Wiet de Bruijn (51), residing in Huizen (The Netherlands), is an entrepreneurial investor with, amongst others, active interests in wildlife conservation and agriculture. Wiet developed a love for nature through experiencing its beauty and splendour first hand while fishing and hunting as a young man with his father.
At the age of 21, Wiet soon realised that he had an acute understanding of business and started to initiate and develop various businesses. In the last 15 years Wiet has acted as an active shareholder and/or board member in a number of for-profit companies and for a number of years he invests time and money in non-profit initiatives as well.
In 2010 Wiet got involved in the Marakele Contractual National Park conservation initiative in South-Africa. This Park, which covers an area of more than 65.000 hectares, is located in the breath-taking Waterberg-area, situated in the northern part of the Limpopo province. This project has many similarities to Rewilding Europe, considering the challenges both initiatives face. The Marakele Park management seeks long-term sustainable financial income to reinvest in the park by developing tourism and breeding indigenous animals.
Simultaneously Wiet also plays a key role in a large agricultural farm in Ukraine. Through this project he is able to combine business and teaching people the philosophy with regards to mutual respect between man and nature.
All this led him to the Rewilding Europe initiative, where he will support Rewilding Europe with his experience and network in the Dutch business community to develop the initiative.
As the chairman of the Supervisory Board, Wiet expects to be a powerful asset to the Rewilding Europe project, not only as an entrepreneur/businessman, but also with his love for conservation.
Henrique Miguel Pereira is Professor of Biodiversity Conservation at iDiv – German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research Halle-Jena-Leipzig and he is affiliated with the Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg. He was one of the lead authors of the Scenarios Report for the Biodiversity Outlook 3 and is the Chair of the Biodiversity Observation Network of the Group on Earth Observations. Prof. Pereira received his PhD in Biological Sciences from Stanford University in 2002. From 2003 to 2005, he coordinated the Portugal Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.
From 2006 to 2009 he was the Director of Peneda-Gerês National Park in Northern Portugal. From 2009 to 2014 he was a Research Group Leader at the Center for Environmental Biology of the University of Lisbon. He has published over fifty scientific papers and reports on biodiversity issues. His research interests revolve around global biodiversity change, including monitoring schemes for biodiversity, spatially explicit and species-area models for biodiversity scenarios, and empirical studies of the consequences of rewilding abandoned farmland for biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Henrique has a special interest in Rewilding Europe because it provides a great opportunity to link his scientific work with support of practical rewilding work in the different regions in Europe. In the Supervisory Board, his scientific and rewilding expertise will be very helpful in further strengthening the strategic directions and approaches of our initiative, as well as providing support from a scientific angle.
Odile Rodríguez de la Fuente is the vice-president, founder and general director of Fundación Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente in Spain which was founded in 2004. She went to high school in Spain, England and Switzerland, a worldwide association of schools called RoundSquare.
Odile holds a BS in Biological Sciences (1994) and a BA in Cinema Production (1995) from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. She started her career in 1996 at National Geographic Television in Washington DC as an intern, associate producer and producer. Among others, she worked on a film about rain forests in Mexico and a major, worldwide communication campaign on conservation, in collaboration with IUCN.
In 2004, she was the Director of Scientific Film Awards of Ronda, the first initiative of its kind in Spain. In 2005 she worked as a producer at RTVE, doing a production of a two-hour documentary of the life and work of her father Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente. In 2006, she became a member of the board of WWF Spain.
Currently, Odile’s main work is for the Fundación Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente, an important NGO in Spain, named after her father who was a very famous Spanish nature filmmaker. Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente produced some very famous films and books. Unfortunately he died in a plane crash in Alaska when Odile was only 7 years young. Odile has followed the footsteps of her father and dedicates her life to protect and to communicate about nature and its wonders.
About her father, Odile says: “I always wanted to follow on my father´s footsteps even before he left us but the impact of his sudden death probably influenced me even more to dedicate my life to the defense and communication of nature and its wonders. My father supposed a huge influence in Spanish conscience about conservation. He was responsible for positioning Spain as one of the pioneering countries in Europe to first have laws protecting predatory birds and wolves. If we still have wolves in Spain it is because of my father´s work both on a political level but mainly as the most popular communicator in Spain during the 60´s and 70´s. His television series “El Hombre y la Tierra” was first on ranking for the eight years they were aired in Spain, surpassing any other international documentaries (like BBC or National Geographic) in both technological and narrative style. They were seen by millions of people worldwide including countries like Russia and Japan and showed Spanish fauna and flora to Europe and the world.
On the editorial end his best known work was the world wide encyclopedia “Fauna”. It was translated into 16 languages and sold more than 40 million volumes worldwide.’’
As a conservationist, Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente was the co-founder and vice-president of WWF Spain and responsible for the preservation of many of the most important wild spots in Spain that are now National and Natural parks. He is still a major reference in Spain and many Spanish speaking countries and his style and passion still motivate and are an inspiration to thousands.
For Rewilding Europe, Odile Rodríguez de la Fuente will have a particular role in communication and networking, representing the initiative towards certain external audiences, especially in the Mediterranean parts of Europe. She will also help facilitating to reach certain target groups, such as major land owners/holders in the rewilding areas, national top media, and early adopters within the key government structures in Spain and Portugal.