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20 YEARS OF COMMITMENT TO ENDANGERED SPECIES AND THEIR NATURAL HABITAT PanEcos`s founder Regina Frey in the year 1973 Full view


We celebrated our 20-year-anniversary at the end of August. Since 1996, PanEco has been involved in nature and wildlife conservation in Switzerland as well as in Indonesia. On this occasion we would like to take you on a journey through time. Which milestones has PanEco achieved over the last two decades?

The history of the foundation is closely linked to its founder Regina Frey. Regina has been involved in protecting the rain forest and its residents, the sumatra-orangutans, in Indonesia since 1973. The biologist continued her commitement in Switzerland and founded PanEco in 1996. Under the management of PanEco, the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP) has been realised as a joint venture between the Indonesian Governement and the local partner organisation YEL.
At the same time, PanEco took the lead and initiated an environmental education centre named «NeulandWeinland» in the community of Flaach (Zurich), which was transferred into the «Naturzentrum Thurauen» in 2001. In 2008, PanEco included the Berg am Irchel Bird of Prey Sanctuary into the foundation. With this achievement a familiy history has been continued: Veronika von Stockar – Regina Frey`s Mother – founded the Bird of Prey Sanctuary 60 years ago, after Regina brought her an injured kestrel.

Impressions of the anniversary:

Important milestones in the history of the foundation:

The founder Regina Frey with a young orangutan

1973: The beginning of everything
In the summer of 1973, two Swiss graduates travelled to Sumatra on behalf of WWF International in order to build up a orangutan rehabilitation centre. Regina Frey was one of them. This career start can be seen as the basis for the many-sided engagements of PanEco nowadays.
> Film «Orangutan Orphans of the Forest»

1996: The foundation of PanEco in Berg am Irchel
In order to meet the more stringent requirements of the growing foundation, Regina Frey founded PanEco. The office is located in the historic centre of Berg am Irchel in the canton of Zurich, which is her native village.

1999: Establishment of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program
In July 1999, the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme was established when a memorandum of understanding was signed with the Indonesian Office for Nature Conservation. This agreement describes the mutual obligations and is a prerequisite for all of PanEco’s project activities in the field of orangutan and rainforest conservation.

2004: Starting environmental education in Switzerland under the name «NeulandWeinland»/strong>
Pan Eco`s regional commitment has been started twelve years ago. At the time, PanEco institutionalised its claim of environmental education and opened the doors to the environmental education centre NeulandWeinland. From then on children as well as adults have been sensitised to act responsible in concern to nature in numerous projects, adventure days and courses.

2004/2005: Tsunami – intense commitement and building up a hospital in Aceh
Due to the local and emotional connection to Sumatra, the tsunami catastrophe was a serious shock for PanEco. The team tried everything to organise local help in Sumatra. One of the projects was establishing a hospital in the Indonesian Province of Aceh.

The founder of the Bird of Prey Sanctuary: Veronika von Stockar

2008: Incorporation of the Berg am Irchel Bird of Prey Sanctuary
At the end of 2008, Veronika von Stockar handed over the lead of the Bird of Prey Sanctuary to the foundation. The following years were dominated by the renovation and development of an even more professionalised rehabilitation station

2011: Opening of the Thurauen Nature Centre and the restaurant Rübis&Stübis
The most current milestone took place five years ago. In cooperation with the canton of Zurich the nature centre was established and opened its doors along with the restaurant Rübis&Stübis.
Besides running the Thurauen Nature Centre, as «the door of the protected alluvial area», environmental education is still a very important aim of PanEco.

> Regina Frey`s portrait in the «Andelfinger Zeitung»: PDF