Tracks of Giants: Key People!

Key People

The WILD Foundation is the North American face of Tracks of Giants – which is a collaborative initiative spearheaded by The WILD FoundationWilderness Foundation South Africa, including the Wilderness Leadership School South Africa and other non-governmental organizations,  wildlife management authorities, parks and reserves management and other government, community and corporate partners.

 Core Team:

IAN McCALLUM

Ian McCallum is a medical doctor, psychiatrist, writer and a specialist wilderness guide. A co-founder of the Wilderness Leadership School in the Cape of Good Hope in 1983, he has subsequently written two anthologies of wilderness poems, Wild Gifts (1999) and Untamed (2012), a novel – Thorns to Kilimanjaro (2000) and more recently, the award winning Ecological Intelligence – Rediscovering Ourselves in Nature (2005). An adjunct professor at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, he is the writer/poet for the Dylan Lewis Untamed Exhibition currently on display at the National Botanical Gardens in Cape Town. He is presently a director of the Wilderness Foundation where he heads up the Academic and Leadership projects portfolio. He is a former rugby Springbok fullback.

Poetry by Ian McCallum:

In the Tracks of Giants
The Rising
Wilderness
Fierce

IAN MICHLER

Ian Michler is a top specialist wilderness guide, photojournalist and naturalist, and has lived and worked across Africa for the last 22 years. His feature articles, diaries and blogs documenting the major conservation challenges facing Africa are well known to readers of the award winning magazines, Africa Geographic and Africa Birds and Birding. He is also the author of seven natural history and travel books on various African countries, does ecotourism consultancy work for both the private and government sectors, and has worked as a researcher and field coordinator on various natural history television documentaries for international broadcasters. Prior to his life in the wilderness, he spent almost eight years practicing as a stockbroker in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Ian is presently based along the Garden Route in South Africa where he is co-owner and manager of Invent Africa, a specialist safari company that runs trips to 15 countries across Africa.

Photography by Ian Michler:

Africa Geographic articles by Ian Michler:

If it Stays it Pays
People, Poverty & the Environment
The Conservation Quandary
Too Clever by Half
Who’s Causing the Damage?
Don’t Fence Me In

LIHLE MBOKAZI

Lihle Mbokazi is the Experiential Education Manager at the Wilderness Foundation, South Africa.

Nature found Lihle Mbokazi as a young child walking along rural KwaZulu Natal roads on the way to school. It was on these journeys that she learned to appreciate the sounds, sights and smells of the wilderness, and where her soul found peace away from the difficulties of everyday life.

Daughter of a single mother who earned a living as a domestic worker, and one of seven siblings, Lihle’s early years were poverty stricken. “But it is my past that has driven my future,” says Lihle. “My mother was uneducated, but she instilled in us a motivation to succeed. She worked extremely hard so that we could eat and go to school. She was, and still is, my inspiration. She taught me to be positive, and to look towards the future no matter what the current circumstances are.”

Through her involvement in various NGOs as a volunteer during her early twenties, Lihle became a well known name in activism circles, and her potential was identified by members of the Wilderness Leadership School.

In 2004, Lihle jumped at the opportunity to attend the WLS where her studies were paid for by a group of close friends and sponsors. In 2005, Lihle was the first black female guide to graduate from the WLS, and to her knowledge, the first in the country to earn her NQF level 2.

Lihle’s environmental experience includes involvement with Earthilfe Africa, eThekwini EcoPeace, Community Networking Forum, Vuka Community Environmental Development, Wilderness Leadership School and Wessa.

She is currently employed as the Experiential Education Manager at the Wilderness Foundation where she leads regular Pride and Imbewu trails.

Lihle will be joining the Tracks of Giants team on the Botswana leg of the expedition. She is looking forward to being part of the journey.

“Being a part of this life-changing expedition is an incredible opportunity. I am looking forward to meeting and spending time with some wilderness legends. There is so much that I can learn from the team that is going, and I am hoping to be able to interact with the communities in Botswana too. I want to share what we do, and also learn from them.”

MANDLA BUTHELEZI

Mandlenkosi Mbekezeli Buthelezi, known as Mandla to his friends and co-workers, is a 40 year old Zulu family man of the royal Zulu bloodline. His home adjoins the world famous iMfolozi Game reserve in the heart of Zululand. Mandla is the head Wilderness Guide at the Wilderness Leadership School where he has practiced his bushcraft and passion for wilderness for the past 13 years.

With a diploma in Wildlife Management from the University of Pretoria, Mandla is currently broadening his qualifications through UNISA by following a further diploma course in Nature Conservation Management.

An extremely experienced and highly qualified Wilderness Guide and Tracker, Mandla has a passion for the big cats of Africa and has an uncanny ability to find them through the use of traditional skills and a highly developed intuition. He represents the Wilderness Leadership School in ultra-marathons and is a regular face on television wildlife and environmental programmes aimed at African youth.

In true Zulu tradition, Mandla is a consummate story-teller and is looking forward to the times spent around the campfires in the deep bush of Africa during the Tracks of Giants expedition.

“I am really excited to be trailing in new wilderness areas and sharing this experience with others.” (Mandla B)

Field Support Team:

SHARON McCALLUM

Married to Ian McCallum, Sharon is the Operations Manager for the expedition & based out of Cape Town. She handles key logistics and is essential to everything. Sharon is awesome!

FRANK RAIMONDO

Frank is the Director of the Peace Parks Foundation, a retired businessman and volunteers on the Tracks expedition. He has supplied and also drives the “Green Machine” as one of the backup vehicles, helps all logistics, provides harmonica music at key times!

JOHN FRANKISKOS

John is a retired businessman from Durban. He drives the Avis-provided backup vehicle and quietly knows everything about the most essential things like mechanics, electrics, engineering.

ANTON KRUYSHAAR

Anton is volunteering with the Tracks of Giants expedition on a university gap year.  Mr. Everything works on the back up team as an assistant cameraman, cook and organizer.

Media Team:

CLAIRE WARNEKE

Claire works as the Public Relations Officer for the Wilderness Foundation, South Africa. For the Tracks expedition, Claire is the primary Media Contact and also provides the public with immediate Twitterupdates from the Core Team! To contact Claire with any media questions/contacts, email her at:info@sa.wild.org. Don’t forget to follow Tracks on Twitter! @TracksOfGiants

MELANIE HILL

Melanie is the Communications Manager at The WILD Foundation based out of Boulder, Colorado, USA. For the Tracks of Giants expedition, she runs and updates all website content and uploads/organizes all incoming images from the field. At WILD she manages multiple websites, social media platforms & blogs. In addition to web and social media, Melanie contributes her design and photography skills to the WILD’s communications program. For questions about the Tracks website and images, contact her at: melanie@wild.org

BRITT HOSMER PETERSON

Britt Peterson, LEED AP, is the US-based Manager for the Tracks of Giants expedition, associate of The WILD Foundation, and also serves as the president for Rock Environmental LLC, an international conservation consulting business which works with various NGOs and nonprofits. As well as being the US Manager for Tracks, she also runs the social media program for the expedition. For any questions or comments, you may contact her at: britt@rockenvironmental.com. Don’t forget to follow Tracks of Giants on Facebook!

Tracks of Giants Expedition – May 1st

We are proud to announce the start of the Tracks of Giants expedition TODAY! This 5 month journey will begin in the west coast of Namibia, and travel east to South Africa. Make sure you follow along this important journey which will promote a greater awareness of conservation, human community and leadership issues specifically relevant to southern Africa.

Expedition leaders Ian McCallum and Ian Michler will lead a small multi-generational, multi-racial, and gender diverse team, including two wilderness rangers from the Wilderness Leadership School (South Africa): Lihle Mbokazi and Mandla Mbekezeli Buthelezi. The team will be traveling by foot, bike and kayak on a route that follows ancient elephant clusters and migration routes through six countries including Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa.

Ancient migration routes of elephants were chosen as the general route indicators as elephants are a keystone species and play a vital ecological, social and economic role in many Southern African countries as they anchor conservation initiatives and attract tourists to protected areas. They also address the question “If we can’t effectively co-exist with and protect something this important, how can we effectively protect and promote the sustainability of other wild life and wild places?”

The initial team includes Ian McCallum, Ian Michler, Vance Martin (WILD Foundation president), Mandla Mbekezeli Buthelezi and 6 local Namibians.


Follow along the journey! 

FacebookTwitter| Official Website

Tracks of Giants Video

 

Support the team as they journey through South Africa to research the 

impacts of climate change, study habitat fragmentation and record 

indigenous knowledge of wildlife.  

Meet the TRACKS team!
               Ian McCallum is a medical doctor, psychiatrist, writer and a specialist wilderness guide. A co-founder of the Wilderness Leadership School in the Cape of Good Hope in 1983, he has subsequently written two anthologies of wilderness poems, a novel, and more recently, the award winning Ecological Intelligence – Rediscovering Ourselves in Nature (2005).Ian Michler is a top specialist wilderness guide, photojournalist and naturalist, and has lived and worked across Africa for the last 22 years. His feature articles, diaries and blogs documenting the major conservation challenges facing Africa are well known to readers of the award winning magazines, Africa Geographic and Africa Birds and Birding.Lihle Mbokazi is the Experiential Education Manager at the Wilderness Foundation, South Africa and holds many years of wilderness experience. Lihle will be joining the Tracks of Giants team on the Botswana leg of the expedition.

Mandlenkosi Mbekezeli  Buthelezi, known as Mandla to his friends and co-workers, is a 40 year old Zulu family man of the royal Zulu bloodline. Mandla is the head Wilderness Guide at the Wilderness Leadership School where he has practiced his bushcraft and passion for wilderness for the past 13 years.

Tracks of Giants is a project of:
An initiative of:

Nature Needs Half for web

Nature Needs Half is our answer, and all our programs demonstrate or illustrate the critical need for large, interconnected areas of wild nature that support all life on earth.