I find it highly ironic that on the night of our Big Cats Initiative fundraising event, September 18, 2012, Mother Nature decides to throw us her own version of a molotov cocktail – which included tornado warnings, flash flood warnings, high winds and driving rain. Understandably, we had some cancellations, but despite the absolutely horrendous weather conditions we had about 35 guests come out in support of us and the Big Cats. The embrace we received was heartfelt and we so appreciated everyone’s willingness to participate in such a generous way. One of our invited guest speakers who was scheduled to attend was Dr. Laly Lichtenfeld. Laly co-founded the African People and Wildlife Fund and is also a Big Cats Initiative grantee. The majority of her group’s work is done in East Africa, primarily in Tanzania. Laly was in the States visiting and getting ready for the birth of her baby. We completely understood when she called us and said it just wasn’t safe for her to make the long car ride to Connecticut. She did share with us that as a result of her team’s work and funding from National Geographic, the African People and Wildlife Fund will have constructed 200 “living walls” (chain link fences combined with fast growing native thorn bushes) by year-end 2012 and these 200 living walls will be protecting over 50,000 heads of livestock from the easy grips of the big cats – making it a much safer living environment for all involved, the Cats, the cattle, the goats and People! This is just one example of the kind of difference that we all can make when we support grantees like the African People and Wildlife Fund.
My good friend Avis shared a great quote with me this past summer and it really resonated. We shared it with everyone the night of our event who braved Mother Nature to support Mother Nature. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Who you are speaks so loud I can’t hear what you’re saying”. The corollaries of course being, “talk is cheap” and “actions speak louder than words”. Evan and I wanted to make something happen and we continue to act with that intention. We are still tallying and collecting, but I think/hope we will raise close to $30,000 from our 9/18/12 event, if everyone follows through as they have promised. The Big Cats thank you, as do we.