When I lived in Cincinnati in the 1990s I learned of a truly unique enterprise aimed at helping research biologists in developing countries. I was reminded of this just the other day when I was made aware of another such effort through a different organization. The holiday gift-giving season seems a perfect time indeed to let you all in on these two secrets.
Idea Wild is a non-profit organization founded in 1991 by Wally Van Sickle. Since that time the non-governmental organization has grown steadily in the number of projects it has facilitated, the number of developing nations it has established relationships with, and in the dollars donated to its cause. That cause is to furnish field, laboratory, and office equipment to research conservationists for use in their native lands.
There are myriad ways you can help Idea Wild continue its mission, but chief among them are donating dollars and your (gently) used equipment. If you think I’m a good salesman for this outfit, you should meet Wally! He has inexhaustible enthusiasm for the projects he undertakes (or, rather, the projects being conducted by those wildlife biologists in their native countries). He campaigns tirelessly on their behalf and the results have been phenomenal. Please check out the Idea Wild website, “like” them on Facebook, and tweet away on Twitter.
”Cameras for Conservation” is a campaign of Reptile and Amphibian Ecology International, another non-profit with a wildlife conservation mission. I became familiar with them, and their founder, Paul S. Hamilton, at the Tucson Reptile Show back in September. Paul is an awesome photographer in his own right, but he is just as excited about fostering the work of other field photographers. He has also captured the power of the web (Reptiles and Amphibians.org) and social media.
I know I’m going to see what materials I can donate to these two fantastic enterprises, and I hope you will, too. I can’t think of a better way to empower scientists in other lands.