Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ride Earth : The Podcasts

Just a quick reminder that our friends from Ride Earth are still out there, navigating the globe on mountain bikes and spreading the world about the value of wilderness.

Our excellent ambassadors publish periodic video journals (podcasts) which can be downloaded from their website:


our you can subscribe using your regular podcast software (as previously detailed by Michael - see the article here)

Watch episode 4 as Tom and Andy prepare to leave for Turkey and relationships start to become a little strained!

An Appeal for the TurnAround Project

“I’m so lucky to have had this chance. If I was the Genie of the lamp, then I’d grant everyone the opportunity to go to the bush” – Wilderness Trail Participant 2007

As a supporter of the Wilderness Foundation UK, you will know the value of wilderness and the impact that exposure to this precious environment can make on the life of a young person. Since 1976 we have been working to inspire and educate the next generation – our children and grandchildren who will go on to shape our communities in the future. It has become more and more apparent to us as an organisation that in order to raise the value of wilderness for society, we need to show how exposure to it has a positive effect.

Recently, press attention has been very much focused on a trend of youth crime that is impacting into the heart of our communities. At the Foundation we are very much aware that we all must take responsibility for the impact of youth crime and we want to take positive steps to reverse this trend. That is why we have created The TurnAround Project.

Working with representatives from the Police, Connexions, Youth Offending Team and experienced Psychologists, Counsellors, Therapists and Educational Specialists, we have developed a nine month programme that will give young people the chance to break away from their troubled background and acquire the skills they need to make better choices for the future. The programme is built around wilderness trails, environmental and community workshops and one-to-one sessions with volunteer life coaches drawn from our local community. We aim to support them into work or further education at the end of the project and our vision is to enable them to peer mentor the next group of young people who come through the project.

If a young person reaches the stage where they are sentenced and detained, the average cost to the UK Tax Payer is £40,000 per annum. A nine-month placement on Turn Around will cost just £5,000 – and make a positive impact on the life of a young person at a most crucial time.

We have raised a significant amount of funding for the first year of Turn Around, through the generosity of the livery companies, financial institutions and individual fundraising efforts. However, we need to raise a further £25,000 for the pilot project. Please would you support us in our aims, by making a donation to the Wilderness Foundation UK? It has become a cliché, but however large or small the amount you can afford to give, it really will make a lasting difference and change not only the life of the participant, but benefit each and every one of us. The re-offending rate among those detained for youth crimes is 89%. We want to stop young people ever getting that far. Our project is modelled on a programme that has already proven successful in South Africa, with an 85% reduction in re-offending rates.

Please take a moment to think about how your positive action now, in supporting the Wilderness Foundation UK, will help to address something that concerns us all and affects our futures.

It’s easy to make a difference – send cheques made payable to “Wilderness Foundation UK” to:

The Appeal Coordinator
Wilderness Foundation UK
47-49 Main Road

or alternatively you can donate online using any major debit or credit card by visiting:

If you are a UK tax payer you can make your donation go even further by completing the Gift Aid declaration below and returning it with your cheque.

We really do appreciate your continued support.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely

Jo Roberts

Director - WFUK






I am a UK Taxpayer: [ ]
I want the Wilderness Foundation UK to reclaim
tax on my donation: [ ]

Value of your donation:__________

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Putting Biodiversity on the Agenda - Campfire Questions Follow-up

ESRC - Click to visit

Further to our recent Campfire Questions with Tim Hirsch we thought readers who would like to learn more about biodiversity issues might enjoy an article by Tim just published on the ESRC website - It can be found here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Essential Faciliation Core Skills Workshop

Louise O'Meara, Regional Director for IISC Ireland brings us information on their public workshop "Essential Facilitation ® Core Skills for Agreement-Building". This three day programme will take place on November 27, 28 & 29, 2007 in Dublin. The Workshop focuses on the essential strategies and skills for helping groups solve problems, resolve conflict and build agreement - and provides participants with a solid foundation of facilitation theory and practice for immediate use.

Louise writes...

Chances are, the more responsible you are for organisational or community outcomes, the more meetings you will need to facilitate and the more agreements you will need to build. Facilitation is critical to success whenever a decision involves several people. Essential Facilitation® provides a solid framework and proven techniques for resolving conflict, creating buy-in, and building lasting agreements – skills as valuable in every day life as they are in organisational settings.

Benefits for Participants

In this three-day intensive facilitation workshop, participants will learn the essential strategies and skills for helping groups solve problems, resolve conflict and build agreement. Led by expert practitioners, the workshop will provide participants with a solid foundation of facilitation theory and practice for immediate use. After completing this workshop, they will be able to:

Keep discussions on track

Design results-focused agendas, group processes and implementation plans

Design and conduct planning sessions and team meetings

Use collaborative problem solving tools to make decisions more easily

Respect and make best use of diverse points of view and communication styles

Share ideas, responsibility, and success in a way that values everyone’s contribution

Use win-win thinking to resolve conflicts

Model behaviours that help others improve group interaction.

Over three days, participants will have numerous opportunities to practice what they’ve learned including facilitating a number of discussions in ‘practice meetings’ using tools presented. In activities and exercises they will be encouraged to focus on real-life issues facing their organisations for immediate application. With an average participant-to-trainer ratio of 10:1 participants will receive considerable attention with both group and individual feedback and coaching. This approach produces immediate gains in skills and awareness. We will tailor the workshop to the levels of experience of participants, creating the opportunity for both novice and more advanced facilitators to improve their skills.

Benefits for Communities / Organisations

Effective facilitators unlock the power of the individual and show groups how to reach their desired goals. When development officers and leaders model skillful facilitation, they put their commitment to participation and collaboration into practice. As facilitation skills improve throughout an organisation or community, everyone involved becomes more creative and productive, and is better able to seize opportunities for significant improvements in how work is done in order to achieve more effective and sustainable results.

Workshop Topic

  • The Interaction Method™
  • Meeting Planning and Agenda Design
  • Listening as an Ally
  • Resolving Conflict
  • Tools for Building Understanding and Agreement
  • Mastering the Strategic Moment
  • Facilitative Behaviors
  • Collaborative Problem Solving

Who Should Attend

Anyone who leads groups, teams or meetings needs to be able to act as a facilitator. Participants may include:

  • Directors, CEOs and managers of organisations
  • Formal leaders who are responsible for the performance of others
  • Team leaders and supervisors
  • Development officers & project leaders
  • Neighbourhood and community workers & leaders
  • Informal leaders such as development consultants
DATES: 27 - 29 November 2007, 9:30am – 5:00pm

LOCATION: Youth Work Ireland (formerly National Youth Federation), Dublin

COST: €595/Stg£395, includes all materials and lunch

For more information or to register please contact:

IISC Ireland, PO Box 969, Belfast BT5 9AN

EMAIL: lo’meara@interactioninstitute.org

WEBSITE: www.interactioninstitute.org

Please mention Wilderness Foundation UK when replying. Thank you.

Campfire Questions with Tim Hirsch

In anticipation of the next World Wilderness Congress we've been covering South America a fair bit recently and we expect this to increase as we get closer to the event.

Tim Hirsch, the former BBC Environment Correspondent - now writing and broadcasting for a broader set of A-list outlets (and also consulting) - recently attended this years most important conservation event in South America. He kindly took time out to answer a few of our questions - and also gave us a more personal insight into the deliberations as he lives and works in a forest deeply affected by biodiversity loss:

• You recently attended the Latin American Consultation towards a possible International Mechanism for Scientific Expertise on Biodiversity in Bariloche, Argentina. Sounds quite a mouthful, what`s it got to do with protecting wilderness areas?

Well, potentially quite a lot. The problem is that there is no powerful scientific body to warn the world's decision-makers about the consequences of continuing to let species go extinct at the fastest rate since the demise of the dinosaurs. Contrast this with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which has played a pivotal role in mobilising action against global warming, however inadequate it might be. So the scientific community, in this case in Latin America, is being sounded out on what kind of new body might do the same thing for biodiversity and lead to more sensible decisions.

• Another talking shop, in other words?

Fair point. The scientists at this meeting in Bariloche were absolutely clear that the last thing they wanted was another bureaucratic structure holding lots of conferences and clocking up vast quantities of frequent flier miles (and carbon emissions). But they were keen on the idea of a "network of networks" or "metanetwork"as some are describing it -- a way of bringing together the vast amount of science being done on ecosystems around the world, and making it available to governments, businesses and anyone else who needs to know the consequences of policies on the biodiversity that underpins the planet`s life support systems.
• You live in the Atlantic Rainforest of Brazil -- did you take away any thoughts from this meeting that could affect the future of this ecosystem?
Only the urgency of improving the knowledge of society about the consequences of undervaluing ecosystems. The Atlantic Forest has a greater variety of species, hectare for hectare, even than the Amazon itself, and has lost some 93 per cent of its original cover (the Amazon has lost around 15 per cent). That makes it officially a "biodiversity hotspot", but what does that mean to a farmer deciding whether or not to clear just another hectare to expand his banana plantation? If this new scientific body does its job properly, it will help to strengthen the case for keeping that hectare of forest because of its role in regulating rainfall, providing pollinators for crops, creating potential for ecotourism and research into medicinal plants, etc etc. All of which is a darn site more valuable than a few extra bananas in an oversupplied market.
• You document your daily encounters with flora and fauna at your farm through your Nature Notes blog - Could you tell us a little bit more about that?

I started doing it because being lucky enough to have a grandstand view of one of the most vibrant ecosystems on earth, I get a bit obsessed with every little change I notice when I look out of my bedroom window or go for a walk in the forest. Sometimes the conversations my partner and I have are a bit like a biodiversity soap opera -- "hey can you believe that lapwing is still sitting on her eggs after nearly a month? I think that saffron toucanet is trying to muscle in on the yellow-fronted woodpeckers ...." So I am keeping this record partly to share with other people around the world who may be interested, but also to act as a reminder for future reference which species are doing what at particular times of year.
• Reading suggestions?

For an introduction to the concept of "ecosystem services" and the link between nature and human well-being, see this document, or for a more specific example, the Caribbean Sea Ecosystem Assessment (PDF). For an official account of the Bariloche meeting, see http://www.iisd.ca/ymb/imoseb5/

Thanks Tim!

Do also check out the great photos Tim has on his site. If you'd like a closer look at the biodiversity of the Atlantic Rainforest, then why not consider staying at the farm - We've been there and we can highly recommend it. As Tim says: "it can be a base for an activity-packed family holiday; a peaceful retreat from which to write, work or meditate (with Wi-Fi access!); a destination for researchers, birdwatchers or study groups; or a "chill-out zone" from a hectic business trip to Latin America."

Further South American/World Wilderness Congress reading:

Previous in this series:

Wilderness Training

Our wilderness trails division, the Wilderness Leadership School, is looking to offer another run of its highly popular Wilderness Training Course in January 2008. This unique 21 day programme offers participants the chance to study the following modules and disciplines:

  • Animal Identification and Behavioural Interpretation
  • Bush Lore and Tracking Skills
  • Environmental Literacy
  • The Nature of Wilderness
  • Personal Growth Development
  • Minimal Impact Camping Skills and Techniques
  • Trail Mechanics
  • Interpretation of Landscapes and Earth Sciences
  • Individual Leadership Development
  • Group Dynamics and Assessment
  • Environmental Responsibility and Accountability
  • Emergency First Aid and HIV Awareness

The whole course is delivered with an underlying emphasis on Wilderness Ethics which is the core of the Wilderness Leadership School philosophy.

This is a fantastic opportunity for you to explore the interdependence of all things, especially between the human and non-human elements of the Earth and undertake a personal journey of discovery.

“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately to front only the essential facts of life and see if I could not learn what it had to teach and not, when I came to The course will be run subject to sufficient numbers of participants. die, discover that I had not lived.” - Henry David Thoreau

To register your interest in a place and learn more about the programme, please contact the UK Office by emailing info@wildernessfoundation.org.uk or calling us on 01245 443073.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Masters Degrees at the University of Edinburgh

Dr Robbie Nicol, Programme Director for Outdoor Education and Outdoor Environmental and Sustainability Education at the University of Edinburgh has sent us news of two new courses on offer:

In addition to our long-standing Outdoor Education programme we are now accepting applications for two new Master’s Degrees:

Personal and Social Outdoor Education

Outdoor Environmental and Sustainability Education

There are exit points at Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma and MSc levels.

As a number of the courses are taught in five-day blocks, these new programmes may be particularly attractive to those who want to keep working (and who perhaps live some distance from Edinburgh) while they study part-time.

For further details keep an eye on our website where we will be updating information on these new programmes soon: www.education.ed.ac.uk/outdoored

Please remember to mention Wilderness Foundation UK when contacting the University. Thank you and good luck!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Essex Issues & Local edition of our Career in the Wilderness series

In the recent Campfire Questions with Graham Game we covered some of the challenges facing Essex.

Here's a follow-up - First a story from Monday's Guardian on the RPSB's conservation efforts in Essex:
Back to nature: £12m plan to let sea flood reclaimed land and recreate lost habitats

· Scheme could reverse 500 years of British history
· RSPB backs saltmarsh haven for rare wildlife
- Full story
Secondly, lots of our trails alumni want to make a difference in Wilderness conservation not to mention the environment in general - that's why we do everything we can to link them up with green opportunities when they return from trail. Most are posted directly to our Facebook Group but when it comes to career choices we thought the full readership might have interest in these local opportunities:
Further on the local front: You can learn more about managing coastal environments - and specifically the Essex Blackwater estuary in the OU's OpenLearn as mentioned amongst other resources in the Graham Game article.

Earlier in the career series:

Treking to the South Pole of Inaccessibility

Wednesday 7th November Troubadour Club London 7pm

£40 including supper

Join explorer Henry Cookson a member of the first British/Canadian expedition to reach the rarely conquered Pole of Inaccessibility. This is the furthest point from the southern oceans in Antarctica. They are the first team to achieve this without mechanical aid. Learn about their experience man hauling and kite skiing essential equipment across 1,700km of wilderness at altitudes of up to 3500m and coping with temperatures of up to -50 centigrade. The Troubadour Club (on Old Brompton Road)has an excellent culinary reputation. Places are limited so book early!

Booking essential -

Contact Jackie - 01245 443073 - Email: jackie@wildernessfoundation.org.uk

Fundraising Quiz Night

Friday 12th October Widford Lodge School - Chelmsford 7.30pm

£10 Including Supper

Join us for a fun evening of supper and a quiz in aid of Mabandla village school. This school, in dire need of rebuilding, is part of the Zulu community visited by many of our UK trailists who spend up to a week as part of a cultural and environmental experience. Future groups (adults and students) will be involved in the rebuilding programme as part of their volunteer commitments.

For further information contact Jackie by email or alternatively call the office on 01245 443073.

We look forward to seeing you.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Outdoor Environment as a Place for Theraputic Change

We are pleased to present details of this workshop being run by our friends and partners at An Turus:

The Outdoor Environment as a Place for Theraputic Change
22nd—24th October 2007
Lumley Fee, Cumbria

We are proud to work in collaboration with Dr. Robbie Nicol to present the second workshop in our certificate, The Therapeutic Application of the Wilderness and Adventure Experience.

Who is this workshop for?
This workshop is important for outdoor trainers, counsellors, therapists, teachers, social workers, youth workers, health workers or anyone in a related profession who find themselves pondering their role and place in the natural environment and how this influences their professional life. This workshop is the secondmodule in the certificate and is open to both participants of the certificate and others.

What will the workshop cover?

Some of the questions that we will address include; when we venture into the outdoor
realm, how much attention do we pay to our connection to the environment we find ourselves in? What importance do we place on whether we are journeying through nature or alongside it? How is it that we speak of going out into nature as a separate experience? Does it matter that we ‘use’ nature as a tool to promote human recovery and health?

To answer these questions and many others, Robbie will guide us to philosophical depths through his wise teaching and through meaningful experiential activities. He will encourage discussion and debate that ranges from the very real and present ecological issues that face the planet, through to practical environmental awareness and outdoor educational practice.

By attending this workshop participants will gain a greater insight into what it means to be human and to weave this awareness into their work. A beneficial consequence to this will be the ability to work with ‘natural mindfulness’ while facilitating change in others in the outdoors and to assist the client to engage with nature in a similar vein.

All of this will be placed within the context of the therapeutic application of the outdoor experience.

Robbie Nicol is Programme Director for Outdoor Education Postgraduate Studies at Moray House School of Education in Edinburgh and he has published widely on a number of subjects on the history and current practice of outdooreducation, environmental education, and sustainability as an educational issue.

Where will it take place?

The workshop will be held at the Lumley Fee centre near Kendal. All meals, refreshments and bunkroom accommodation will be provided from the evening of the 21st to the end of the afternoon on the 24th, and are included in the price. Detailed joining instructions will be sent on receipt of a booking.

Presented by Dr. Robbie Nicol

To Book Your Place or for further information
Please contact:

Nick Ray or Ruth Bradbrook at team@an-turus.co.uk
Or telephone 01463 243852 or 07818094311
Or visit http://www.an-turus.co.uk to download a booking form

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Amazonian Wilderness

In today's Guardian there is an article with the depressing assessment that the Amazon jungle could be lost in 40 years:

"The Amazonian wilderness is at risk of unprecedented damage from an ambitious plan to improve transport, communications and power generation in the region, conservationists warned yesterday." - Read full article.

This is in addition to a recent article by the Brazil-based humanitarian aid worked Conor Foley called 'Threatening the Amazon', which lays out in some further detail some of the things that are going wrong. Meaning, in other words, that not much has changed since we attended the RSA 2006 Angus Millar Lecture where Chris Clark, President of Associazione Amazonia Onlus, told a distinguished Edinburgh audience about the extreme difficulties conservation efforts in the Amazon face. Transcript here .

The issues facing rainforests like the Amazon will be in particular focus at the next World Wilderness Congress - which will be held in South America in 2009 - including follow-up on the Resolution on Tropical Protected Areas as adopted by the 8th World Wilderness Congress.

Now you can help by getting informed. We have a suggested starting point for your reading in preparation for the next for the next World Wilderness Congress. You may also find it useful to go through some related articles from the International Journal of Wilderness:
Learn more about and subscribe to the International Journal of Wilderness

Last but not least, here's on from our archive about the very first congress: Findhorn and the World Wilderness Congress 1983

Monday, October 01, 2007

New Beginnings

As previously reported at the end of June 2007 (article here), Wilderness Foundation UK today becomes a UK Registered Company Limited by Guarantee - Number 06003527. Additionally, with effect from today we adopt our new Charity Number which is 1118493.

May we thank everyone who has contributed to the works of the Foundation in the past. The new status of the Charity will in no-way affect our ethos or our goals - WFUK continues to work for Wilderness, Wildlife and People.

Here's to the future!

The WFUK Team


Recently parking has been covered a number of places:

And now there's an article just out on Salon.com called 'We paved Paradise'. All were sparked by research from Purdue University. Here's quoting from the Salon.com article:

In Tippecanoe County, Ind., there are 250,000 more parking spaces than registered cars and trucks. That means that if every driver left home at the same time and parked at the local mini-marts, grocery stores, churches and schools, there would still be a quarter of a million empty spaces. The county's parking lots take up more than 1,000 football fields, covering more than two square miles, and that's not counting the driveways of homes or parking spots on the street. In a community of 155,000, there are 11 parking spaces for every family.

Bryan Pijanowski, a professor of forestry and natural resources at Purdue University, which is located in Tippecanoe, documented the parking bounty in a study released this September. When it made the news, Pijanowski got puzzled reactions from locals. In short, they said: "Are you crazy? I can never find parking where I'm going!"

That's the paradox of parking. No matter how much land we pave for our idle cars, it always seems as if there isn't enough.

We haven't made a count in the Country town of Chelmsford, Essex - where our office is based - but we expect the number is high.

Now what has this got to do with Wilderness? Well, apart from the fact that a car park is pretty much the perfect antithesis of Wilderness, we do encourage our alumni to think responsibly about transport usage.

  • Walk and cycle when possible
  • Otherwise use public transport; or, if going to a place inacessible by the above, make sure the space in your vehicle is fully utilised

In either case, get educated about the wider impact of personal transport - Here are a few articles that may be of interest:

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