Global Gathering 2023

In May the Conservation Collective foundations gathered in Corfu for a retreat combining workshops, field trips, and knowledge exchange.

Conservation Collective (CC) members from around the world met in Corfu in the first week of May for our second ever Global Gathering – a fabulous opportunity for local foundations directors and team members, CC core team and other key stakeholders to get together to spend valuable time in person sharing knowledge and seeding new ideas.  This year, the Global Gathering was generously hosted by the Ionian Environment Foundation (IEF) and Kontokali Bay Resort & Spa.

Our days were spent learning from each other and about the island through workshops, site visits and ‘spotlight’ presentations showcasing projects and exploring and sharing wins and lessons from each foundation across the global network. We were joined by several experts in their field who shared inspiring and helpful advice with the group: Brendon Moorehouse, a CC Trustee, described some impressive wins defending nature in the UK courts, and Rory Moore from BLUE Marine Foundation encouraged us all to think about marine protection in a longer term and more cohesive way. Simon Nash, who leads Wilder Selwood (a CC branch enabling rewilding through a landowners coalition), shared his experiences from his time leading the Somerset Wildlife Trust and Wetlands International in our ‘All about Impact Session’.

The individual foundation ‘spotlight’ presentations highlighted the very diverse range of impactful projects supported including the HIEF supported campaign to stop the unlawful use of Acoustic Deterrent Devices in Scotland, the replication of the Amorgorama initiative in the Argolic Gulf, and the use of theatrical arts to educate school children in Cyprus about marine conservation.

HIEF spotlight presentation by Sally McNaught, Executive Director

Although the unseasonable weather meant some field trips had to be cancelled, we were still able to visit the inspirational community-led recycling centre ‘Sin.Praxi’, supported by the IEF, and to learn about the rich (and tragic!) cultural history of Corfu Town. We swapped stories over delicious Greek salads and rich wonderful tzatziki, whilst we heard from speakers including the Save Erimitis Campaign team, the Corfu Butterfly Project and the hotel manager himself about its own sustainability efforts and challenges.

We were delighted to have Conservation Coaching, join us for a conscious leadership session; a snippet of a wider 6-week programme some of the CC members completed last year.

Local community-led recycling championed by Sin Praxi

The week concluded with an awards ceremony, The Collectives, hosted by Lee Durrell, an IEF ambassador, naturalist and stalwart of Corfu and widow of the late Gerald Durrell, the renowned naturalist who wrote My Family and Other Animals. The Collectives celebrate and showcase success stories from across the network, with the six awards judged by the CC Global Advisory Panel, a range of sector experts who offer ad hoc advice to boost local expertise when needed.


You can’t turn back the clock, but you can keep it in working order.  And this is where IEF and CC excel.  The support for local environmental initiatives throughout the Ionian Islands and elsewhere in the world has been and will be transformational.  Such support is like attending to the numerous and diverse parts of that clock mechanism so that they all work together.  It’s these home-grown, grassroots environmental actions that will eventually coalesce and offer hope for saving the planet.

Lee Durrell, on Conservation Collective
The Collectives Awards 2023

HIEF won two awards – a tremendous endorsement of our first three years work!

Highly Commended in the ‘Reducing Pollution’ category for our Net cutting collection & recycling pilot programme grant, helping fishermen & women in the Outer Hebrides trial the most effective way to prevent net cuttings, created when repairing nets or creels, from escaping into the environment & thus causing plastic pollution.

Winners of the ‘Best impact grant’ category for our grant leading to the de facto ban on the use of Acoustic Deterrent Devices (ADDs) by salmon farms, thus helping to protect the hearing of whales, dolphins & porpoises which in turn helps them feed, navigate & communicate successfully.

Grateful thanks to all who helped make the Global Gathering such a success and to the awards sponsors, Kontokali Bay Resort & Spa and Regatta Outdoors.