The Ford Wildlife Foundation (FWF) supports the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) with a locally-built Ford RangerWESSA’s Green Coast Project takes top honours in Eco-Logic Awards Biodiversity categoryFord Wildlife Foundation is committed to preserving South Africa’s conservation heritage

The Ford Wildlife Foundation (FWF) has congratulated the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) for taking the top honours in the Biodiversity category at the recent Eco-Logic Awards.

The Eco-Logic Awards identify individuals, organisations and communities that positively contribute towards a sustainable world. The Eco-Logic Awards were established in 2011 and have since become an annual affair and a highlight on the eco-calendar. Each year, individuals and organisations are invited to submit their eco-logical products, services, projects or initiatives under 13 environmental categories to be evaluated  by a panel of highly respected and environmentally trained judges.

WESSA is a South African environmental organisation which aims to initiate and support high-impact environmental and conservation projects to promote participation regarding sustainable strategies for the future. For over 90 years they have proactively engaged with the challenges and opportunities presented by our country’s unique natural history and the social and economic systems that depend on it.

This year WESSA walked away with the Biodiversity Award sponsored by the Ford Wildlife Foundation.“We chose to support the Biodiversity Award in keeping with our Live the Ranger Life core values, ‘can’t help but help’. In this instance the nominated organisations support a variety of projects which focus on conserving threatened fauna and flora species across South Africa and Mozambique,” says Lynda du Plessis of the Ford Wildlife Foundation.

WESSA’s Green Coast project aims to provide a system for sustainable management of sensitive coastal spaces and, secondly, to engage local citizens to become involved in management of these unique sites.Working with the Department of Tourism, WESSA conceptualised and implemented the innovative public works learnership project, called Green Coast Stewards. Funding from the department allowed for the recruitment of 115 previously disadvantaged youth from the communities surrounding 21 focus sites located along the Wild Coast.

The participants are paid a monthly stipend to support them and their attendance of the NQF Level 2-accredited Tourism Guiding course, which WESSA facilitates. They are also given other non-accredited training in ecology, environmental education, professional development, first aid and health safety, as well as child safety in tourism.“We are extremely proud of this award and the impact of the Green Coast project,” said The Green Coast Project Manager, Kerry Mclean. “The South African coastline represents a unique part of our country’s diverse heritage. It is a space that should be accessible for all of our citizens and a space that we all should be immensely proud of. Green Coast aims to provide the platform for this by improving access, awareness and pride in sensitive coastal spaces around our country. The responsibility of managing these sites does not sit with local government alone, but with every citizen that inevitably relies on this resource.”

Ford Wildlife Foundation is particularly proud that WESSA Green Coast was the recipient of the award. The Ford Ranger used by the organization is supplied by the FWF, and it is the key enabler of the project team, being able to cover 300km of the Wild Coast shoreline, visiting the various habitat-monitoring sites.

“The FWF is proud to assist, support and celebrate those who protect South Africa’s rich biodiversity. We support 25 environmental and conservation organisations across Southern Africa with the ‘Built Ford Tough’ Ranger for a loan period of two years, helping them access the often remote and difficult-to-reach locations required for their important work,” Du Plessis said. “We continue to help those who make a positive contribution to this beautiful country, and WESSA is a fantastic example of an organisation that is committed to preserving South Africa’s conservation heritage.”

For over 30 years, Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) has actively been involved in the conservation of wildlife and ecosystems in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. The Ford Wildlife Foundation (FWF), which was established in 2014, continues FMCSA’s long-standing support of conservation projects in Southern Africa through the provision of ‘Built Ford Tough’ 4×4 Ranger Double Cabs to partner organisations. During the two-year loan period, the vehicles are monitored and serviced by Ford’s extensive dealer network to ensure optimum performance and efficiency.

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