The Wilderness Foundation UK. sister organisation of Wilderness Foundation Africa and co-founding member of Wilderness Foundation Global, are deeply honoured to be listed as one of seven charities selected by Prince Harry and Ms Megan Markle to receive donations in place of gifts to celebrate their wedding on 19th May 2018.
The couple have chosen to re-direct the generosity of the public towards causes which the couple have been particularly interested in over their lives to date.
Jo Roberts, CEO of the Wilderness Foundation, said: "We are deeply touched and honoured that Prince Harry and Ms Markle have chosen to support The Wilderness Foundation and its beneficiaries. As the world’s population grows exponentially the planet’s remaining wild places and resources are coming under increasing threat. It has never been more important for us as humans to protect the planet that gives us life. Whilst teaching conservation values, we in turn use the positive power of nature to support and recharge the lives of challenged and vulnerable young people and adults."
Prince Harry visited The Wilderness Foundation in September last year. He was interested in the main projects run in Scotland and the South East. He met and engaged with primary students engaged in environmental education, mindfulness and connection to nature workshops, all based in an outdoor living classroom.
He then spent time around a camp fire talking with a range of 15-21 year old graduates from the TurnAround and Out There Academy programmes. All the young people had come from painful and complex backgrounds, most having experienced some form of grief, being in care, and or mental health problems - significantly - anxiety and depression.
Jo Roberts said: "The royal visit from Prince Harry left everyone feeling very seen, heard and understood. His ease and natural warmth touched us all. He is also very knowledgeable on conservation issues and the impact of disconnection from the natural world. On meeting our teenagers from TurnAround, he was deeply compassionate of all of their stories and very quickly built rapport with the group. They had all been through wilderness therapy programmes and personal development workshops and had graduated with positive changes to their mental wellbeing, employability or action in further education.
"Young people, mental wellbeing and conserving nature are causes that the couple have championed. These are all themes at the heart of the Wilderness Foundation."
Donations will be used to grow the numbers of young people whose lives are changed through our programmes and to expand our environmental education. For example, donations can help us support London schools who struggle to afford transport to attend our Chatham Green Project and spend time in the outdoors and wild nature. Donations will be used to offer more one to one support and therapy to young people who are urgently in need of help. Donations will help the Foundation spread the reach of their programmes to meet more numbers of students for all programmes, including growing young adults in environmental leadership programmes.
For more information, visit www.wildernessfoundation.org.uk.
Further information about The Wilderness Foundation:
The Wilderness Foundation UK engages over 5,000 people per year with the benefits and enjoyment of wild nature. Programmes develop future sustainability leaders, build resilience in vulnerable teenagers with challenging lives and mental health issues, introduce rural employment to urban youth, and bring curriculum-based sciences to life in the outdoors. We switch off technology, and switch on reality. www.wildernessfoundation.org.uk
Our Chatham Green Project is a 400-acre living classroom engaging young people with the subjects of nature, farming and food security in the 21st century. Subjects are taught using immersive and creative outdoor education methods. The ‘Down to Earth’ allotment project trains people with disabilities and mental health problems to grow their own food.
TurnAround and the Out There Academy support young people with complex needs though nature immersion. The programmes offer resilience training, personal development and therapy for youths battling family breakdown and mental health issues. Trained mentors offer one to one support to build aspiration and employability through wilderness therapy journeys.
Imbewu Scotland creates connections between urban young people in Scotland, major landowners and employment opportunities in the rural sector. Participants join wilderness trails, volunteering and employability training, whilst growing an understanding of their ecological heritage.
Since 1956, Wilderness Leadership Trails have nurtured environmentalists of the future in the most remote corners of South Africa, the UK and Europe. Immersion trails with skilled facilitation help develop deep connections to nature, building future leaders for a sustainable planet.
All programmes follow Leave No Trace Ethics and training.