Dispatch from the World Ranger Congress... they made it!
May 26, 2016
We, The Lala Salama Project, are a GRASSROOTS group of volunteers who want to do our part to support the individuals who are directly fighting destructive poaching activities on Mount Kenya: The Rangers.
Our currenct campaign is to support three Mount Kenya rangers attendance at the 2016 World Ranger Congress and share inspiring stories of success with American audiences.
The money raised through this campaign will be sent directly to Mount Kenya Trust, an incredible Kenya-based non-governmental organization that is also a registered U.K. Charity and American 501 3(c) organization.
Our workshop proposal, "Teamwork: Community, Conservation Challenges, and Cooperation in Mount Kenya National Park," was accepted at the 8th World Ranger Congress in Estes Park, Colorado in May 2016. The theme of the Congress is: “Connecting Parks, Rangers, and Communities.”
The workshop includes three rangers from Mount Kenya, including and Simon Gitau, Senior Warden at Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS); Susie Weeks, Executive Officer at Mount Kenya Trust (and Honorary KWS Ranger); and Edwin Kinyanjui, Senior Wildlife Community Officer at Mount Kenya Trust (and Honorary KWS Ranger). There will also be a short film shown by Filmmaker Brittany Retherford.
Funds raised through this effort will be used toward travel expenses for Susie, Simon and Edwin to attend the Congress and share the story of Mount Kenya's efforts with the world.
Any additional funds will be used to:
Purchase much-needed gear and equipment for the wildlife rangers who patrol Mount Kenya National Park and support the ongoing efforts of anti-poaching patrols and activities.
WHO ARE WE?
We are a small, but mighty team of dedicated volunteers, based in the United States, Kenya and Brazil.
The effort was sparked in April 2014 following a trip I (Brittany), made to Kenya to reconnect with an old friend, Simon Gitau, who happens to now be the Senior Warden of Mount Kenya National Park. Simon and I first met as students on a National Outdoor Leadership (NOLS) course, now 16 years ago! During the 2014 visit, Simon introduced me to dozens of rangers and helped me to understand the hard work involved in patrolling the mountain—often without recognition or reward.
Michelle Waterhouse, a passionate animal lover, jumped on board in 2015 and will be visiting Simon and the teams on Mount Kenya in February 2016! Also part of the effort are Brooke Retherford, Muchane Gichuru, and many others....
We wanted to find a way to help the rangers, many of whom are utilizing poor quality gear, living in tents or substandard housing, and spending weeks on end away from their families. We are looking to help better equip rangers for their jobs, while also provide opportunities for training, outreach and fundraising.
We determined that the best way to support the ongoing efforts on Mount Kenya is to raise funds on behalf of Mount Kenya Trust (www.mountkenyatrust.org), a local Kenyan organization and registered 501 c(3) via Tusk Trusk (www.tusk.org).
To learn more about The Lala Salama Project and a planned storytelling project profiling the rangers of Mount Kenya (which will be shown at the World Ranger Congress and other venues in 2016), please visit www.lalasalamaproject or find us on Facebook. Please also check our pages to follow along on with us in February 2016 as three of us (myself, Michelle, and Sheryl) visit Kenya as part of an awareness campaign to spread the word about the work of the rangers.
Also, Michelle's friend Kristi of k.rooker.jewels has generously created an elephant-inspired "Tusker" necklace, with proceeds going to the cause. And even Michelle's niece, Taylor, has joined the project. She also designed a piece of jewelry inspired by the wildlife of Kenya, with a portion of proceeds donated to the effort! Find out more by visiting our websites.