Vance Martin

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Vance G. Martin
VGM horuseb.jpg
Courtesy of Nick Chevalier, South Africa, 2012
Born Vance Gregory Martin
(1949-07-20) July 20, 1949 (age 67)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Residence Boulder, Colorado, USA
Nationality American
Occupation President of The WILD Foundation
Years active 1983-present

Vance G. Martin (born July 20; 1949, Washington, D.C.) is an expert in international nature conservation and wilderness protection, a writer, and an amateur photographer. Martin[1] specializes in bridging the interests of people and nature through culture, communications, science, and policy. He has worked in more than 65 nations, lived in many countries, and served on the boards of numerous conservation and business organizations. Since 1983, he has served as President of The WILD Foundation, an international conservation organization explicitly dedicated to protecting wilderness, connecting wild nature to people, and to communicating the values of wilderness and its benefits for human communities.

Personal life[edit]

Vance G. Martin[2] (full name Vance Gregory Martin) was born July 20, 1949 in Washington, D.C., to Alyce Dickerson Martin, (deceased, 2013), and Thomas O. Martin, (deceased, 1994, a 25 year veteran of the FBI). He grew up mostly throughout the Maryland/Virginia/West Virginia area of the US, primarily in the suburbs. He spent as much of his free time as possible in the forests and fields of the Piedmont Region, and later (during university) in the Appalachian Mountains. In 1971, he graduated Magna Cum Laude from West Virginia University with a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and minor studies in forestry and wildlife management.

After college, Martin lived and worked abroad in Asia and Europe for 13 years, including 10 years at The Findhorn Foundation in Scotland, as a senior manager and (sic) Director of Environmental Programs. During this time he met and began to work closely with author/explorer Sir Laurens van der Post[3] and South African, international conservationist Dr. Ian Player. His life-long passion for nature developed into a professional, working commitment to understand, protect and communicate wilderness values and the irreplaceable role of wilderness in a healthy society. He currently lives in Boulder, Colo., and is in a domestic partnership with Carol L. Batrus. He has a son (Farren) and daughter (Felicia) from a previous marriage to Catherine (Kate) Martin (artist, teacher) and is grandfather to Veda Lee Martin. He is passionate about wild nature, trees, fly-fishing, oriental carpets, and antique trade beads.

Professional life[edit]

Martin[4] has been President of The WILD Foundation since 1983,[5] leading program and financial development for a conservation NGO that was established by South African conservationist Dr. Ian Player in 1974. He works primarily on fundraising, program strategy and management for WILD, frequently traveling between the headquarters in Colorado with WILD projects and affiliated organizations around the world. Martin works extensively in Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, Russia, and the Americas to foster the understanding, policy, and action needed to protect and sustain wild nature while meeting the needs of human communities. His work brings him into all sectors of society from the government and corporate world to academics, the arts, local communities, and native/indigenous cultures.

A key moment in Martin's career was his central role in conceiving, initiating and managing the first international agreement on wilderness signed by the governments of Canada, United States and Mexico in November, 2009, at WILD9 (9th World Wilderness Congress) (Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation for Wilderness and Protected Areas Conservation). At that same time he also co-conceived and launched the Nature Needs Half vision and practice with friend and colleague Harvey Locke.

Prior to working for WILD and while gaining his university degree, Martin was co-owner of Natural Foods Store, the first organic and natural foods store in northern West Virginia, Martin also co-owned an antique and artisanal crafts import business. Beginning in 1974, he spent 10 years with The Findhorn Foundation in Scotland[6][1]. There he developed his skills for non-profit management alongside furthering his wilderness ethic, land management experience, and his understanding of how the human world interfaces with the natural world. During his years at Findhorn, Martin served at varying times as (sic) Executive Director; Director of gardens, farms, and landscaping; Director of environmental programs; Founder/Director of Trees for Life, a social movement for growing and planting trees; as Warden (custodian) of Traigh Bhan on the Isle of Iona, in the Inner Hebrides; on the Core (central policy) Group, in the Education Department; and on the Management Committee.

Between 1992 and 2002, Martin closely collaborated with Dr Laurie Marker to establish and expand the Cheetah Conservation Fund, based in Namibia. He served as its President for 10 years and remains on the Board of Trustees. CCF is recognized as the premier global initiative to protect the endangered wild cheetah, and has become one of the most successful and far-reaching species-oriented field projects in the world.

Martin has been the International Director of the World Wilderness Congress [3] since 1983, as well as the executive editor for all its publications. The WWC has been described as the Olympics of the wilderness conservation world.[7] Every four years in a different country, the WWC convenes a diverse convergence of leaders in international conservation, government, science, the arts and humanities, communications, and business with the public to: achieve practical conservation results; strengthen constructive dialogue and positive action on important environmental issues; promote a greater understanding of wilderness; and enhance the protection of wild lands and seas. Established in South Africa in 1977, this is the world’s longest-running, international, public conservation project and environmental forum. The “WILD10” process, of which Martin was Co-Chair, took place in Europe and convened in Salamanca, Spain, in October 2013.[8]

Dedicated to collaboration and cooperation as an effective means of empowering a wider social movement for nature conservation, Martin has helped initiate or worked closely with others to foster many new projects and organizations. In addition to those mentioned elsewhere in the article, others include: International Conservation Caucus Foundation (with David H. Baron), Chasing Ice (with Jeff Orlowski and James Balog), Earth Vision Institute (with James Balog).

Martin is committed to the critical role of human culture as a necessary and effective force in nature conservation, and in creating solutions across boundaries and ideologies. Central to this is his dedication to working with Indigenous Peoples (IP) and local communities to assure respect and rightful regard for their knowledge, rights, and cultural practices. As well as working with traditional communities in Africa, Asia, and North and South America, he co-founded the Native Lands and Wilderness Council with Terry Tanner of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (2005), and co-founded with Sharon Shay Sloan the Indigenous and Community Lands and Seas project (2013). As a lifetime advocate of the arts and humanities as a key tool for effective nature conservation, Martin fostered (among many things) the founding of the International League of Conservation Photographers with Cristina Mittermeier (2005), and initiated and co-produced the innovative Rap Guide to Wilderness (2014), with Canadian artist, Baba Brinkman.

In addition to his work with WILD (where he also is on the Board of Directors), Martin has served on the board of directors of numerous other organizations[9] including the Cheetah Conservation Fund (of which he was President for 10 years[10]); Wilderness Foundation (Africa); Wilderness Foundation (UK); Conservation & Preservation Charities of America (President, 6 years); Friends of Peace Parks (President); International Conservation Caucus Foundation; SAVM, LLC.; and Fulcrum Publishing, Inc. He is also the founder and current co-chairman of the Wilderness Specialist Group of the World Commission on Protected Areas of the IUCN.

Awards and accomplishments[edit]

Publications and other media[edit]

Martin serves as an editor for numerous wilderness and conservation-related reference publications,[12] including the contributing editor for the International Journal of Wilderness (1994–present), contributing editor (international) for three editions of Wilderness Management, (the standard international reference), as well as a handbook on International Wilderness Law and Policy , Una Introducción al Derecho y las Políticas Internacionales Sobre Áreas Silvestres, and Une introduction au driot et aux politiques internationales de la nature sauvage. Martin is listed in the Who's Who in Service to the Earth, Who's Who in the West, and numerous other references. His most recent book (2009) is a personal memoir Wilderness (with photographs by Patricio Robles Gil and introduction by Ian Player), ISBN 978-607-00-1522-9.


  • Martin, Vance and Sloan, Sharon Shay ed. Protecting Wild Nature on Native Lands: Case Studies by Native Peoples from around the World. Volume II. Golden Colo:Fulcrum Pub. 2012. Print (Spanish Language Edition in digital print)
  • Martin, Vance, and Patricio Robles Gil (photographer). Wilderness.[13] Mexico City, MX; Sierra Madre. 2009. ISBN 978-607-00-1522-9. Print
  • Martin, Vance, and Patricio Robles Gil (photographer). Tierras Silvestres.[13] Mexico City, MX; Sierra Madre. 2009. ISBN 978-607-00-1395-9. Print
  • Martin, Vance, and Cyril Kormos, ed. Wilderness, Wildlands and People: A Partnership for the Planet. Golden Colo: Fulcrum Pub. 2008. ISBN 978-1-55591-602-2. Print.
  • Martin, Vance, Cajune, Julie, Tanner, Terry. ed. Protecting Wild Nature on Native Lands: Case Studies by Native Peoples from around the World. Volume I. Golden Colo:Fulcrum Pub. 2008. [2] ISBN 978-1-55591-681-7. Print (English and Spanish Editions)
  • Martin, Vance, and Andrew Muir, ed. Wilderness and Human Communities: The Spirit of the 21st Century.[14] Golden, Colo.: Fulcrum Pub., 2004. ISBN 1-55591-866-2. Print.
  • Gil, Patricio Robles, Russell A. Mittermeier, Cristina G. Mittermeier, Vance G. Martin, et al.. Wilderness: Earth's Last Wild Places. [Mexico City]: CEMEX, 2002. Print.
  • Martin, Vance G, ed. Wilderness & Humanity: The Global Issue. Golden, Colo.: Fulcrum Publ., 2001. ISBN 1-55591-989-8. Print.
  • Martin, Vance, and Nicholas Tyler, ed. Arctic Wilderness. Golden, Colo.: North American, 1995. ISBN 1-55591-931-6. Print.
  • Martin, Vance, ed. For the Conservation of Earth. Golden, Colo.: Fulcrum,, 1988. ISBN 1-55591-026-2. Print.
  • Martin, Vance, and Mary Inglis, ed. Wilderness, the Way Ahead. The Park, Forres, Scotland: Findhorn, 1984. ISBN 0-905249-58-5 (UK); 0936878-10-X (USA). Print.
  • Martin, Vance, ed. Wilderness. Findhorn, Moray, Scotland: Findhorn Press, 1982. ISBN 0-906191-61-0. Print.

Articles and papers[edit]


  1. ^ Martin, Vance (2014). "What Does Wilderness Mean to You?". Origin Magazine. 
  2. ^ Martin, Vance (2011-03-03). "Smithsonian Resident Associates Program". Seminar-The Nature of South Africa: A Wild and Wondrous Exploration. 
  3. ^ a b Linscott, Graham (2013). Into the River of Life: A Biography of Ian Player. Johannesburg & Cape Town: Johnathan Ball Publishers. pp. 160, 233, 239. ISBN 9781868425464. 
  4. ^ Currie, Andrew (2013). "EcoRockstars Impacting the Planet". Origin Magazine. 
  5. ^ "Our Staff". The WILD Foundation. 
  6. ^ "Meet Vance Martin". Sanctuary Asia. 
  7. ^ Player, Ian (1998). Zulu Wilderness: Shadow and Soul. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing. pp. 230–244. ISBN 978-1-55591-363-2. 
  8. ^ "WILD 10: Save the Date". The WILD Foundation. 
  9. ^ "Member Bios". International League of Conservation Writers. 
  10. ^ "Who We Are". Cheetah Conservation Fund. 
  11. ^ OKIA. "Rewilding Europe Circle – a new alliance of rewilding ambassadors — Rewilding Europe". Retrieved 2016-02-01. 
  12. ^ Martin, Vance (2014-04-15). "Mountain Film in Telluride". Working For Wilderness. Retrieved 2014-05-21. 
  13. ^ a b Google Book Source. Google. 
  14. ^ "Wilderness and Human Communities". National Library of Australia. 

External links[edit]