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Help Steph become an epic Nature educator!

Closed Cause page created in the Environment category by Stephanie Tong

$3,452 of $12,500 goal

Given by 29 generous donors in around 4 months


Get Steph to the ultimate in Nature-mentoring training at the Wilderness Awareness School's immersion programme for adults - Anake

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Tēnā koutou!

From creating a petition against whaling when I was six, to becoming a biodiversity monitoring ranger a few years ago, a great love for Nature has always been central to my life.Somehow, the Wilderness Awareness School pulls together all my varied experiences and interests into service of that which I love the most – this amazing planet and its people. And it does this in the most incredible way, at a time when we need it the most.

This is my path of service, my opportunity to give something back to the land and life that raised me. Everything I have been learning and living has led to this. It’s been a long time coming and I’m ready to fly!

I believe that deep authentic connection with Nature, Community and Self is an essential part of a thriving future for us all. With modern life becoming increasingly indoor oriented, disconnected and tech-centric, it's a vital time to grow our capacity for a balanced, nature-connected culture and a more delicious relationship with our wild planet and wild selves.

With your help, I will have an amazing opportunity to learn from the pro's, weave together my life's passions into service as a Nature educator and bring the harvest back to Aotearoa for you all!


A leader in the nature connection movement for over 30 years, the Wilderness Awareness School has been crafting a powerful framework for profound connection, eco-literacy and inspired action.

Combining scientific knowledge, ancestral wisdom and skills, and a unique mentoring approach, they create an 'invisible school' that offers a radical and refreshing form of environmental education. It's fun! It includes all of us. And it works with your nature so it's already in your bones!


The Anake programme is a 9 month immersion into this kaupapa and is taught through 8 core areas or 'sheilds' of study:

1. Naturalist Studies - Cultivating Deep Nature Connection and Knowledge of Place

2. Community Leadership - Mentoring and Peacemaking

3. Wilderness Survival and Bushcraft - Skills for Living with the Land

4. Natural and Cultural Heritage - Exploring Ancestry and Lineage

5. Bird Language and Intuitive Awareness - Sharpening Sensory Perception

6. Permaculture and Land Stewardship - Tending/Designing Regenerative Landscapes

7. The Art and Science of Wildlife Tracking - Interpreting Patterns of Life

8. Self Discovery - Personal Awareness and Expression

Sounds pretty awesome eh!


When it comes to nature connection, 'being the change you wish to see' is very true. Research has shown that you cannot impart authentic connection with Nature unless the educator themselves is connected, no matter how highly trained in the pedagogy you are.

Anake offers a rare opportunity for me to develop a deep sense of rootedness in the skills, knowledge, practice and experience of nature connection and the unique educational framework WAS offers. This creates a solid foundation from which to begin the mentoring journey.

Upon graduation I will complete the second year of training - The Anake Leadership Programme. This is a type of internship with the WAS working as an assistant mentor on their award-winning programmes. There I will gain experience mentoring in a variety of settings, as well as receive additional instructor and skills based training. This my friends, will set me in good stead to truly be a bad-ass nature mentor and bring all these awesome skills back to New Zealand for you all!


So much!

$3000 scholarship from the Earthskin Trust – Course deposit is paid for!

$4500 scholarship from the Wilderness Awareness School – towards course fees.

Over $3000 in donations from 27 generous donors through my previous Give-a-little page ( flights and visa’s are paid for!

Over $3000 from this page that has gone towards course fees 

$1000 private donation –accommodation deposit is sorted! Thank you Nancy!

A 20L donation of delicious raw honey for me to sell. Yum yum!

Weaving workshop series – organised, delivered and thoroughly enjoyed

Nature connection and Bushcraft school holiday programme – organised and co-delivered. What a blast, thank you Anna Fox!

Piha Winter Warm Up Fundraising Event – generated $2500 to go towards me not being homeless and has left me feeling super supported and loved - thank you all so much!

So, with generosity from awesome people like you and a lot of mahi from me, things have really come together so that I can arrive in this new land and begin this learning experience. Looking ahead, I still have about $10,000 of course fees to pay so that I can stay here and continue my studies in this awesome kaupapa.

I invite you to support this cause and join me in working towards a more nature-savvy, culturally connected and thriving planet. Every little bit counts and takes us one step closer to this bigger vision and my personal, decade-long dream. I’m really open to ideas on raising funds so if you have something you think could work please get in touch!

There really is nothing I would rather do with my life! I feel so much gratitude for all the support given so far, and all to come. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

"Kō to hoe, ko taku hoe, ka tere te waka e"

"With your paddle and my paddle, the waka shall travel quickly"

And there is no time to waste.

Ngā mihi maioha,


Use of funds

All funds from this page will go towards the remaining course fee's for Steph to study at the Anake Outdoor School, at the Wilderness Awareness School in Seattle, USA.

Latest update

So Much More Than A Fundraiser  9 September 2019

Posted by: Stephanie Tong

I’ve said it already but I’d really like to extend a big thank you again to everyone who helped and came to the Piha Winter Warm Up. You have all made my world so much richer and I feel much gratitude towards all of you. I knew it would be a beautiful night because of the people I knew were coming, but, unexpectedly, it turned into so much more than a good night of raising funds.

It felt more like a community celebration of something beautiful, and for me, some kind of right of passage into this journey. As I walk into this adventure, I feel so supported by you all. I feel stronger, more connected to my human community, and interestingly have more faith in myself.

We also recieved so much great feedback about the event, and it makes me really happy to know that I was able to be part of giving you guys a fun, meaningful, delicious and connective experience. It turned out to be a very successful night, with a full house and no spare seats! We raised $2,500 which will go towards me not being homeless – so thank you!!

This whole fund-raising experience has been full of suprises and unexpected gifts, including learning something of recieving, as well as new things about the world of giving. Everytime someone authentically gives, there is a hearty, rising force inside me that wants to give something back. The multiplying effect of true giving is something I have not been conciously aware of before. The monetary gifts provide a platform for this coming adventure to occur, but it is the act of being gifted to and supported that I find truely energising, and this is what will send your gifts on to become more, and more gifts again.

I can’t think of a more appropriate way to begin this experience of deepening into relationship with the wild world, human and non human alike. It is, after all, how we all began – with being given this miraculous gift of life, while at the same time being a gift to the world we come into. I am looking forward to going deeper into gratitude and this remembering that all of our lives are faciltated from the countless daily gifts from plants and animals, from air and sun and sea, from our fellow humans and beings that we cannot see. How full I feel when I remember! Thank you for being part of that!

Ahhh we have achieved so much, monetary and otherwise! I still have the second half of the tuition to raise with the next scheduled payment coming up on on the 15th of September. I would love your help! I have a few ideas for generating some more income but it will take a few months to get off the ground. So, I’ve set a goal to raise another $2500 ( two months worth) by my due date – it’s ambitious but I know with your help I can get there. There two primary ways you can support this mighty mission:

• Make a financial contribution

• Personally share this cause with your people (individually is best), and talk about why you think its a worthy cause

• Donate or sell a gift, perhaps something you’ve made that I can auction

• Let me know if you have any other ideas, I’m open to things happening in new and unexpected ways!

Oh and if anyone knows how to prepare harakeke I thought I could run a workshop here - but I need at least 400 strips of softened, boiled and dried flax. Let me know if that feels good! :-)

Much gratitude to you wonderful people x



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Latest donations

  • Kim

    Kim on 22 Oct 2019


    Go well with this beautiful Mahi.


  • Laurie

    Laurie on 22 Oct 2019



  • Kay

    Kay on 20 Oct 2019



  • Max

    Max on 10 Sep 2019


    Have a great journey Steph!


    • Stephanie Tong

      Aww thanks so much Max!! xxx love to you and your beautiful ladies xxx

  • Amy

    Amy on 10 Sep 2019



    • Stephanie Tong

      Thank you so much Amy!! Love you and miss your face in my world x you would love it here. Come visit!

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This page was created on 20 Jul 2019 and closed on 30 Nov 2019.
$3,452 of $12,500 goal

Given by 29 generous donors in around 4 months

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