UK Wildlife Trusts Recognise Peter De Haan for ‘outstanding contribution’ to nature conservation
Peter De Haan has been awarded The Rothschild Medal by The Wildlife Trusts in recognition of the outstanding contribution he has made to nature conservation over the last eight years.
The support provided by De Haan has enabled an extraordinary range of schemes to support the natural heritage of the UK and beyond, as well as bring people closer to nature. Highlights include investment in an innovative peatland restoration programme that is to be implemented around the world, pioneering marine conservation, as well as engaging thousands of young people in environmental issues through performances with the National Youth Theatre.
Through a philanthro-capitalism model, De Haan has provided UK Wildlife Trusts, included those of Kent, Leicestershire & Rutland, London and Yorkshire, with major focused financial support and strategic advice. Having donated £3.1 million, Peter De Haan and the Peter De Haan Charitable Trust is the largest individual donor to The Wildlife Trusts.
De Haan’s funding of the UK Peatlands Programme, for example, began in 2009. It has been an inspiring exemplar of bringing decision makers, land managers and scientists together to show how restoring these amazing wild places benefits both nature and makes a significant contribution to combating climate change. De Haan is credited with bringing the UK peatlands back from the brink.
Working under the IUCN umbrella through the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, De Haan identified that the main barrier to peatland restoration in the UK was co-ordinated action across different communities. The programme concludes this summer having produced a comprehensive report on the state of the UK’s peatlands, and calls for the complete restoration of this valuable habitat. Such has been the strength of the advocacy campaign, this ambitious call has been agreed by the devolved governments of the UK. The next step is to apply this exemplar across the world to reverse climate change, particularly in the peatlands of Indonesia, Russia and Canada.
In 2010 and 2011 De Haan’s Trust instigated a series of new projects with an Environment Challenge Match Fund that distributed £150,000 to a number of organisations in the UK, conserving or creating habitats that support bees and invertebrates, restoring fresh waters to good condition and assisting in the establishment of Marine Protected Areas.
About the Rothchild Medal
The medal is sponsored by Charlotte Lane, daughter of Miriam Rothschild and granddaughter of Charles Rothschild – it was created in the spirit of this remarkable father and daughter. Talking about her father Charles on Desert Island Discs in 1989, Miriam Rothschild said: “Before his time people thought you had to conserve rare species and he realised that it was the habitat you had to conserve not the species. You had to preserve the wood in which the animals lived or the meadows in which they lived.”
The medal in The Wildlife Trusts’ Centenary year
The second Rothschild medal was awarded at The Wildlife Trusts’ centenary celebration at the Natural History Museum on 16th May. The Wildlife Trusts’ centenary has provided a focus for reflection on the generosity and leadership of founder Charles Rothschild and the need for philanthropy to support our work protecting wild places and bringing the natural world into people’s lives.
On 16 May 1912 a banker, landowner, naturalist and scientist named Charles Rothschild got together with like-minded enthusiasts to whip-up support for a radical idea: to identify and protect the very best of the UK’s wild places. Thus began the Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves which would later become The Wildlife Trusts movement the first time that anyone had come up with a vision for nature conservation.