Today we speak to Roxy Rogan, a young Australian filmmaker and environmentalist, who founded her own conservation enterprise called Wild Education, dedicated to empowering, educating and encouraging individuals to be the next care takers of our planet.
Q: Hi Roxy, thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. We have a lot of questions but we’ll start with a simple one: when did your love for wildlife begin?
From a very young age I remember always being fascinated with wildlife, I had a real connection and empathy towards animals, plants and the earth. I remember playing ‘vet’ with my stuffed toys as a child and thinking that helping animals was the coolest thing someone could do. So I suppose my whole life!
Q: Do you have a ‘most memorable wildlife moment’?
One of my most memorable wildlife moments was in South Africa when I was 18 years old, seeing a massive herd of elephants (80+) and these two individuals from across the plains walked towards each other and then embraced by interlocking there trunks and learning back into the embrace, it was like they were hugging! Very cool moment I’ll never forget.
Q: You founded a conservation enterprise called Wild Education. Can you tell us a bit more about that and what inspired you to do so?
Wild is a conservation education enterprise that specialises in a holistic approach to education, we use tools such as documentary film making and workshops to engage and empower our audiences to care more deeply for the planet! My inspiration came from when I returned home from interning in South Africa at the age of 19. I felt like I had been exposed to the world of conservation and really found my ‘calling’ I knew that this was something I wanted to do but couldn’t find an organisation that did exactly what I was wanting, so I decided to make my own!
Q: You left university to follow a more hands on approach in the field. What would you recommend the next generation who want to follow in your footsteps and are looking to either gain experience or get a degree?
My decision to leave university for me personally was the best thing I could have done at that time in my life. It allowed me to expand my horizons and make my first documentary! For others I would say, trust your instincts, make your own path and you have to try things first in order to know what does and does not work for you! Attending university is an absolute privilege and if it aligns with what you want to do with your life – go for it.
Q: With no filmmaking or acting background, you set off to Borneo to produce two short documentaries: ‘Person of the Forest’ & ‘Keepers of the Forest’. Tell us a bit about your experience, the message behind these short films and why this was important to you.
My decision to go and make a film in Borneo in 2016 was a bold move to say the least. I had no filmmaking experience, but I knew that documentaries would be an effective tool to send a strong message. I personally produced the film and had a small team who filmed, edited and composed for the film to make it come to life!
My Second documentary, Keepers Of The Forest was filmed in Sumatra. I intended to go over there with a videographer who lives in Sumatra and just film our experiences, I didn’t know exactly what we were going to film, who we could interview or what we were going to do with it after it was finished! But it all seemed to come together in the end. This time I dove in the deep end and Directed, Produced, Wrote and Narrated the film! Lots of hats for someone with little experience. The messages behind both these films is similar… Empowering global communities to make the environment a priority. Educating the public about certain environmental issues whilst also giving them some solutions to these issues.
Q: These films clearly show the issues facing the survival of Orangutans in the Indonesian Jungle and through your own education of the severity of the situation you have become an ambassador for the ‘Orangutan Alliance’. The Orangutans are quickly losing all of their habitat and big organisations need to do more to stop the mass production of palm oil. Do you see any hope on the horizon?
Orangutan Alliance are a fantastic company that is dedicated to certifying products which are palm oil free so it is easier and more transparent for us as consumers! I believe hope without action is pointless, I see a shift in consciousness within people, I see a wave of younger generations wanting to fight for their future and I see incredible organisations working tirelessly to do more for the orangutans. But there is still so much more to do!
Q: ‘Person of the Forest’ was premiered in NYC in October 2018 at the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival and selected as ‘Best Endangered Species Film’. Your most recent short film ‘Keepers of the Forest’ has been selected again this year to premiere in October. First of all, congratulations on the recognition for your work.
Thank you! It takes a huge amount of love and dedication to make films, feature or short. Really, I couldn’t have done any of it without my team! I think having people and platforms that are willing to help independent filmmakers and conservationist get their work out there is so important and I’m grateful that my work is being recognised!
Q: We are always interested in what we can learn from conservation photographers and filmmakers. Are there any Wildlife filmmakers that you admire and what is it about their work that inspires you?
Paul Hilton is one of my most admired photojournalists! His work is a combination of rawness and brutality and utter beauty and serenity. He is such a passionate individual and has a great platform to spread his messages!
Q: Coming back to your Social Enterprise, Wild Education is launching a Sustainability Program soon for primary schools in NSW, Australia. Can you give us an insight into the program and what to expect?
Yes we are! It’s been a lengthy process. Without giving too much away, it is a 8 week sustainability course that focuses on three core subjects ‘WASTE, OUR IMPACT and ECO-SYSTEMS’ the content is all aligned with the national curriculum and students will also get to make their own ‘documentary’ of accounts of their progress of the course. It is available for primary school students only at the moment and will be released later this year.
Q: What is on the horizon for you?
Alot! You can expect to see Wild continue to distribute and produce more documentaries/films in the future. School events and much more. We have also just launched Wild Education merchandise to help support our filmmaking projects which you can find at www.wildeducation.net/shop
Q: Lastly, how can people contribute to the work you do and where can they follow you?
People who would like to contribute financially to support wild can do so by purchasing our merchandise (www.wildeducation.net/shop) Singing up to our sustainability course for your kids! and renting our films when they become available online.
Thank you Roxy for your time, it has been truly inspirational talking to you. For someone so young to have achieved so much already, we can’t wait to see what the future holds for you and the positive contribution you bring to wildlife conservation.
Thank YOU so much for taking the time to speak with me and having this amazing platform, all the best.
In a world where the message for wildlife conservation is as important as ever, Roxy plays an important role in educating others about the plight of our endangered animals. Roxy has continued to inspire people of all ages and walks of life with her unwavering passion for the environment. You can follow her work at https://wildeducation.net/ and social media channels she mentioned.