The conservation projects pioneered, supported, or managed by the Wilderness Foundation focus strongly on protected areas. Protected areas play a critical role in supporting biodiversity conservation, and are an essential element in a comprehensive plan for reducing poverty and supporting economic development. The Wilderness Foundation continues to actively expand its existing conservation networks, ensuring that protected areas and reserves are well managed, and provide benefits for their surrounding communities.
The conservation projects focus on the following key areas:
• Management of protected areas
• Expansion and consolidation of protected areas
• Ecosystem rehabilitation and restoration
Leadership & Education (6)
The Wilderness Foundation believes that a personal experience of the incredible healing and motivating power of wilderness areas is what leads an individual to a greater understanding of conservation in the 21st century.
The Wilderness Foundation pioneers, supports, or manages a number of leadership and experiential education projects which aim to develop ecological leadership in the country’s youth and various decision-makers.
South Africa’s history has confined most South Africans to townships or degraded rural areas, and has fractured traditional cultures. Even today, experiences in nature reserves are beyond the economic reach of most South Africans.
The Wilderness Foundation seeks to bridge this gap by offering various opportunities for the youth and decision-makers of the country to experience their natural heritage through personal interaction with the wilderness and natural environment. Through experiential education, they are able to re-discover the relationship between traditional African cultures and nature, which leads to personal growth and a greater understanding of conservation in its broader context.
Watch this YouTube Video as founder of the Wilderness Foundation, Dr Ian Player talks about the value of a Wilderness Experience, and how it changes lives:
Social Intervention (4)
The Wilderness Foundation’s social intervention programme includes various projects which are developed and implemented independently, or in partnership with other projects of the Foundation
Due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic throughout the continent of Africa, huge numbers of youth are left orphaned and vulnerable, stuck in a cycle of poverty, with little hope of a brighter future. There is a dire need for holistic social intervention programmes which can offer these youth a chance at becoming successful contributors to society through personal growth and future employment.
The Wilderness Foundation has pioneered a number of holistic social intervention projects which draw on the opportunities presented by the growing eco-tourism industry in South Africa.
Some of the projects are linked up with the Wilderness Foundation’s environmental education programme which helps carry the Foundation’s message of the importance of conservation in the 21st century. The projects have been shown to develop conservation leaders with a strong conservation ethos.
The social intervention programme is also focused on supporting other organisations in the replication of successful projects - benefitting communities across Africa.
Wilderness Foundation’s social intervention programme is currently focused on the following projects specifically targeting orphaned and vulnerable youth:
- Personal & Professional Vocational Skills Development (Umzi Wethu Training Academies & Umzi Wethu Livelihoods Programme)
- Income generating projects (The Umzi Wethu Catering Unit, Donkin Coffee Shop)
- SMME Development and Support
Advocacy & Awareness (11)
The Wilderness Foundation believes that government and business leaders have an inherent responsibility to act as responsible custodians of the environment through best practice. Sustained economic growth is seen as a necessary priority, but it will continue to put pressure on the Earth’s natural resources unless it is carefully managed and monitored.
The Wilderness Foundation develops environmental standards and information which is used to brief and motivate individuals, governments and society at large towards the higher ideal of conservation and its role in the 21st century.
The Advocacy and Awareness programme focuses on the following key areas:
- Publications (including Environment magazine and educational material);
- Participation in Conservation forums (World Wilderness Congress; Conservation NGO alliance; IUCN);
- Green Leaf Environmental Accreditation Standard;
- Campaigns, Protected Area and Environmental Compliance (Mapumgubwe mining threat and Okavango Delta World heritage listing);
- Actively advocate for the expansion and protection of protected areas.
Green Leaf (3)
The Wilderness Foundation recognises that sustained economic growth is a priority in South Africa; however, this growth continues to put pressure on the country’s natural resources. The Foundation believes that government and business leaders have an inherent responsibility to act as responsible custodians of the environment through best practice.
For over a decade, the Wilderness Foundation, together with strategic partners, has been developing environmental standards and information that can be used to brief and motivate individuals, governments and society at large towards the higher ideal of conservation. These standards are communicated through the various projects operating under the Wilderness Foundation’s Green Leaf Programme.