WOW Wilderness EcoProjects

WOW Wilderness continues to set a new level in nature based tourism having developed and implementing their ecotourism model that aims to actively contribute to the enhancement of WA’s natural and cultural heritage including contributing to the well-being of the local and indigenous communities in its planning, development and operation.   

The model incorporates a number of EcoProjects that allows the WOW Team to invest much of its time, funds and energy back into the environment, community and globe to achieve its objectives. These projects are divided into three core areas using ECO as a symbolic acronym:

E – Environmental Projects enhancing Australian biodiversity values 
C – Local Projects enhancing social values of the Walpole community 
O – Global Projects with an environmental and cultural perspective
Below is a summary of some of WOW's current EcoProjects:


WOW Wilderness has joined the Project Dieback Team, a Natural Resource Management initiative raising awareness and protecting WA's most valued natural areas from the biggest killer to biodiversity in SW Australia – the introduced soil borne pathogenic predator - Phytophthora Dieback. 

WOW has helped develop a State Communications Strategy, designed a number of communication tools and facilitated the creation of a State Standard Dieback Signage System. The WOW team has just launched its Scrub ‘N Spray Dieback Boot Cleaning Station  (Phyto Fighter 1000) .  The team is now designing a portable wash down facility for vehicles.
See . 


For the past decade, the WOW Wilderness team have coordinated UR Walpole, an award-winning curriculum based education programme unifying community, teachers and students in EcoEducation. This year’s 2013 theme is “The Cake”, studying the environmental impact, social history and future footprint of the WOW Wilderness Tingle Cake.  This included “Cake Camp” visiting the wheatbelt, Collie Coal mine, Banister’s Dairy and fauna research at Dryandra.

The programme, in which students as community citizens foster a culture of stewardship for the local region, was integral in Walpole becoming the most Sustainable Community in WA in 2008 and helped Walpole win the national award for Protection of the Environment. UR Walpole involves the community taking active roles in the education of students, integrating the core learning areas of Science, Technology and Enterprise, Society and Environment and the Arts. 

UR WALPOLE comes from the focus words Nature, Culture and Future – linking the students with the natural environment, cultural heritage and future of the community. The programme comprises a series of sequential activities with the community providing students with the opportunity to explore the core learning areas through real life experiences. 

Previous themes included “100 Years”  (Centenary of the Walpole Nornalup National Park) “Waterways of Walpole” (Year designating the Walpole Nornalup and Inlets Marine Park) , “Bugs ‘N Us” (involving the school and community in  invertebrate research and fire management) and “Our Place in Space”.  theme was “Invaders” – understanding and exploring the invasive species of Australia. The theme “Going Wild” in 2008-09 was hugely successful learning how to utilise regional resources in our lives. Students designed a Future Farm and School by sustainably using our natural resources, including solar, wind, water and native bush products. UR Walpole has now become a future model for other communities. 

In addition to the local school, WOW regularly supports many of school groups who utilise the Walpole Wilderness in outdoor education.    The WOW team provides exclusive interpretive experiences and talks helping raise an awareness, understanding and appreciation for students and leaders. WOW is currently working with outdoor groups and schools including in the past few months Joondalup Baptist College, Carey College, Scotch College, Lance Holt School, Presbyterian Ladies' College, Outward Bound, St Thomas Moore Primary School,  North Albany SHS Soceity & Environment students, Trinity College,  Perth Waldof School, Belmont City College and presenting to Christ Church Grammar Venture Boys in Perth who annually send all around 200 year 10 students into the wild of walpole for 10 days.

WOW Wilderness assisted WOW Team member and Dutch Mechanical Engineer Steven de Geus from Hogeschool van Amsterdam who spent eight months in Nicaragua providing technical advice for the modernisation of the cooling system for their Hydroelectric plant in Nicaragua.  WOW worked with Steven over his period in the city of Janotega advising and helping produce his Technical Advice Report.  Steven’s work is now helping Hydroelectric Power Plant “Centro America” to continue providing efficient renewable energy for the future generations of the Nicaraguan people.  Nicaragua is recognised as the one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere and often attracts international assistance.  Gary Muir from Walpole joined Steven with the reports and spent six weeks in the country.  WOW also sponsored the shirts for the Janotega baseball team!   


The WOW Wilderness team is continuing to  undertake an exciting Russian research project delving into the life of Walpole’s Fabian Philosopher Frank Skinner Thompson and his associations with the world’s greatest novelist Leo Tolstoy.   Two years ago marked both the centenary of Tolstoy’s death and the arrival of Frank in Walpole.
Two of the WOW team have just returned from Tolstoy’s estate Yasnaya Polyana, in Russia, meeting with Historian Tatiana Vorobyeva.
The research was prompted when a case was discovered hidden in a Walpole boat shed containing Frank’s unpublished book and documents that link him to the Tolstoyan’s Tuckton House in Hampshire - the place where Leo Tolstoy’s works were kept, translated and published - much of it then illegal in Russia.  Frank became Manager of Tuckton House when Tolstoy’s Secretary and prominent Tolstoyan Vladimir Tchertkoff exiled in England by Tsar Nicolas II was allowed to return to Tolstoy in Russia.  The research has uncovered many intriguing Russian links that has now interested historians all around the world.  Frank went with Vladimir and stayed with Tolstoy in 1906 and left us with this memoir of his experience:
    “...At the time I stayed with Tolstoy he was in his old age. A few years later he died.  He was living in his ancestral home (Yasnaya Polyana)  - the home of a country gentleman, but lived with the simplicity of a peasant.  When we parted he shook hands and kissed me in the Russian manner, then turned, and went back alone with his head bowed.  As we rolled away we took his photograph returning though the woods, a solitary figure with all the loneliness of the great  man that he was... “ 
 The team is working closely with some of the descendants of Frank Thompson, Walpole Nornalup District Historical Society and Royal Western Australian Historical Society to produce the book:
“Tolstoy to Tinglewood  - The Case of Frank Skinner Thompson” 
by Geoff Fernie & Gary Muir.
Due to popular demand the book has just finished  its third reprint in 2013.