Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV) was established in 2000 as Vietnam’s first non-governmental organization focused on the conservation of nature and the protection of the environment. ENV combats the illegal wildlife trade and aims to foster greater understanding amongst the Vietnamese public about the need to protect nature and wildlife. ENV employs creative and innovative strategies to influence public attitudes and reduce demand for wildlife trade products. ENV works closely with government partners to strengthen policy and legislation, and directly supports enforcement efforts in the protection of endangered species of regional, national, and global significance.
ENV Strategic Programs
Since 2007, ENV has focused its activities on three major program areas that comprise ENV’s integrated strategic approach for addressing illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam. These include:
- Reducing consumer demand for wildlife products through investment in a long-term and sustained effort to influence public attitudes and behavior.
- Strengthening enforcement through direct support and assistance to law enforcement agencies, and mobilizing active public participation in helping combat wildlife crime.
- Working with policy-makers to strengthen legislation, close loopholes in the law, and promote sound policy and decision-making relevant to wildlife protection.
In the 1990s, after decades of war and isolation, environmental awareness was still a very new concept in Vietnam. However, a small group of passionate, young Vietnamese people recognized a great need for sustainable, long-term, locally-led environmental education across the country. With this goal, Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV) was established in 2000.
The idea to create a local NGO focused on the conservation of nature and the environment was born from ENV’s Founder and current Executive Director, Vu Thi Quyen. At the time, she was working for the Cuc Phuong Conservation Project (CPCP) under Fauna & Flora International, delivering Vietnam’s first sustained community based environmental awareness program in the buffer zone of Cuc Phuong National Park.
As CPCP became recognized as a national model for community-based environmental education, staff began to come from other national parks to learn from it.
Recognizing the need to develop and expand a sustainable Vietnamese-led initiative to train educators and protected area staff beyond the life of the FFI project, Quyen came upon the idea of establishing her own organization. And thus, ENV was born.
In the early days, ENV continued the CPCP work of training environmental educators, focusing a majority of its efforts on developing programs at national parks and nature reserves.
However at the same time, Vietnam’s economy was rapidly developing, and this new prosperity also brought increased demand for exotic wildlife dishes and traditional medicines that were formerly beyond the reach of most ordinary citizens. In 2004, in response to rising consumer demand, ENV began shifting its approach towards tackling the difficult issue of the illegal wildlife trade on a national scale.
Since then, ENV’s strategy has developed to include the operation of a toll-free National Wildlife Crime Hotline 1800 1522 to enable public reporting of crimes, extensive public awareness and mobilization campaigns, the development of the Wildlife Crime Unit to support and strengthen law enforcement in wildlife protection, and a policy and legislation program to close legal loopholes and advocate effective government policy.
Today, ENV has grown to employ around 30 dedicated staff in two offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, has a volunteer force of approximately 7,500 members, and a steadily-increasing support base both within Vietnam and internationally. ENV is committed to making a difference, and will continue to fight for wildlife protection and to end the illegal wildlife trade.
Why we do this
Vietnam is recognized globally for its unique biodiversity. With a relatively small land area stretching over 1,600km from north to south, Vietnam is home to many rare and endangered species, including species that are found nowhere else in the world.
However, rapid economic growth over the past 15 years has resulted in rising consumer demand for expensive foods and medicines made from wildlife that were formerly beyond the reach of most ordinary Vietnamese. Hunting and trade of wildlife has led to the decline of wild populations of many mammal, bird, and reptile species. In 2010, the Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus) was declared extinct in Vietnam. Now, Indochinese tigers (Panthera tigris corbetti), Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), the newly-discovered saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis), and a number of rare primate species hang on the brink of extinction in Vietnam.
To feed this rising public demand for wildlife, a vast criminal network operates across borders into neighboring countries and beyond, bringing wildlife from as far away as Africa to Vietnamese consumers.
ENV recognizes the urgency of the situation facing Vietnam, and the global responsibility we share to do our part to protect endangered wildlife. We are driven by the understanding that we must make a meaningful and lasting difference through our work to successfully safeguard the future of not just Vietnam’s wildlife, but global populations of species destined for Vietnamese consumers.
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Help us Succeed!
As a local non-profit organization in Vietnam, ENV is actively working to address the illegal consumption and trade of wildlife through unique and creative approaches that have a meaningful impact upon wildlife protection. Your support is crucial to our efforts and will help us continue our work and make a difference.
Executive Director and Founder- Vu Thi Quyen
In 1996, when Quyen graduated from Hanoi National University, she immediately went to work for Fauna and Flora International (FFI), a UK-based NGO working in Cuc Phuong National Park (Vietnam’s first national park located about 120 km southwest of Hanoi). At Cuc Phuong, Quyen developed and ran the park’s community-based environmental education program, focused on raising awareness within local communities about the need to protect the park. It was the first program of its kind in Vietnam.
Having pioneered the program model at Cuc Phuong, Quyen began training environmental educators from national parks and nature reserves throughout Vietnam. In 2000, less than two years before the formal end of the FFI project at Cuc Phuong, Quyen founded ENV, the country’s first nature and environment-focused local non-government organization, as a means of sustaining her efforts to train educators and influence attitudes and behavior on a much larger scale. Under Quyen’s leadership, ENV evolved to focus on what Quyen considers to be the greatest threat to her country’s wildlife (as well as that of the region): hunting and illegal wildlife trade, driven by an ever-increasing consumer demand.
In 2008, Quyen completed her Masters in Geography specializing in natural resource management. In addition to her role as Executive Director, Quyen also directly manages the policy and legislation program at ENV.
Her husband Douglas Hendrie serves as a technical advisor to ENV. They have two daughters, Kylee and Katherine, and currently split their time between working in Vietnam and the U.S.
Vice Director, Head of Policy and Legislation Department - Bui Thi Ha
Having earned a BA and an MA from two prestigious law schools of Vietnam, Ha is arguably the country’s foremost expert on wildlife protection law. Ha has contributed to, and often led, efforts to strengthen Vietnam’s wildlife protection laws, works directly with prosecutors and judges to ensure that Vietnam’s new penal code is applied to the fullest extent, and provides support and legal advice to law enforcement and the judicial system on application of current laws. Ha’s passion for wildlife, combined with her expertise in wildlife protection law, have resulted in unprecedented impacts on behalf of wildlife in Vietnam over the past few years.
Operations Director - Nguyen Thi Phuong Dung
Dung came to work for ENV in 2003 as a Communications Officer soon after graduating from Hanoi National University. Originally from Cao Bang province on the border with China, Dung’s father, now retired, was the Director of the Provincial Forest Protection Department, an influence that must have inspired Dung from an early age. While others came and went through the ENV door, Dung remained steadfast and committed to making a difference for wildlife in her country, moving up through the ranks of ENV to become the Director of Operations in 2010. Dung plays the critical role of running the organization day to day, and directly manages ENV’s efforts to reduce demand and consumption of wildlife. Dung has been a member of the ENV management board since 2006. She is married and has two daughters, Trang and Linh.
Chief Financial Officer and Administration Manager - Nhan Thi Hien
Hien has degrees in Accounting, English, and Southeast Asian Studies, and extensive work experience in the business sector focused on program administration. In 2010, Hien came to work with ENV filling the difficult and critically important role dealing with finances and managing office operations. Hien is credited with bringing ENV’s financial and administrative capacity up to par with legal requirements, and implementing policies and procedures that have greatly helped ENV accommodate performance and growth. Hien has been a member of the management board since 2011. She is married and has a son and a daughter.
Chief Technical Advisor - Douglas Hendrie
Doug first came to Vietnam in 1996 to complete his Master Degree research, and then returned in 1997 to work for Fauna and Flora International as Director of the Cuc Phuong Conservation Project at Cuc Phuong National Park. There at the park, he met Quyen, who he married in 2000. Since then, Doug has worked to support the development of ENV as Chief Technical Advisor.
However, Doug has worn many hats during his long stint in Vietnam, contributing a portion of his time to ENV, while also founding the Asian Turtle Program in pursuit of his life-long interest in tortoises and freshwater turtles. Additionally, in 2004, Doug helped establish the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Vietnam program. Doug is also credited with helping to establish the Small Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Program and Turtle Conservation Center at Cuc Phuong National Park, both of which were programs under the Cuc Phuong Conservation Project he directed. He sits on the boards of the UK-based non-profit organization Indo-Myanmar Conservation and the Turtle Conservation Fund, and recently established a new NGO in the United States dedicated to helping support conservation efforts in Vietnam.
Presently, Doug works full time for ENV, serving on the management board and tasked with strategic development of ENV and its staff. He also directly manages ENV’s Wildlife Crime and Investigations Unit. Doug has a Masters in Wetland Science and Conservation from the University of Massachusetts. Like his wife Quyen, he currently splits his time between working in Vietnam and the US.
Special thanks to the following people who have helped in the creation and development of ENV: