WHAT WE DO
The essence of the IEF’s approach is to provide support and guidance for conservation projects that the local communities themselves have initiated and designed. We have seen in our first three years that tangible local action can unlock solutions to shared global challenges, and that this is best achieved by empowering communities to protect their own local environment through a ‘bottom-up’ approach.
We offer financial support, and add value with capacity-building, expertise, and connections. The IEF is based on a tried and tested, non-bureaucratic model of grant giving which aims to ‘get stuff done’.
The IEF is a member of the Conservation Collective, a global network of local environment foundations rooted in their communities to protect the environment, restore nature and safeguard against climate change.
A Steering Committee (SC), comprising of founding and actively involved donors, directs the strategy. They analyse and approve grants and use their personal networks to broaden the base of supporters. The SC members have a wide array of backgrounds and interests but all share a passion for the environmental protection of the Ionian islands.
Our local team consists of one person as the local Executive Director in charge of day-to-day management and coordination work on the ground, assisted by advisors and the SC.
And of course, we are eternally grateful to our supporters for their contribution to the IEF by way of financial donation and/or time!
Victoria comes to us as an education specialist who has written environmental programmes for the Greek curriculum on the subjects of waste management and marine conservation. Victoria has had a home on Paxos for 40 years and as such holds a deep rooted affiliation with the Ionian Islands, their environment and their people. Having taken what was initiallly a sabbatical year from her career as Head of Geography at Norwich School and as a Cambridge Examiner she has quickly assimilated her skills into the context of consolidating and developing the impact and reach of the Ionian Environment Foundation.
Lee McGeorge Durrell was born in Memphis, studied philosophy at Bryn Mawr College and gained her PhD from Duke University for research on the calls of forest mammals and birds.
Lee married Gerald Durrell, founder of the Jersey Zoo and what is now called Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, in 1979. Lee and Gerald travelled, wrote books and presented several television series together. She became involved with the work of the Trust, particularly in Madagascar. ‘The State of the Ark’, Lee’s first book, was a comprehensive review of global species conservation, published in 1986.
Gerald Durrell passed away in 1995. Lee has maintained a deep interest in the Trust’s work both in Jersey and overseas. In 1999 she learned to fly light aeroplanes and assisted the Trust for a number of years by flying animals to and from Jersey for breeding programmes. In 2011 Lee was awarded the MBE in recognition of her services to biodiversity conservation.
Nowadays Lee lives in a refurbished old house in the countryside of Corfu and seeks to contribute to environmental conservation locally.
How we work
The funds we raise are distributed to projects across the islands and the Ionian Sea.
Having identified the core issues and areas of concern that need to be addressed in the Ionian Islands and Sea, we have focused on some key themes.
The executive director is doing the work on the ground and is the person to contact if you want to find out more and to work with for an idea or to get guidance about developing a proposal.