Who we are

Founder

Therese Hemmingsen BA(Anth), M(Mgt), M(Anth), ANU

Therese in rainforest

Founder of the philanthropic giving group “Wildlife Guardian Fund”, Board Member of Wildlife Conservation International Ltd, and career public servant as a policy advisor, including ten years at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Therese has three degrees from the Australian National University specialising in management and cultural anthropology, including community development in environmental hotspots.

Therese is passionate about promoting social justice and the conservation of ecosystems that are home to Indigenous people and endangered wildlife. She also enjoys dabbling in wildlife photography, travel to any jungle/forest/bushland, and hanging out with her two dogs.

Why did Therese establish the Wildlife Guardian Fund?
Over many years of volunteering for wildlife NGOs and studying community development in environmentally sensitive areas, I realised that there was a gap in the way people could connect with charities on a personal level. People are often concerned about whether or not their donation is going to a legitimate cause, what percentage of their donation is being used for actual project costs (rather than administration of running a charity), and asking themselves – is my donation having a positive impact?

The Wildlife Guardian Fund (WGF) addresses those concerns. We are grass-root community support for grass-root community-led conservation. Project proposals are designed with on the ground experts and assessed by an expert conservation team before being offered to WGF members to consider for support. You can be confident the projects are legitimate, best-practice and that 100 per cent of your donation will be used for the project.

The Fund offers members the chance to contribute financially through donations, to have a say on which projects are supported and to network with like-minded people. Combining our resources will create partnerships that have a significant impact for community development and wildlife conservation.

By supporting community projects, we can give a hand-up for locals to become leaders in the sustainable management of their environment. Imagine the difference we could make if our group gave 20 scholarships to disadvantaged people to get a higher education in biology or vet science, or if we supported a Wildlife Protection Unit to provide employment to locals to stop illegal logging and poaching in an unprotected forest, or if we set up a social enterprise for a women’s craft business!

We might not save the world with these small-scale projects, but combining our resources will make a big difference to boost these projects to have a game-changing impact. And who knows how big we can grow this group to increase our influence? I hope you feel inspired to get involved and together let’s see what we can do!

Cheers, Therese.

Sumatra womens group

Therese visiting a womens’ health group, Aceh, Sumatra, 2011

Communication Adviser

Wendy Zhang

Wendy recently started her public service career working in policy and international engagement. Prior to this, Wendy worked as a paralegal on pro bono asylum seeker cases, interned at the United Nations Headquarters in New York and has been an Australian Ambassador for the Thought for Food Challenge. Wendy has a Bachelor of International and Global Studies, majoring in government and international relations, from the University of Sydney, which included one year at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich.

Wendy is passionate about promoting equal rights for all humans as well as protecting our environment and wildlife that live in it. She has travelled to over 40 countries, enjoys yoga, eating spicy food and hiking. Wendy hopes one day to own a small farm with alpacas, llamas, goats and dogs.

Wendy Zhang

Founding Patron, Wildlife Guardian Fund

Emeritus Professor Colin Groves
School of Archaeology & Anthropology, Australian National University

We are deeply saddened by the passing of Professor Colin Groves on 30 November 2017. An eminent friend of wildlife, Colin was the world’s leading primatologist, taxonomist, author of modern orangutan taxonomy, a long serving Conservation Fund Member for The Orangutan Project (TOP) and Founding Patron of the Wildlife Guardian Fund. We are profoundly honoured to have known Colin and are greatly appreciative of his contribution and guidance. A true conservationist who will be sorely missed.

 

colin groves (with gorilla skull) (TOP photo)