“I am the coordinator of the Future For Nature Award event which I truly enjoy. Future For Nature is a great initiative for giving young professionals a positive stimulus for their good work. We need people who believe in what they are doing and see opportunities rather than threats.
When I think of the most beautiful place on earth, I see myself travelling by bike, my favourite way to discover a country. I have to feel the wind in my face, the sweat running down my back, the pain of riding up a mountain – and the joy freewheeling down again. Although I love several places where I have travelled by car, most of all I remember the thousands and thousands of kilometres I cycled in Spain. If I have to pick one place, it is cycling in the National Park of Grazalema in Andalusia. Apart from that, I always feel happy on Vlieland (Netherlands): walking, cycling, smelling the fresh sea air and listening to the birds, who seem to be singing for just me”.
I’m Ike Span, and I’m a biologist with the drive to empower people by education and to inform them about nature, conservation and environmental issues so we can make our world a better place together, step by step.
I worked as a volunteer on the FFN Kidsweek publications. In 2015 and 2016, we wrote several articles and about the Future For Nature winners for this weekly newspaper for children. I’m sure that their stories have inspired many young readers – the next generation conservationists.
The year of 2018, I have taken on the role as coordinator and I’m mainly involved with the organisation of this year’s activities of the Award Event itself.
Onnika van Oosterbosch
I’m Onnika van Oosterbosch and together with Ike Span I am the coordinator [interim] of Future For Nature.
I spent many years living abroad and I have spent lots of time outside and caring for animals around me. It was one of Dr. Jane Goodall’s books that sparked my fascination for animal behaviour and inspired me to focus on nature conservation and improving animal welfare. I studied Animal Sciences at Wageningen University & Research, and have worked and volunteered for a variety of nature and animal oriented organisations.
Every year that I attended the FFN Awards I had tears in my eyes and felt inspired to do more. As soon as the Future For Nature Academy started forming, I joined this young movement. I had the honour of organising the first Future For Nature Academy Day with almost all 30 FFN laureates in Wageningen in 2017. I believe that much of conservation involves education and inspiration, which is exactly what FFN shares.
I’m Linda Bloch. For over 20 years, I have watched documentaries about nature made by the BBC, and they increased my appreciation of nature, animals and plants tremendously. This made me realize I wanted one dream to become true: to visit Zimbabwe once in my life! I found a non-governmental game park, where I could contribute to protecting elephants and other animals. The Jane Goodall Institute Netherlands (JGI NL), supported me in discovering this game park. That is why I wanted to be a volunteer for JGI NL at Burgers’ Zoo. In my second year at JGI NL, I attended the Future For Nature Awards event: that was the moment I was lost. It gives me huge fulfilment to be a small part of this great foundation! It’s my task to assist our coordinator whereever I can.
Gaëlla van Walraven
I’m Gaëlla van Walraven and I’m a volunteer for this beautiful organisation. I’m responsible for the facebook account of Future For Nature. Ever since I was little, I have been crazy about animals and I have always wanted to care for them. I’m currently studying at Utrecht University to become a veterinarian.
My passion for wildlife was fuelled when I first visited the Future For Nature event and met Saba Douglas Hamilton, chairwoman of the organisation. To hear her speak ignited a fire in me that filled me with inspiration and made me realise that we can make the change. And that’s what I want to achieve, by becoming a wildlife veterinarian. Future For Nature is important to me because it helps young conservationists in their struggle to protect what is most valuable: our planet. What is more beautiful than looking at the sun going down on the savannah and seeing the elephants slowly fading into the darkness? Is that not an image worth fighting for?
I’m Hilmar Derksen, I study Biology at Wageningen UR and I am absolutely fascinated by animals -and nature in general-. I have always looked up to people like David Attenborough, Jane Goodall, Steve Irwin and Freek Vonk and admired their work in spreading passion for nature & conservation. Since my first visit to the Future For Nature Event in 2014, I’ve had an urge to be part of the next generation of nature conservationists. Since I’m still studying and bound to my books, I figured that I could start by doing what I like best, making video’s on youtube and passionately talking about nature’s wonders –BioVlogWild-, thus following in the footsteps of Freek Vonk and Steve Irwin. This caught the eye of FFN and now it is my job to keep the website up to date. I am truly honoured to be part of this team and support the people that put in tremendous effort in preserving what is of so much importance to us, wildlife.
Sylvie Anne der Kinderen
I’m Sylvie Anne der Kinderen and I am responsible for Future For Nature’s twitter account. I have been obsessed with animals and nature ever since I was a kid; watching documentaries, reading books with as many facts as possible, I once started working on my own encyclopaedia… This combined with my inner desire to help out wherever I can led to a clear perspective of my future; I wanted to become a veterinarian and find a way to help change this world for the better. Last year I have obtained my bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine and I am currently working towards my master’s degree at Utrecht University. My inspiration for joining this beautiful organisation was dr. Jane Goodall. When I attended one of her lectures a few years ago, she mentioned the work that the Future for Nature foundation does and from that moment on I was sold. It is the positivity that she and all those other conservationists express that makes me believe we can create a brighter future, as long as we all work together!
Sofie te wierik
I’m Sofie te Wierik. I studied Future Planet Studies at the University of Amsterdam and International Land and Water Management at Wageningen University. I am concerned about the future of our planet and all the challenges that we – as a society – face. In particular the relationship that humans have with nature appears challenging, as it has shown detrimental in too many places around the world. Yet I believe there is hope, as long as we are willing to change. Hence the aim of Future for Nature appeals to me so much – it inspires and empowers young people to take matter into their own hands and change the world around us to make it a better place – for people and the planet.
I’m Monique Beute and have been a volunteer with Future For Nature since 2016. My professional life and work revolves around a project helping ex-criminals in job and house hunting to find their way back into society.
As the mother of a 16-year-old daughter, the following message from the film Down to Earth means a great deal to me: ‘We didn’t inherit the Earth from our parents; we borrow it from our children.’ That’s why I’m a volunteer for Future For Nature. The people of the globe need young inspiring conservationists, taking over the banner from great exemplars like David Attenborough and Jane Goodall. Future For Nature is creating a community of creative, young conservationists who care about wild and beautiful animals. An unspoiled, tranquil environment means the world to me. Through Future for Nature, I can do my bit.
Hilde de Laat
My name is Hilde de Laat and I work as an editor for a weekly science and technology newspaper in the Netherlands called Technisch Weekblad. I studied biology at Wageningen University, and not surprisingly: I love nature! As a team of volunteers, we support the co-ordinator in organising the annual Future For Nature Award event.
Together with friends and fellow students, we created a student platform called Future For Nature Academy, aiming to unite young and enthused nature conservationists (students and PhD students in the Netherlands) to share their knowledge and expand their network to address current and future challenges in nature conservation. We organise discussions, documentary evenings, photo competitions and lectures with major players in nature conservation.