When I was a young girl, I lived in Kenya. I spent long days at Masai Mara game reserve, a massive wildlife park (and popular tourist destination) where the animals roam free. I watched the lions sleeping in the hot afternoon sun; the gazelles, fleet of foot and on the watch for cats; and the zebras swishing their tails, a black and white tangle of shivering flanks. The boars rammed each other in the tall grass. A herd of elephants circled to protect a single calf. As the sun started to set, the nocturnal animals emerged: the hammer-headed fruit bat; the aardvark with its long snout and shuffling gait; the bush baby with wide, staring eyes and a whip-like tail; and the civet who’s musk is used in the fanciest perfumes.
I write a lot about New Orleans. I’ve only ever read about it or seen movies about it. The show Treme is one of my favorite programs on television. It’s a little strange to have such a deep love and respect for a place you’ve never been. New Orleans looms large in my imagination—the music, the culture, Mardi Gras, the French Quarter—all conspire to create this legendary, mystical realm in my mind.
Coral reefs are some of our most precious ecosystems. They are often referred to as the rain forests of the sea because they are home to such a wide variety of plants and animals—creatures crucial to the survival and health of the world’s oceans. Over the past few decades, coral reefs have been dying around the world. As crucial keystone species go extinct, the health of our ocean creatures and, by direct extension, our terrestrial ones, are in great danger. Enter: Ken Nedimyer.
When city officials, reeling from the massive tsunami that ravaged Japan, realized their Fukushima Daiichi power plant was facing a potential melt down, they were at a loss. The surrounding villages were under an evacuation order—the plant was about to vent radioactive vapor to avoid an infrastructure collapse and the resulting radiation would be extremely hazardous to human health—yet someone had to stay behind to operate the machinery. Who could they possibly find to make that kind of sacrifice?
In keeping with our last few posts about wildlife volunteering, I’d like to introduce you to a couple of conservation volunteer heroes: Tommie and Theresa Berger, the masterminds behind Kansas’ Outdoor Adventure Camp. They were finalists in Field and Stream Magazine’s Conservation Heroes of the Year contest in 2011 but they were volunteering to make a difference long before that.