By Donna Mazzitelli

The WILD Foundation was created by a white game-ranger and his Zulu mentor and colleague of forty years. Dr. Ian Player and Magqubu Ntombela knew that taking people into wild-nature to experience wild-ness is the best way to connect people to each other and to foster a relationship between people and nature. During the early years, The WILD Foundation focused its efforts on wilderness experiences. They continue this work through several programs within The Wilderness Network and have broadened their reach to include many other avenues that enhance the human-nature relationship. One of their core projects is the WILD Cities project.

As stated on WILD’s website, “The WILD Cities project catalyzes a collaborative of ‘champions’ regenerating wild nature in urban areas to improve quality of life for all.” It’s become clear that as the world’s human population continues to grow, we are becoming increasingly urban. Throughout the world, our connections to wild nature are eroding. In order to foster those connections, we must restore them where the majority of people live – in our urban communities.

It is estimated that by 2040, 80 percent of the global population will live in cities and many of those cities have yet to be created. Wild landscapes and large concentrations of wildlife exist in or near developed and developing urban areas. The WILD Cities project sees the need to create enduring connections between people and nature by restoring them where the majority of people live. The project aims to ensure that wild nature’s essential ecological benefits and recreational opportunities are available to all: improving health, happiness and prosperity.

Although there are many “champions” of nature in urban areas, they often act in isolation and with limited resources and capacity. The WILD Cities project creates connections between “champions” to maximize collective efforts and share valuable tools and models.

Champions can be:

  • Environmental nonprofits
  • Municipal governments and planners
  • Social and Economic nonprofits
  • Cultural nonprofits
  • Community development corporations
  • Businesses
  • Individuals
  • City associations/coalitions
  • Civic group leaders
  • Neighborhood/block groups
  • Parks, recreation, amateur and professional sports organizations
  • Protected area authorities
  • Development/economic think tanks
  • Schools and universities
  • County governments
  • Religious Institutions
  • Architects and engineers

The project’s holistic approach integrates ecological, economic, social and cultural concerns while focusing specifically on wild nature as the foundation upon which all else is sustained. The WILD Cities Project mobilizes Champions around the world to advance on-the-ground work and create more support for effective policies to protect, restore and regenerate wild nature in urban areas.

The dream of the WILD Cities project is described as follows: “We imagine a planet of interdependent WILD Cities integrated with the larger web of nature that supports all life. These cities flourish with green, with trees, parks and trails where people play, exercise, gather and move along with wildlife. The WILD Cities project connects people to each other in support of wild nature to:

  • Build widespread support for the protection, restoration and regeneration of urban wild nature
  • Increase ecological connectivity throughout urban areas and between cities in an ecoregion
  • Ensure access to nature and recreational opportunities for all
  • Design nature-based solutions to improve ecological, economic, social, cultural and spiritual conditions
  • Share replicable urban nature models, policies, resources and opportunities
  • Catalyze and coordinate partnerships to complete nature restoration and regeneration projects
  • Preserve and enhance health, social well-being, community bonds and neighborhood characteristics
  • Create and preserve natural boundaries and habitat corridors for wildlife migration
  • Increase economic opportunities tied to natural assets – tourism, events/conventions, business, livability
  • Increase the amount and diversity of native flora and fauna.”

The WILD Cities project supports and furthers another movement, Nature Needs Half™, encouraging urban dwellers to develop a reciprocal, balanced relationship between people and nature, ensuring that wild lands, waterways and seascapes are protected and interconnected in and around a city.

To learn more, please visit

The WILD Foundation was created by a white game-ranger and his Zulu mentor and colleague of forty years. Dr. Ian Player and Magqubu Ntombela knew that taking people into wild-nature to experience wild-ness is the best way to connect people to each other and to foster a relationship between people and nature. During the early years, The WILD Foundation focused its efforts on wilderness experiences. They continue this work through several programs within The Wilderness Network and have broadened their reach to include many other avenues that enhance the human-nature relationship. One of their core projects is the WILD Cities project.

As stated on WILD’s website, “The WILD Cities project catalyzes a collaborative of ‘champions’ regenerating wild nature in urban areas to improve quality of life for all.” It’s become clear that as the world’s human population continues to grow, we are becoming increasingly urban. Throughout the world, our connections to wild nature are eroding. In order to foster those connections, we must restore them where the majority of people live – in our urban communities.

It is estimated that by 2040, 80 percent of the global population will live in cities and many of those cities have yet to be created. Wild landscapes and large concentrations of wildlife exist in or near developed and developing urban areas. The WILD Cities project sees the need to create enduring connections between people and nature by restoring them where the majority of people live. The project aims to ensure that wild nature’s essential ecological benefits and recreational opportunities are available to all: improving health, happiness and prosperity.

Although there are many “champions” of nature in urban areas, they often act in isolation and with limited resources and capacity. The WILD Cities project creates connections between “champions” to maximize collective efforts and share valuable tools and models.

Champions can be:

  • Environmental nonprofits
  • Municipal governments and planners
  • Social and Economic nonprofits
  • Cultural nonprofits
  • Community development corporations
  • Businesses
  • Individuals
  • City associations/coalitions
  • Civic group leaders
  • Neighborhood/block groups
  • Parks, recreation, amateur and professional sports organizations
  • Protected area authorities
  • Development/economic think tanks
  • Schools and universities
  • County governments
  • Religious Institutions
  • Architects and engineers

The project’s holistic approach integrates ecological, economic, social and cultural concerns while focusing specifically on wild nature as the foundation upon which all else is sustained. The WILD Cities Project mobilizes Champions around the world to advance on-the-ground work and create more support for effective policies to protect, restore and regenerate wild nature in urban areas.

The dream of the WILD Cities project is described as follows: “We imagine a planet of interdependent WILD Cities integrated with the larger web of nature that supports all life. These cities flourish with green, with trees, parks and trails where people play, exercise, gather and move along with wildlife. The WILD Cities project connects people to each other in support of wild nature to:

  • Build widespread support for the protection, restoration and regeneration of urban wild nature
  • Increase ecological connectivity throughout urban areas and between cities in an ecoregion
  • Ensure access to nature and recreational opportunities for all
  • Design nature-based solutions to improve ecological, economic, social, cultural and spiritual conditions
  • Share replicable urban nature models, policies, resources and opportunities
  • Catalyze and coordinate partnerships to complete nature restoration and regeneration projects
  • Preserve and enhance health, social well-being, community bonds and neighborhood characteristics
  • Create and preserve natural boundaries and habitat corridors for wildlife migration
  • Increase economic opportunities tied to natural assets – tourism, events/conventions, business, livability
  • Increase the amount and diversity of native flora and fauna.”

The WILD Cities project supports and furthers another movement, Nature Needs Half™, encouraging urban dwellers to develop a reciprocal, balanced relationship between people and nature, ensuring that wild lands, waterways and seascapes are protected and interconnected in and around a city.

To learn more, please visit www.wild.org.

Donna Mazzitelli was a contributing author to Speaking Your Truth, Vols. I and II, and editor of Vol. III. As The Word Heartiste, Donna helps others connect to their stories and craft them with heart. She started Merry Dissonance Press in mid-2013 to assist writers in publishing works of transformation, inspiration, exploration, and illumination. Learn more at www.writingwithdonna.com and www.merrydissonancepress.com.

 

 

Sandra

Sandra G. Malhotra is the Owner, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Regenerate Magazine. She is just a little bit passionate about health and wellness being our birthright.