Wednesday, 29 October 2003

Visits from Belize and Bulgaria - and a visit to Patagonia

The next few weeks are going to be very busy at the World Land Trust. Our partners in Ecuador are negotiating yet more land purchases, and back here in the UK we are hosting Edilberto Romero, the Director of the Programme for Belize (PfB). PfB was the first project of the WLT, and paved the way for all our future activities. PfB is now a fully fledged NGO, with a staff of nearly 40, managing over 280,000 acres. Edilberto is over to meet with the staff and Trustees of the WLT, and also to visit other key organisations.

Overlapping with Edliberto Romero, the WLT is next week hoisting a delegation of senior park managers from Bulgaria. Funded by the USAID, the Bulgarians are visiting to study fundraising and the management of endowment funds for protected area, and they will gain valuable insights from their discussions with Edilberto Romero – PfB have been managing such funds and programmes for over 10 years now.

And as soon as that is over, I am going to Patagonia, for the first time in two years, for a Board meeting concerning the management of the Estancia La Esperanza. This project is desperately short of funds. – It costs less than $2000 a month to keep it going, but we also need about $100,000 to invest in the renovation of the buildings. Once renovated, the income derived from visitors staying there will help pay for the day top day running costs. Sponsors are urgently needed – it’s an ideal opportunity for businesses of almost any size. And even an individual could sponsor the running of the reserve for a month. And they can go and see for themselves how it is progressing. If you know of an individual or business that might consider helping please let me know.

Tuesday, 7 October 2003

Dependent on the Internet

Since September 15th the WLT has had major problems with its internet connections -- the main result has been that we have been unable to send emails. After three weeks of struggles (and our ISP is still failing us) we have become aware of how totally dependent on the internet we now are. So if anyone reading this has been trying to contact us by email -- or has had emails returned, please phone and let us know -- (44) 01986 874422.

As far was we know our incoming mail is getting through, and there are absolutely no breaches of the secure parts of the system. The big problem is that none of our outgoing emails seem to have been delivered. We have set up alternative systems, but do let us know if there are still any problems.

Thursday, 2 October 2003

Dumbing down nature conservation

Today I received my copy of English Nature's Magazine, and the front cover illustrated 'the magic of nature'. But what an inappropriate illustration. A beautiful bluebell wood with a group of gawmless looking kids dressed up as fairies. Pure Disney, and an insult to our imagination. If nature is truly magical, we do not need kids dressed up as fairies to tell us so.

English Nature is supposed to be the UK's premier scientific advisory body for wildlife -- but it appears that like so many other institutions, the marketting and PR departments have taken over, and are determined to dumb down to the lowest common denominator. Look through the magazine, and you will find 20 pictures of people, and only 9 pictures of wildlife and habitats unsullied by humans. I really do not need a picture of an unidentified person in a wheelchair in a meaningless location to illustrate whellchair access. Unfortunately this approach is becoming all too common. While it is useful to have human presence, it should not become all pervading. And certainly not fairies....