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Jane Goodall

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you.
What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference.”

WITH SOPHIE HUTCHINSON, CONSERVATIONIST AND CO-FOUNDER OF WILDARK

BEAR INTERVIEW

Words

Saasha Burns

Photography

@aleksandarjason
@kirstinscholtz
@corey_wilson

You may not be familiar with the name Sophie Hutchinson, but she is a true pioneer. Working hard in silence, together with her husband and dedicated team around the world, the founder of modern conservation movement, WildArk is dedicated to protecting our wildlife and the biodiversity of our planet. Over the past three years, WildArk have been working tirelessly to secure threatened parcels of land to create ‘green belts’ for wild animals to freely roam without the threat of industrialisation, deforestation or poaching. One of their latest projects, Grizzly Plains Conservatory in Alaska is one that is very close to our hearts. Ahead of World Environment Day we caught up with Sophie to discuss the importance of sustainability, how we can help make a positive difference in our actions each day, and why Australia will always be home.

 
Hometown
Sydney, NSW, Australia

Residence
Northern Rivers, NSW, Australia

My husband and I started WildArk three and a half years ago, after many years spent in wilderness areas. We started off as an adventure-travel business, where we had the privilege of taking people to remote and untouched wilderness areas around the world. Witnessing an alarming amount of threats to the wild, we felt a deep sense of responsibility to try and help out. Hence, the birth of WildArk.

My hero would undoubtedly have to be Kristine Tompkins, the incredible work she and her late husband Doug Tompkins, have done in the Patagonia region, with the creation of Ibera National Park in Argentina. They are leaving behind an incredible legacy for generations to come and are a great inspiration showing what can be done when you care deeply about the protection of wild places.

We have been so lucky with our ambassadors for WildArk. We met Mick Fanning back in 2015 and once he heard about what we were doing he was on board, boots and all. He has joined us on trips and you can see how passionate he is about saving the world’s wild places.

People can make a difference in the way in which they live their everyday lives; the organisations they support, and choose not to support, being aware and informed and standing up for what is right — we can all be warriors for the wild, every day, in the choices we make. Be innovative, think bold and go for it.

From a remote wilderness perspective, Alaska is hard to beat, but Africa is the place I always feel most alive. It has such a strong place in my heart and I will always feel the need to keep going back as long as I live. Home, however, will always be Australia. I think we live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The sounds of the bush, the birds, the beaches and ocean are second to none for me.

Standing on our front lawn with a cup of tea watching the sunrise over the mountains, listening to the morning chorus of birds is such a peaceful way to start the day. I then have a smoothie with spinach leaves, berries, banana, and REPAIR Essential Daily Superpowder and last, but by no means least, the best coffee up the road at our local café. Usually, this is followed by exercise, which might be a run, swim or yoga before we begin working on the property.

We have just launched a new branch of WildArk called ‘ONCE by WildArk’, which is an online platform for sustainable living. We are supporting individuals, business, companies and organisations who are choosing the sustainability path, to tell their stories, sell their products and inform consumers on the options that are available to them. Our aim is to create a platform to reduce wasteful consumption and encourage up-cycling, repurposing and handing down.

 
BEAR donates a fixed dollar amount from each product sold to WildArk to help support animal welfare and conservation projects worldwide. Learn more about the incredible work of WildArk here .

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