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Showing posts from 2011

Compassionate Traveling: SustainableTrip.org

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I ran across this website, SustainableTrip.org, quite a few months ago and was impressed with it. I get monthly email updates from them that make me want to jump out of my office chair and hop on the next plane to South America. Their photos bring back fond memories of jungle cabins and tropical adventures; of rain so hard it rendered umbrellas useless, and of heat so sweltering it rendered sleep useless. This may not sound appetizing to you, but if you've ever been to the tropics and fell in love with it like I did, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

SustainableTrip.org is a website that features destinations or businesses in Latin America and the Caribbean that are making outstanding efforts to conserve natural resources and improve livelihoods in their local community. Whether its a hacienda 9,600 feet above sea level in Ecuador, a bed and breakfast lodge smack in the middle of Amazonia, or a tourism company that leads jungle expeditions, these businesses are certified…

Art and Wildlife

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How can you mix art with wildlife? By having an art show and giving a percentage of the sales proceeds to charity. Since I'm passionate about both art and saving wildlife, I've decided to put on an art exhibit for charity; the charity being Southwest Wildlife Foundation (since I volunteer doing fundraising events for them). The theme for the show is urban or pop-art, and I've gathered a number of artist friends whose work I greatly admire to head it up. I will also be showing some of my own pieces. A percentage of the art sales will go to Southwest Wildlife Foundation, and some of the artists have even donated their pieces 100% to the charity.

Luckily my friend Derek Dyer, head of the Utah Arts Alliance, gave me permission to show in his gallery in downtown Salt Lake City. The show will take place in February 2012, an the art will be up until March. During Salt Lake's monthly gallery stroll, happening on friday, February 17th, we will feature an urban art show, in which…

Meeting the Founders of Wildlife SOS India

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Last night I had the opportunity to meet Kartick Satyanarayan and Geeta Seshamani, the couple from India who founded Wildlife SOS some sixteen years ago. This was a rare and exciting opportunity for me, as they keep so busy with their work in India (what with 4 dancing bear sanctuaries with some 600 bears and 5 rescued elephants to boot) they don't have the chance to visit their US fundraising office very often.

I've been volunteering with Wildlife SOS since 2007, doing online marketing work and a bit of fundraising and publicity for the organization. My first wildlife charity party took place in London, with all proceeds going straight to WSOS (see my previous blog about bear parties). Kartick and Geeta and the rest of their organization have single-handedly taken on the "dancing bear" issue in India and, through a variety of means have rescued every last dancing bear from the streets. These bears, too mutilated to be released back into the wild, are housed in 4 se…

Birding in Utah

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While I'm here in Salt Lake City I've been trying to get in as much birding as possible. Utah is a wonderful place to go birdwatching because there is still so much open land in the state. Both deserts and mountains are accessible, as well as the Great Salt Lake and various National Parks such as Canyonlands, Great Basin, Zion, Bryce, Escalante, Capitol Reef, Moab, and Lake Powell.


Bryce Canyon 2011, copyright Jennie Burns

If you're interested in birding you will definitely want to get in touch with the Great Salt Lake Audubon Society. They host regular bird walks in Salt Lake and Utah counties, and also plan weekend birding trips to Southern Utah or the West Desert. These guys are serious and can bird for hours at a time, although you can come and go as you please. On a recent trip to Utah Lake with the Audubon Society, amid ducks, geese, displaying sage grouse, yellow-headed and red-winged blackbirds, and a raptor here and there, a heated debate over sparrow identificati…

6 Terrifying Predators Routinely Owned by Adorable Prey (from Cracked.com)

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I just had to repost this article, written by Tom Hohle on June 12, 2011. From Cracked.com.

Everyone loves an underdog. Even Mother Nature, with her Thunderdome sensibilities, loves a good underdog story -- or six. That's why, when creating the nastiest animals on Earth, she decided that they were each going to have an embarrassingly adorable nemesis to regularly knock them down a few pegs. Like these guys:

#6.The Adder vs. the Hedgehog


Adders have dark zigzag patterns along their backs and giant, glaring, red eyes with vertically slit pupils. They are a universal symbol for danger and evil. They are venomous, vicious and are all-around well ... snakes.


Zdeněk Fric
Yes, it has the eyes of a Sith lord.

Sharing a common territory with the adder is the European hedgehog. The hedgehog grows to a maximum length of about a foot, and though its body is covered in up to 7000 spines, they're more of the "cuddly and/or wuddly" type than the "badass armor" variety.

Pathy Mik…