As I sit down to reflect on the remarkable journey of Wilderlands to date, I am filled with a profound sense of gratitude and excitement. This extraordinary chapter in Wilderlands’ story, has been one rich with growth, challenges, and heartening achievements. 

In this letter, I hope to share with you not just the milestones and moments we’ve celebrated thus far, but also the deeper connections and inspirations that have truly defined us.

From the bustling corridors of international conferences to the serene landscapes of our first four projects, every moment has been a step forward in our shared mission to protect Australia’s biodiversity, forever.

2023 in particular has been a pivotal year, not only for Wilderlands but also for the global effort to preserve biodiversity, with many moments that give hope that the world is galvanising for action.

We’ve seen over 190 countries commit to protecting 30% of nature by 2030 and were fortunate to witness the endorsement of the Global Biodiversity Framework at COP15 in Montreal which we attended.

More recently we’ve witnessed the launch of the Taskforce on Nature Related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) which marked a crucial step in integrating nature-related considerations into business and financial decision-making and are already seeing businesses take steps towards becoming nature positive and are encouraging for Wilderlands to be part of these conversations early with these organisations.

And closer to home the passage of the pioneering Nature Repair Bill through the Australian Parliament in December has given us great hope that businesses will soon be able to actively participate in nature repair across Australia, we hope to play a key part in this when it launches.

These moments are so significant and what strikes me is that at the heart of every one of these glimpses of progress are people working tirelessly to make them happen. Similarly for Wilderlands it’s the people and partnerships that are at the heart of every success and are what I’m most grateful for.

Over the past 18 months we’ve seen the power of burgeoning relationships and deepening commitments we’ve fostered with our key supporters and implementing partners. 

A particularly poignant example was hearing firsthand the inspiration behind philanthropist Sally Shaw’s significant commitment to the people and biodiversity of the Coorong Lakes. Her dedication, made in honour of her late father John Rymer, a passionate farmer and conservationist, was deeply moving.

Working alongside elders Clyde and Rose Rigney and the Raukkan community has been an immense privilege, too. Their collaboration has been crucial in ensuring that the Coorong project sensitively enhances environmental, cultural, and social benefits.

The progress and impact of Wilderlands are intrinsically linked to the depth and breadth of our stakeholder relationships. This is further exemplified by our activated partnerships with Al.iveBody, Adelaide Festival, and A Rocha Australia, bringing us to the brink of collectively protecting our first 100,000 square metres of vulnerable habitat.

Our strides this year have been bolstered by our successful application to the University of Melbourne’s Accelerator Program (MAP), providing us with resources and an environment conducive to advancing our mission. 

Our initiatives have also placed us in the spotlight as a finalist in the KPMG Nature Positive Challenge, with our efforts gaining recognition in esteemed international publications like the Wall Street Journal, the Impact Economist, and the World Economic Forum.

Central to Wilderlands’ mission is our steadfast commitment to protecting vulnerable Australian habitat and species, like the Metallic Sun Orchid and the Superb Parrot. Over the past year our Lead Ecologist, Deanna Marshall, alongside a team of dedicated volunteers, was instrumental in gathering essential monitoring data. This data is not just critical for our conservation strategies but also enriches this digital publication with detailed project reports from Alleena, Budgerum, Crowes Lookout, and Coorong Lakes.

The synergistic efforts of our team and partners have made 2023 a year of significant impact, forward momentum, and renewed promise.

We extend our deepest gratitude to Cassinia Environmental, our remarkable implementing partner. Together with the Traditional Owners, the Ngarrindjeri, and the covenanting bodies of Trust for Nature and the Native Vegetation Council, Wilderlands upholds its commitment to the permanent protection and active management of our invaluable ecosystems.

As we reflect on reaching this milestone, Wilderlands is strategically shifting its focus to meet the growing demand from corporate clients, responding to increasing expectations for sustainable, nature-positive practices and objectives.

In this new era, where sustainability is imperative, Wilderlands stands ready to guide companies towards their nature-positive goals. Together, we can navigate towards a more sustainable and biodiverse future.

Your unwavering support and faith in our mission has been vital to our journey. As people passionate about protecting the planet, we look forward to continuing this extraordinary journey with you, striving to make each year more impactful than the last.

Kind regards, 

Ash Knop