René Daniel Haller (born December 18, 1933), is a Swiss naturalist, trained in Horticulture, Landscaping and Tropical Agronomy. Since the 1970s, he has been known for his commitment to environmental restoration. He is best known for his restoration of a limestone quarry wasteland in Mombasa, Kenya, into the nature park and wildlife sanctuary named Haller Park.
Haller is a recipient of a number of awards. He was one of the first recipients of the prestigious Global 500 Roll of Honor by the United Nations for his 'outstanding environmental achievements. He is well known as author of many publications on his wasteland rehabilitation work. He is a Trustee of the Haller Foundation, the Director of The Baobab Trust, and interim Chair of the Kenyan Wildlife Service Board of Trustees.
In 1956, Haller came to Africa to supervise a coffee plantation on Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. In 1959, He was recruited by the Bamburi Cement Company to head up their Garden Department. He was assigned to produce food (fruit and vegetables) for Bamburi factory workers. He was also assigned to beautify the area surrounding the site
In the 1970s, Haller began an ecological experiment to rehabilitate the limestone quarries scarring the Mombasa coastline. Today Haller has transformed much of the 7 square kilometer Bamburi site from an infertile and dusty landscape to an ecological haven. The quarries are now a combination of lakes, wetlands and savannah grasslands with walking and cycling trails. In 2002, nearly 100,000 visitors came to the Nature Park and Wildlife Sanctuary.
Under Haller's leadership, the Garden department expanded as poultry, sheep and goats were included in production. By 1977 it had become economically self-sustaining which encouraged Rene to incorporate Baobab Farm.
In 1991, Haller created the Baobab Trust to carry out the non-commercial activities at Baobab Farm. As a result of its charitable status, the trust was able to use income generated from a large scale tree planting initiative funded by an American Care organization. Baobab trust is also the main recipient of funds raised by the Haller Foundation. Today Haller carries out most of its activities through the Baobab Trust.
Awards and honors
In 1991 he received the Swiss Brandenberger prize, as well as an Honorary Doctor's degree from the University of Basle. In April 2003, he was appointed to the board of the Kenyan Wildlife Service.
Haller met his wife Christa while working at Bamburi cement. They have two sons Guido Haller, a trustee of the Haller Foundation and Daniel Haller who resides in Mombasa. Rene has 6 grandchildren.
“All my successes are based upon my failures”.
- Haller Foundation Website
- Baobab Trust Website
- Book (From Wasteland to Paradise by Dr. Rene Haller and Sabine Baer)