Update on my current volunteer efforts:
For my Senior Research Project, I am studying vocalizations and behavior in Panthera tigris - otherwise known as the Tiger. Far from penguins I know, but this news is worth sharing.
In Lucknow, India, a tiger has been seen "terrorizing" villagers and killing domesticated animals. Many efforts have been started to relocate this tiger, but so far no success. I was contacted two weeks ago regarding my vocalizations and if I could send in some of the recordings to a conservation organization for help in this effort.
I jumped at this opportunity because it is, after all, what the goal of my project was - to help save wild tigers. So, as of roughly a week ago, recordings of my internship tigers have started being used to help lure the Lucknow tiger to safety.
How awesome is that! Just goes to show you how far simple volunteering can get you. I hope I can inspire more to do the same.
To learn more about my project and the tigers I work with, please visit http://www.facebook.com/nationaltigersanctuary
Getting closer to my goal! I changed the overall total to once again reflect my donations I have received in person. Thanks to all for your help so far.
Taken by a Commercial Appeal photographer. Alyran the African Penguin and Me going to visit the reporters.
There is an amazing travel organization called STA Travel which focuses in providing low fares and travel insurance to students. My university had used this program when booking my New Zealand trip but, I had never thought about using it for my South Africa trip until now.
Thank goodness I thought of them! They have a ridiculously affordable plan which includes my plane ticket and travel insurance for only $1,700. How awesome is that!
Combining what I have earned on here ($700) and my in-person donations ($300) that means I only have another $700 left before I can buy my trip.
This is a much easier goal to accomplish than I had thought. Please share my page with all you know! I believe I can finish up this fundraiser within the next few weeks with the help of all of you.
Just totaled all of my donations received thus far...and...I'm almost half way there! Thanks so much to all of you who have donated. I could never do this without the help of all you kind people.
I have updated my overall goal to reflect my savings and donations I have received in person. I am still very far from my goal and still do not have the necessary funds to even buy my plane ticket.
Remember - no donation is too small! Even if it is the spare change you find in your pockets or in your car, it will still be greatly appreciated.
Thank you all for your kind support!
With finals week over and Christmas break finally setting in, I finally have time to update all of my volunteering sites. This past month I have had a lot of excitement including being interviewed by the daily newspaper of Memphis, TN. I will be posting more information about this as soon as the article is published! The Daily Penguin also wrote a blog entry about me. How exciting!
I have also been invited for an interview at one of my top veterinary school choices. It feels so nice to know that my life and dreams are finally all falling into place.
I hope all of you are enjoying your winter breaks and time off with your families. I hope you all stay safe and warm this holiday season as well.
Peace, Love, and Happiness,
Received donations over thanksgiving break! Slowly getting there. I will update the total accordingly with every in-person donation to keep you guys up-to-date with how I am doing.
I hope everyone had a great holiday!
Some exciting things have happened in the past few days. First of all, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette published an article about my volunteer experiences and my fundraising efforts for my Penguin Rehab trip! I am really hoping this will boost awareness and better aid me in my efforts as well as encourage other students to make a difference in their own ways.
Also, the zoo I intern at recently hatched two African Penguin chicks. This is another big achievement for this endangered species and for our zoo. As I was feeding them Sunday morning, I couldn't help but think about what awaits me at SANCCOB. It is very exciting to see this dream of mine slowly coming true.
On a side note, flight prices are beginning to increase for my departure time. I am hoping to raise $2,000 by the beginning of the year to ensure I get the cheapest ticket and a good flight time. Please spread the word to all your friends and family. I could use all the support I can get!
Thanks again to all those who are following my adventure and have donated already. Your support means more than you know.
My official Letter of Support from AVIVA - the supporting volunteer organization and a member of Cape Town Tourism.
Short video from the International Fund for Animal Welfare discussing the work SANCCOB does.
As more and more species become endangered, a need for more conservation volunteers grows. For years, I have been working with organizations of different levels helping endangered animals from the smallest bird to the largest mammal. This May I hope to embark on the largest trip I have ever done to work with SANCCOB in Capetown, South Africa. The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Seabirds works to conserve and protect seabirds through rehabilitation and awareness. With your support, I will be able to purchase airfare and travel insurance while in South Africa. Your support will also enable me to protect and preserve seabirds, like African Penguins, for future generations.
Learn more about SANCCOB here. You can also learn more about the organization I will be sponsored by here.
What I Will Be Doing_______________________________________
- 6-Week Volunteer Trip in Capetown, South Africa
- Working with SANCCOB
"As well as learning about the life-cycle and conservation of the African Penguin, which is still an
endangered species, you will also be very 'hands - on' as you are taught how to catch, hold, feed and tube
feed these wonderful birds each with their own individual characters.
You will care for the weak, the strong, the cheeky and the just plain daft and when the sun is high you will
probably find yourself longing to join them in the pool too! You will also be involved with the many other
tasks that need to be carried out daily including the preparation of fish, cleaning the pens, pools and mats, sterilizing syringes and many more things besides."
My Story _________________________________________________
life has been based upon one simple, short word "“ hope. We define it as feeling
something is possible no matter what, that what you want to accomplish can and
will happen. This something for me was a career with animals "“ specifically
conservation medicine. While growing up, I faced the challenge of living in a
small town with few opportunities as well as the only animals I saw on a daily
basis being cattle and dogs. Despite all the curves life threw at me, I never
year after graduating high school, I had been accepted into an ongoing
internship at the Memphis Zoo. This is where the story really begins. I started
working with the Bird Department - mainly with African Penguins. Although the
Zoo was over three hours away, I started making the trip every Saturday. These
little feathered creatures quickly got a hold on my heart and I soon found
myself wanting to know more and more about them. My wish came true when we
started a research collaboration with SANCCOB - The Southern African Foundation
for the Conservation of Coastal Seabirds. I grew an interest in SANCCOB and
wanted to travel to work with them personally but, could never afford the
expenses. So, I went on to volunteer at other stateside institutions.
if three hours was not enough, I journeyed to New Zealand where I was
surrounded by the some of the largest conservation efforts on the planet. From
there,I found myself invited to the Smithsonian Conservation Research Institute
where few undergraduates ever set foot. Now, I find myself traveling to an even
different state to volunteer at a tiger rescue sanctuary.
relaxing after one of these internships, I stumbled upon AVIVA's facebook page,
the organization which coordinates SANCCOB's international volunteers. They
were holding a contest in which the winner would receive the trip package to
work hands-on with SANCCOB in Capetown, South Africa. Extremely excited, I
started sharing the link to all my friends, hoping to get in as many contest
entries as possible. I awoke early that Friday morning to see the
results:and:posted at the top of the AVIVA page was my name announced as the
day since then has felt like a dream. It amazes me how far I've come since my
childhood and how far hope has carried me. I have found myself working with
some of the world's most amazing animals and become a better person along the
way. In just a few short months, I will find myself working alongside some of
the leaders in conservation work with African Penguins and other coastal birds.
is where all of you come in. Although I have won the trip package, my airfare
and living expenses are not included. Due to my college expenses and planning
for starting veterinary school in the Fall, I cannot make this trip without
help from all of you. Even if you cannot donate large amounts, every dollar
counts. With the help of my family, friends, and even kind strangers, I hope to
and will make a difference in the lives of the wild African Penguins I meet.