Ambassadors2018-12-10T15:00:16+00:00

Christina Ballard

Christina is a dance teacher and Examiner for the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing and over the last forty years has been involved in several Dance Committees, taught and lectured overseas, and helped to choreograph and produce many dance syllabi.
Christina first became involved in the Wilderness Foundation following the untimely death of her son Rees in April 2016. He was a gifted mentor on the TurnAround Project , and was able to help many vulnerable and disadvantaged young people.

Following a meeting with Jo Roberts, she was delighted to be asked to become an Ambassador and to be told that an award in Rees’s memory, The Rees Ballard Memorial Award , was to be set up and presented to a worthy candidate at every Graduation of the TurnAround Project.

Since April 2016, Christina’s dance colleagues, friends and family have helped to raise over £7000 to continue the wonderful work of the TurnAround Project. This scheme enables young people who are struggling to cope with their lives, to connect with nature, to have one to one mentoring, to take part in two weekly camping trails, and learn to work as a team. It has a hugely positive effect, and enables them to gain confidence and achieve their goals.

Christina is totally committed to the Wilderness Foundation and by ‘spreading the word’ and fund raising, she will continue to work on their behalf, giving many more young people the chance to benefit from this inspirational and life enhancing organisation.

 

Samantha Gare

Sam’s love of the outdoors comes from her own experiences of the wild and spends a lot of her time visiting some truly breath-taking remote places, such as Svalbard, South America, and the Galapagos Islands. However, of all the places she has been she has a deep sense of home in Scotland and the vast and open Scottish wilds. As a keen outdoors woman, she finds that the stresses of everyday live melt away as she steps into nature. Sam has focused her passion for conserving wild spaces through her artistic practice, and for the last 3 years has been a successful wilderness artist, represented by multiple galleries, and has had two solo shows in London. Her core mission is to communicate the positive effects of the wilderness and explore our relationship with natural spaces around us.

Not surprising she is also a keen environmentalist and surrounds herself with scientists and keen lovers of the outdoors and uses her artistic practice to not only share the positive effects of the wild but to inspire people to actively conserve the wilderness that is slowly disappearing from our planet. She has recently left a successful career in events, art and cultures to become a full-time artist, having worked at the Natural History Museum, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Royal Horticultural Society and most recent as a Fair Director for the Affordable Art Fair.

As an Ambassador for the Foundation Sam is excited to use her creativity to connect people to nature through imagery and art, helping to communicate the benefits of stepping outside, especially in the face of the technologies that are pulling us in the opposite direction.

 

Wouter Schuitemaker

Wouter is an economic development and marketing consultant with over 25 years’ experience working with Government agencies and Fortune & FTSE 500 clients globally. The early part of Wouter’s career was spent in Asia Pacific where he held management roles at Japan’s largest market research company as well as the Japan offices of global brand consultancies Interbrand and Superunion, working with companies including P&G, Gillette, Nissan and Sony.

Upon his return to the UK, Wouter headed Asia Pacific operations at the Mayor of London’s investment agency, managing overseas offices in Japan, China, India, Korea and Australia. He subsequently took on the role of Executive Director and member of the board at the West Midlands Growth Company, the region’s economic development agency, where he established and led the highly regarded investment promotion agency.

In his time at both the London and West Midlands agencies his focus was on creating employment opportunities and prosperity for disadvantaged communities and he was responsible for a number of high profile investment successes, including the establishment of HSBC’s retail banking headquarters in Birmingham. It was in the West Midlands that Wouter also managed the UK’s largest multi-million-pound European Regional Development Fund project.

In 2017 Wouter was delighted to discover that the unique work of the Wilderness Foundation covered a number of areas close to his heart including mental health and child welfare. Having spent a magical year trekking across Africa as an 18-year old, the Foundation’s original links with the continent also resonated strongly.  A firm believer in the restorative power of nature and himself a keen hiker and climber, Wouter was excited to be asked to join the Wilderness Foundation as an Ambassador.