Miles Kirby wrote -
Hey Everyone! Thanks for visiting our Lewa Marathon fundraising site! We hope you will consider supporting our run for Tusk Trust, an organization that "uses wildlife conservation as a catalyst to alleviate poverty, reduce conflict, and improve education and livelihoods in rural areas rich in biodiversity."
Some of you perhaps need an introduction...
Garret and Miles live and work together in western Kenya.
By day (and often night), they work on a water, sanitation, hygiene, and nutrition research study that aims to evaluate the impacts of such interventions on children's health. By dawn and dusk, they can be found on the trails around Kakamega, bushwacking, falling, getting chased by kids, running into bats, holding breaths running past latrines, getting lost, spotting snakes and chameleons, and saying habari to befuddled locals (crazy mzungus!).
Some of what Garret and Miles invariably hear during these adventures includes:
"Mzungu, how are you!"
"Let me run with you!"
"You give me your dog"
"Where are you going"
"Well done well done well done"
"Practice make perfect"
"One heart, one peace brotha"
"Go go go!"
Considering the nature of these runs, it's no suprise that Garret and Miles have just now gotten around to fundraising for the marathon and Tusk Trust. There are less than 3 weeks until the marathon (Miles's first and Garret's umpteenth), but that is plenty of time to think about how you love safari animals and care about the people whose livelihoods are intricately connected to them. Please donate to help protect this delicate balance.
More details about the marathon are below.
Thanks for your consideration!
TUSK's 13th Safaricom Marathon and Half Marathon will take place at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, 140 miles north of Nairobi, on Saturday 30th June 2012. Organised by Tusk Trust and supported by Safaricom, this fundraising event will host 1,000 runners from 20 different countries. The Safaricom Marathon is regarded as one of the ten toughest marathons in the world. However, participants of all abilities take part, from recreational runners, walkers and amateurs, to professionals like former world record holder, Paul Tergat.
The event is run through some of Africa’s most beautiful scenery. Mount Kenya lies to the south and there are breath-taking views north towards Samburu and Mount Lololokwe. The heavily protected 65,000 acre wildlife sanctuary is home to over 100 rhino, herds of elephant and vast numbers of plains game including zebra, giraffe, buffalo and much more.
The impact of the event has been huge and the benefits tangible. Since its inception, the event has raised over $2.5 million for projects across Kenya. Tusk Trust has been a conservation partner to the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy since its creation twenty years ago, and has always shared a common goal to use wildlife conservation as a catalyst to alleviate poverty, reduce conflict, and improve education and livelihoods in rural areas rich in biodiversity.
Twenty years ago Africa was in the midst of a poaching crisis. Black rhino were on the brink of extinction (just 2,000 remained) and the African elephant population was being slaughtered at a rate of 100,000 each year for their ivory. Drastic times required urgent action.
Tusk was established in response to a critical need to halt the decline in Africa’s natural heritage, but it has since become much more than that because Tusk is also interested in people. There is no realistic way to end this poaching crisis without effecting change in the communities that live alongside the very species we strive to protect. Tusk recognizes that the resolution of conflict between a growing human population and endangered wildlife hinges on three main pillars: Protecting Wildlife, Supporting Communities, and Promoting Education. By launching initiatives with respect to these three areas, Tusk seeks to pursue an aggressive campaign for the future of Africa, its people, and its natural environment.
Through the support of Tusk and its partner organizations across Africa, greater protection has been afforded to some 36 endangered species over a combined land mass equivalent to 10 times the size of Belgium. Some of the threatened species that have benefited include the African elephant, black and white rhino, cheetah, chimpanzee, mountain and lowland gorilla, African wild dog, Grevy’s zebra, giant sable and hawksbill turtle.
In conjunction with its partners in the field, Tusk has been at the forefront of establishing and promoting community-led initiatives which link the implementation of greater security, infrastructure, healthcare and employment through responsible tourism and other nature-based enterprises with conservation. Projects supported by the charity directly employ 1,370 people and benefit over half a million others.
Tusk’s Pan African Conservation Education (PACE) Project has been designed to address a dearth in environmental education. The highly acclaimed set of teaching materials and films acts as both a tool for such education and a stimulus to adopt sound and sustainable policies. To date, over 150,000 children and students across the continent have been exposed to Tusk’s PACE program. Furthermore, Tusk provides much needed financial support to help build and improve facilities for rural schools, and other education centers across Africa. Over 72,000 students attend schools and education centers supported by Tusk.