'Wilder World' Finalist Spotlight: Esperanza Sancho's MiniReservas.

Photo from Esperanza Sancho

Photo from Esperanza Sancho

Growing up in Spain, Esperanza Sancho was captivated by nature and its conservation. Now, she is looking to change the way we think about conservation, by empowering community groups to manage and protect small wildlife regions known as MiniReservas.

Q: How did you become someone who was inspired about the environment? Can you tell us a little bit about your past initiatives?

Esperanza: Some time ago, I began watching videos and reading up on inspiring activists who have devoted their life’s work to the environment. These individuals include Severn Suzuki, Simon Jackson and Felix Finkbeiner, amongst others. Their environmental work began at around my age or younger, and they have served as an excellent example of service that I think we can all achieve, regardless of age.  

Ever since I was little, I have always been interested in everything relating to nature, whether it be camps or family excursions. More recently, I have collaborated with Fondo Natural, my father’s organization. Additionally, a few friends and I have established the first ecology club at our school. My current project, MiniReservas, is a natural extension of my previous work, which I hope will inspire the conservation of a wilder world on a much larger scale. 

Q: How did you hear about Coalition Wild?

Eperanza: At the end of the last school year, my father commented that there was a large world congress on the environment taking place in Salamanca, Spain. After some research, I heard about Coalition Wild’s Wilder World Challenge, and decided it was excellent stage to present my project.

Q: How would you define a 'Wilder World'? 

Esperanza: To me, a wilder world is one in which all people have a true, conscious appreciation for the environment; a place where people are genuinely interested and captivated by nature; where they nurture mother earth and do everything in their power to maintain its natural beauty. A wilder world is a place where humans are no longer the cause of species extinction, the clear-cutting of forests, or the disappearance of ice caps. Instead, humans in a ‘Wilder World’ actively collaborate to find creative solutions to these problems.

Q: Tell us about MiniReservas. How do you think your project is helping to make the world a wilder place to live? 

Esperanza: With my Project “MiniReservas”, I hope to create a web of conservation spaces for wildlife, primarily within cities. The idea is to involve the community by having each ‘MiniReserve’ be adopted and managed by a group of interested individuals, whether it be a single family, a group of neighbors, recreation centers, schools, environmental associations, etc.

Each managing group incorporates their own ideas for conserving the MiniReserve, given the space and resources available. Each group will track the natural evolution of the flora and fauna in their ‘MiniReserve’. In this way, people may become more actively engaged in the environment and directly impact conservation efforts. Moreover, a MiniReserve would not require a lot of space; they may range in size from a few meters to up to a hectare. In such a space, each group can plant trees, bushes and flowers that are crucial to the habitats of many insects and small animals. Additionally, they might decide to create nest boxes for birds, or perhaps build a watering hole for amphibians. The beauty of the idea is that when you give an autonomous group the decision making power, they gain a deeper appreciation for nature and the interconnectedness of all life, and invest themselves more fully in the protection of wilderness.

Q: How do you see your project in 10 years? How do you see yourself in 10 years? 

Esperanza: In 10 years I hope that there will be many diverse groups of people participating in MiniReservas, led by autonomous groups of youth and community leaders.

In my personal life, I will be finished high school within the next couple of years, and would like to study geography in university. I hope to travel to many places around the world, meet diverse cultures, and share our ideas and experiences regarding the conservation of nature. In addition to travelling all over Spain and Europe, my goals include travelling to the Sahara Desert, Argentina, Chile and of course, Canada!

Q: Let's pretend this is the Oscars. Who would you like to thank? 

Esperanza: First of all, I would like to thank my father, who has taught me many things about nature and its conservation. Without his loving instruction, I probably would not have pursued this project further! I would also like to thank my mother and brother for always encouraging me to pursue my dreams. Finally, I owe a lot to everyone out there who has helped me with this project, whether it be by appearing in my videos, helping to produce the videos, spreading awareness about the project, or creating their own MiniReserva in their backyards and gardens. To all of you, THANK YOU! MUCHAS GRACIAS!

On a final note, I would like to remind everyone that if you have a great idea but you have doubt about whether to carry it out, please do not hesitate to do so and share your ingenuity with the world. Please do not think that your idea is not good enough, or that you can put off the idea for a better time. There is no better time than now to act on our environment, because in order to inspire greater change, often times all that is needed is a small, inspired and dedicated push.

If you are interested in participating or learning more about Esperanza’s project, please visit: www.minireservas.blogspot.com

Also, don’t forget to watch, like and share her Wilder World Challenge submission video, which can be found at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvU-JHLf8DU


Manuel Arias