Jo has been a Director and Chief Executive of the Wilderness Foundation since 2004, but has been involved as Projects Director and Project Coordinator since 1998.
South African by birth, Jo has enjoyed a rich life of wild places in many parts of Africa as she grew up. She trained and worked as a Social Anthropologist during the time of Apartheid, working mainly with rural communities. Understanding and measuring the effects of value on wellbeing and encouraging people to respect and understand the value of wilderness and nature lies at the heart of her passion in her work.
Jo focuses on the effects of wilderness on developing sound youth leadership built on environmental awareness and ethics, and developing positive wellbeing and mental health in young people who are vulnerable or at risk.
Using the extensive wilderness network and her close link to South Africa and programmes running there, she merges best practice from around the world into creative programmes that suit British climate and culture.
Over the past 20 years, Jo has established a wide range of programmes within the Foundation to meet these needs of nature connections, individuals and society as a whole. These include Wild Swans women’s leadership, Sirius Environmental Leadership Programme, TurnAround Programme, Out There Programme and the Chatham Green Education Programme. Jo has been a passionate advocate for the Imbewu Programme in South Africa, and in 2014 launched a Scottish programme to mirror this. Jo also leads the South Africa wilderness trails out reach – keeping her love of the wild intact and sharing this with others.
Jo is a Master NLP Practitioner and Advanced Psychotherapeutic Counsellor. She uses her skills in behaviour change facilitation and motivation across the board, with a particular focus on the outdoors.
Jenna has a BSc (Hons) Marine & Environmental Biology from the University of St Andrews in Scotland and has been working in environmental education for over eight years. Jenna started her career as marine biologist and wildlife guide in South Africa before moving to Ireland and working with migrant and refugee young people and families. She returned to her environmental roots by becoming an Environmental Education Officer with ECO-UNESCO in Dublin. Jenna moved to the Wilderness Foundation in 2016 and leads the educational delivery of the Chatham Green Project. She recently trained as a Forest School Educator and has introduced Forest School sessions on site, alongside very popular nature based holiday clubs for primary school children.
Jenna is deputy Safeguarding Officer and supports the management team on issues across our range of programmes.
Terri completed her BSC Conservation and Environment Degree at Writtle University College, Chelmsford. After completing 2 years at college studying BTEC level 3 extended diploma in equine management, Terri began working in Riverside Vets, Benfleet. She has also been involved in surveying work with the Southend Dormouse group since 2014, and holds a Class 1 Dormouse handling licence. Terri has also been involved with bat and reptile surveys in Essex, and has a semi wild Lundy pony from Lundy Island in Devon. Terri has a love for nature and animals and works to inspire young people to appreciate nature and love the only planet we can call home.
Angely has a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration from the University of Western Sydney. Before moving from Hong Kong to UK with the family in July 2014, Angely has been Human Resources and Administration Manager for over 15 years and has worked in different multinational companies such as DHL, Nestle, OOCL and Merrill Lynch. Angely joined the Wilderness Foundation in 2017 and manages volunteers, HR, and heads up the Foundation’s Administration functions. Angely is grateful to be part of the Foundation family which helps young people to overcome their difficulties in lives.
Jonathan has been a key member of our team since January 2009. Initially brought on to project manage impACT – our environmental youth action group based in Chelmsford, Essex, Jonathan now manages and grows our Down To Earth programme as part of the Chatham Green Local Food Programme. This is based on six allotments on the Melbourne Estate in Chelmsford where Jon manages a range of volunteers who come to us with mental, physical and emotional issues . Jonathan is a keen naturalist and is passionate about wildlife and the environment. He comes to us with a many skills, including those of wildlife photographer and film maker, which gives enormous strength to our work in providing visual documentation of our achievements. Jonathan also has experience as a lecturer working in Chelmsford and is an active volunteer helping in the local community. Jonathan combines his Foundation role with running his own successful business.
Helen joined the Wilderness Foundation in 2010, has been involved in the delivery of several of the Foundation’s projects. Currently Helen is leading Out There, a nature and outdoors based project for 13-15 year olds, and is a lead facilitator on the Foundation’s adult programmes. Helen is an experienced bushcraft instructor and group facilitator and enjoys working with the wide range of groups that visit the Wilderness Foundation. Helen’s other responsibilities at the Foundation include training the mentors and volunteers who give their time and energy to the Foundation.
Helen is an experienced consultant and project manager working For the Wilderness Foundation on a freelance basis since 2016 managing our Scottish Programme – Imbewu. Working with a wide range of Schools, Estates and and other key Partners Imbewu enables young people in Scotland to access and learn about rural jobs, connect with nature and develop their employability skills. When Helen isn’t busy working on Imbewu you will probably find her up a mountain or overseas somewhere.
Rebecca has a Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy from the University of Edinburgh. Rebecca’s love for the outdoors has been a constant since a young age which inspired her to combine her passion for the environment with her professional calling as a counsellor. Starting as a volunteer on the Wilderness Foundations’ IMBEWU programme in 2016, she fell in love with the concept of fostering disadvantaged Scottish youths’ interest in nature.
As Wilderness Therapist for the Foundation she works in various locations throughout Scotland providing therapy outdoors using mindfulness based exercises, creativity and nature itself to help individuals to increase self-awareness and to find tools to feel more able to cope with the difficulties of life.
In her spare time Rebecca enjoys walking through woods, van life and burying herself in a good book.