subject: Wilderness.


It features works by our founders Dr Ian Player and Sir Laurens van der Post as well as books by our late Patron Sir Wilfred Thesiger not to mention gorgeous photography books by the great friend of the foundation, Colin Prior.

There's a link on our homepage with a few featured titles - and the best thing is that for each book you buy through our store we get a percentage to continue our work to preserve Wilderness. Drop by today: http://astore.amazon.co.uk/thewilderness-21

Monday, January 01, 2007

Wilderness Foundation Trustee awarded OBE in New Year Honours list

Edward Posey OBEWe are delighted to announce that Edward Posey, Trustee of The Wilderness Foundation (UK), Wilderness Foundation (SA), and Wilderness Leadership School, has been awarded an OBE in the New Years Honours List.

We are thrilled that he has been recognized - it is well-deserved. Edward also serves on the board of the Gaia Foundation and they have put together a brief overview of some of the good work he has done over the years which we thought you might find inspiring.

Attention all Intrepid Adventurers

Click to learn more about the Bill Wallace Grant on the John Muir Trust websiteHere's an opportunity not to miss from our friends at the John Muir trust!:

Attention all Intrepid Adventurers

The John Muir Trust has created the Bill Wallace grant - ‘Go and do it‘. Funding up to £1000 is available to individuals who are setting up expeditions to wild places. Bill was a great supporter of JMT and Scottish mountaineering. Many of the places we dream about going Bill had been there in the 1950’s and even in his seventies was organisings and leading trips to Greenland.

If you are planning or thinking about an expedition in 2007, have a look at their website: http://www.jmt.org/ specifically http://www.jmt.org/bill-wallace-grant.asp
- Do not hang around applications need to be in on the 17th of January.

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