WildFF Completed Projects
Since 2013, WildFF has worked to protect and restore globally important forests and wildlife habitats for current and future generations. We believe that transformative change needs to happen at a local level and requires a move towards a culture of sustainability—that is, one of consciousness of human impact on other people, natural resources, and the future.
Our strategy has been to work directly with community leaders and place-based organizations that share our mission. This approach has been actualized in several successful projects.
Native Seeds Project
From 2015 to 2021, WildFF worked to conserve and restore the forests of northern Uganda through the Native Seeds Project, a collaboration with the Wise Women Uganda (Mon Ma Ryek), a community-based organization of women healers in Gulu, Uganda.
The traditional women healers’ knowledge served as a catalyst for our local forest conservation and restoration project. The goal was to help the indigenous communities recover their culture and livelihoods after decades of civil war and widespread forest loss. We aimed to bring back native tree cover, which would enable the northern Ugandan communities to be more resilient in the face of climate change.
The Native Seeds Program Gulu empowered local women to play a central role in building a movement of sustainable farmers. WildFF funded literacy classes that helped the Wise Women to have a greater say in their community’s decision-making processes and in training sessions with the farmers. The women of the community also contributed to a WildFF-supported VSLA, a community savings program, which enabled them to save together and take microloans as needed.
During this exclusively grassroots-oriented project, WildFF and the Wise Women planted more than 130,000 native trees of 20 local varieties. We also provided the local community with the tools and expertise they need to implement landscape-scale restoration, including working with more than 130 farmers to plant trees on their land and conducting numerous climate resilience workshops in each of the 10 communities.
The Native Seeds Project is now a well-established program with paid staff, a seven-acre nursery and agroforest demonstration site, two native tree nurseries, and multiple year-round programs that bring education, income-generating activities, and tree planting activities that have reached 30 villages in Gulu District.
Future Leaders Program
Madre de Dios, Peru
In 2018, WildFF completed its fifth and final Future Leaders summit in the Madre de Dios region of Peru. Our Future Leaders Program was application-based and aimed at establishing and inspiring youth leaders between the ages of 18 and 30 with the objective of developing their entrepreneurial capacity.
Our goal was to bring local leaders together in the Amazon rainforest, provide them with environmental training, and help grow their personal and professional networks. This was our way of giving them the tools they needed to support the sustainable development of the Madre de Dios region where they lived.
The Future Leaders program was based on the recognition that many threatened biological and cultural hotspots could be better protected if the economic needs of local people were addressed. The program in Madre de Dios enabled WildFF to catalyze change through empowering and building a network of youth leaders who were eager to improve their communities and protect their forested landscapes but lacked the necessary resources and connections.
By the end of the Future Leaders Program (“Innova Madre de Dios” in Spanish), WildFF and its educational collaborators conducted over 200 hours of experiential learning and more than 50 Peruvian leaders had attended the Innova Summits in the Amazon rainforest of Madre de Dios. These “Innovadores,” 72% of who are female, continue to build their networks with 50% of them working in the sustainability and natural resource management sector, including, many who have started their own sustainable businesses.
Big Tree Project
Throughout the world, big trees are not only of disproportionate value, they are also at disproportionate risk in the ecosystems they inhabit due to climate change and being targeted by logging. From 2012 to 2016, WildFF’s Big Tree Project explored active solutions to the pressures facing big trees in Uganda, Peru, and the US through tree monitoring, reforestation, and social media.
Using traditional field research techniques and unmanned aerial vehicles (aka, drones), we implemented tree monitoring to map the number of big trees and local forest conditions to develop areas of local conservation priority and support existing conservation policies.
These efforts were mostly focused on the intact forests of the Las Piedras River in Madre de Dios, Peru, with the goal of mapping existing big trees and identifying priority conservation areas. Alongside this drone-based mapping, we also launched a pilot project in the Las Piedras to restore important native big trees, such as coaba and cedar, which resulted in establishing and funding a big tree nursery at the Las Piedras Amazon Center (LPAC).
In addition, we used our social media accounts, including Facebook, to actively engage viewers through weekly posts and campaigns to bring awareness about the importance and threats facing big trees.
In 2015, WildFF celebrated protecting 11,000 acres of rainforest in the Las Piedras (LPAC) with a party in San Francisco: “Jam in the Jungle.” The Big Tree Project was also featured in THE MAGAZINE, “A Lorax That Flies: Conservationists use new drones to protect old trees.”
The Big Tree Project also helped to catalyze WildFF’s long-standing partnership with Peruvian nonprofit, ARCAmazon, to establish a conservation and sustainable development corridor on the Las Piedras River, the last wild and unprotected river left in Madre de Dios, Peru.