The Wilderness Foundation UK has announced it has been listed as one of seven charities selected by Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle to receive donations in place of gifts to celebrate their wedding.
The couple have chosen to re-direct the generosity of the public towards causes which the couple have been particularly interested in over their lives to date.
Jo Roberts, CEO of the Wilderness Foundation, said: “We are deeply touched and honoured that Prince Harry and Ms Markle have chosen to support The Wilderness Foundation and its beneficiaries. As the world’s population grows exponentially the planet’s remaining wild places and resources are coming under increasing threat.
“It has never been more important for us as humans to protect the planet that gives us life. Whilst teaching conservation values, we, in turn, use the positive power of nature to support and recharge the lives of challenged and vulnerable young people and adults.”
Prince Harry visited The Wilderness Foundation in September last year. He was interested in the main projects run in Scotland and the South East. He met and engaged with primary students engaged in environmental education, mindfulness, and connection to nature workshops, all based in an outdoor living classroom.
He also spent time around a campfire talking with a range of 15-21-year-old graduates from the TurnAround and Out There Academy programmes. All the young people had come from painful and complex backgrounds, most having experienced some form of grief, being in care, and or mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
Roberts added: “The royal visit from Prince Harry left everyone feeling very seen, heard and understood. His ease and natural warmth touched us all. He is also very knowledgeable on conservation issues and the impact of disconnection from the natural world. On meeting our teenagers from TurnAround, he was deeply compassionate of all of their stories and very quickly built rapport with the group.
“They had all been through wilderness therapy programmes and personal development workshops and had graduated with positive changes to their mental wellbeing, employability or action in further education.”
The donations will be used to grow the numbers of young people whose lives are changed through its programmes and to expand its environmental education.