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2005 Filmer Award

Chris Patton, the recipient of this year's "Rob and Julie Filmer Award", was interviewed on SABC Africa this morning by Peter Ndoro.

What a great interview and our congrats to Chris! Chris, who works for South African National Parks received this year's award for his ongoing efforts to making our natural areas in South Africa accessible to people with disabilities. In particular, Chris has worked tirelessly to ensure that our National Parks are accessible to all South Africans regardless of their ability. Eco-Access salutes Chris! The award was handed over to Chris by South African hero, Sibusiso Vilane, the first African to summit Mt Everest!

Comments from Rob and Julie Filmer - Eco-Access

Last night we attended the Rob and Julie Filmer Awards presented by Eco-Access in Midrand and the winner this year is our friend and colleague in conservation Chris Patton.

Chris was recognised for his work in bringing people with disabilities to the National Parks in so many ways and sensitising National Parks to the needs of people with disabilities. Heartiest congratulations to Chris on this wonderful achievement.

A bit more about Eco-Access

It was founded in 1994 by Rob and Julie Filmer to champion the rights of disabled people to access the natural environment. Rob is a blind conservationist who worked as a ranger in Mpumalanga (then the Eastern Transvaal) before losing his sight through diabetes. The organisation has also combined this objective with a focus on addressing the high levels of disempowerment and segregation experienced by disabled children. Consequently Eco-Access's ultimate objective has been to use access to the natural environment as a medium to empower both disabled and non-disabled people, specifically children, by allowing them to participate in an interactive learning process called "Twinning" (where for example a sighted child is twinned with a blind child on a nature trail).

Eco-Access is looking for support and funding for all the programs that it runs. If you or your organisation would like to explore the possibility of developing a partnership with Eco-Access, please contact Rob or Julie on 011 477 3676 or email at

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