When I was in the 4th grade, my science teacher, Mrs. Winters, was the first real conservationist I had ever met. She introduced all of us to the idea that animals were not simply on this planet for human use, nor should they be valued simply for what they could do to serve mankind. This was such an eye-opening experience for me. During my year with Mrs. Winters I learned about the research being done by women like Jane Goodall and Diane Fossey, and I became completely enamoured with them both, and completely horrified by what was happening to the mountain gorillas. These intelligent, social, family oriented creatures being slaughtered so their hands could be turned into ashtrays! Or so their Babies could be sold to zoos , though the often died during transit, and often many members of the family group had to be killed as they tried to protect them. These are wondrous creatures who have every right to a safe and happy existence, and the fact that there are still less than 1000 shows us how much work there is left to do. So, I will be donning a gorilla suit and running/walking a 5k (plus adding my donation), to do my part, and am hoping I can get others to join me in at least a small financial gift to keep this work going, that Diane Fossey believed in so much that she gave her life for it. Thanks in advance!