Princess Irene van Lippe-Biesterfeld has, for some time, been contemplating the long-term sustainability of Bergplaas Nature Reserve and the Spirit of the Wild Certificate Programme. To decide on the best way forward, she got together with her family and trusted advisors.
Following many meetings, this led to the establishment of the Bergplaas van Lippe-Biesterfeld Foundation, which has ANBI Status (Public Interest Organisation)in the Netherlands.
In honour of Irene's extraordinary legacy and request, the Foundation was formalised at the end of 2016. It has been carefully and thoughtfully createdto secure the long-term sustainability of Bergplaas and the Spirit of the Wild Programme, which is managed and facilitated by Cindy and Wayne Maspero, along with Vuyani Mbuzwa, Ian Read and Roy Ashton.
Hand in hand with the Spirit of the Wild Trust
The Foundation works hand in hand with the Spirit of the Wild Trust, which manages Bergplaas and the Spirit of the Wild Programme. Irene wanted to ensure that these two official governance structures extended the Bergplaas family beyond her individual capacity.
Irene will continue to play an active role in the programme, the Trust and the Foundation, and it is wonderful to have Irene's son, Jaime, on the Trust.
The SOTW Trust has four Trustees:
- Irene van Lippe-Biesterfeld
- Heather Dugmore
- Jaime de Bourbon de Parme
- Guillaume Taylor
The Bergplaas van Lippe-Biesterfeld Foundation has three Board members:
- Guillaume Taylor (Chair)
- Albert Jan Slomp (Treasurer)
- Jan Willem Nieuwenhuys (Secretary)
Reach out to likeminded organisations
The Foundation will communicate and report on the activities and achievements of the Trust, and to reach out to likeminded organisations globally to extend Bergplaas and the Spirit of the Wild Programme's legacy, sustainability and outreach.
Irene's book about her time on Bergplaas, published in 2016, has achieved a great deal in terms of raising awareness about Bergplaas and the Spirit of the Wild Programme,which she conceived, created and started on Bergplaas in 2006. It shares her unique insights and personal growth gained in this special part of South Africa.
Synopsis of Bergplaas and the Spirit of the Wild
Bergplaas and the Spirit of the Wild Programme make a positive difference to this world by connecting increasing numbers of people with the natural environment, and conserving the natural environment in a true partnership between human beings and nature.
The Foundation will support these activities and the future of Bergplaas as an environmental education and leadership centre in a number of ways:
- Giving the land back to itself: continuously working on restoring the landscape to its original, natural state and to be recognised for its conservation achievements and status;
- Offering all people, but especially nature conservation students and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in South Africa, the opportunity to experience Bergplaas Nature Reserve and its unique Spirit of the Wild Programme. This is a wildlife, intuitive guiding and leadership programme for groups of up to 18 participants. The wildlife and personal development skills that participants gain through the programme and experience on Bergplaas Nature Reserve, include:
- A deepening of their understanding of wildlife and wilderness;
- Growth in their awareness of being part of the natural environment;
- Advancement of their communication and wildlife guiding skills;
- An awakening of their self-belief and life purpose.
- Securing the management, leadership and sustainability of Bergplaas Nature Reserve and the Spirit of the Wild Programme. In 2007 Princess Irene appointed Cindy and Wayne Maspero to develop and manage Bergplaas, and to develop and facilitate the Spirit of the Wild Certificate Programme. In 2017 the programme celebrates its tenth year and the Masperos' commitment has greatly contributed to its growth and innovation, its environmental skills development focus and its formal partnerships with a range of recognised educational training institutions in the Eastern Cape, including Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, the South African College for Tourism and the Tracker Academy.
What distinguishes Bergplaas from other nature reserves?
- Sense of wilderness and vastness, no large predators, which allows individuals to spend time alone in nature;
- The Bergplaas team: committed, motivated, inspired to serve as a catalyst for all who visit to have a life-changing experience;
- The Bergplaas kitchen - wholesome, delicious vegetarian food;
- Comfortable accommodation with a distinctive Bergplaas-style conference centre, lounges and libraries;
- The natural environment, purpose and experience offered;
- Training of nature conservation students from the Tracker Academy and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in practical reserve management skills, together with the Spirit of the Wild Programme, which gives students a foundation for a career in nature conservation and/or field guiding;
- Bergplaas offers one-year internships for Nature Conservation students from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, the Tracker Academy, SA College for Tourism and other partner institutions;
- Healing of the land and all who visit.
For more information about the Bergplaas van Lippe-Biesterfeld Foundation, or if you would like to support the Foundation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com