#GivingTuesday 2014: Celebrate All Things Winged with The Raptor Trust

Standard

Scoured the shelves for deals on Black Friday? Gearing up for gadget buying on Cyber Monday? Don’t forget to honor the most important day of this week (after Thanksgiving, of course), Giving Tuesday.

Giving Tuesday is a call to action, a national day of giving around the annual shopping and spending season. The third annual #GivingTuesday will take place on this coming Tuesday December 2, 2014.

GT_Street-wall_2014#GivingTuesday is a day for giving back, to write a check to a worthwhile cause or to donate your time and expertise to charity. #GivingTuesday, where global charities, families, businesses, community centers, students and more have come together to shape a new movement. A movement so compelling that the White House has taken notice.

A day that inspires personal philanthropy and encourages bigger, better and smarter charitable giving during the holiday season. A day that proves that the holidays can be about both giving and giving back.

Show your support for Giving Tuesday by taking a photo and uploading it to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the hashtags #GivingTuesday and #UNselfie. For more information, check out the short YouTube video below or visit #GivingTuesday on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

On Giving Tuesday 2014, I have decided to give back to the birds in my home state. One of my favorite organizations working specifically on avian rehabilitation and education is The Raptor Trust. My sister and I visited the Trust back in May of this year and had an incredible day. Everyone on staff was extremely friendly and enthusiastically answered our questions about the birds of prey in their care. Even the volunteer working the at gift shop was proud to discuss the history of the Trust and their birds with us.  For those birds that would not survive if they were released, The Raptor Trust property has become their home. We were able to see these residents up close and personal. The birds were so beautiful that we walked through the Trust twice to be sure we didn’t miss anybody!

Vilma, The Raptor Trust's Barred Owl plays a key role in the organization's educational programs. Photo by Joy Yagid.

Vilma, The Raptor Trust’s Barred Owl plays a key role in the organization’s educational programs. Photo by Joy Yagid.

Officially founded in 1983, The Raptor Trust is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and one of the premier wild bird rehabilitation centers in the United States.

Located in Millington, NJ, the Trust property includes a hospital with state-of-the-art medical facilities, quality exterior housing for several hundred birds, and an education building. For three decades, the Trust has worked tirelessly to fulfill it’s mission:

  • To provide free care and assistance to injured, sick, or orphaned wild birds.
  • To educate people about wild birds, especially birds of prey.
  • To provide a humane example for others.
The Raptor Trust Director Chris Soucy. Photo Credit: NewJerseyHills.com.

The Raptor Trust Director Chris Soucy. Photo Credit: NewJerseyHills.com.

20-something Environmentalist sat down with Director of The Raptor Trust, Chris Soucy, and asked what continues to motivate and inspire the work that he is doing.

Chris explained, “One of the greatest rewards in our work is to be able to release a bird back into the wild after we have cared for it. The birds come to us sick, injured or orphaned bird in great numbers – as many as 4,000 each year.  It takes a huge team of dedicated volunteers, along with a medical staff, veterinarians, educators and administrative help to run the center. These caring people put their hearts and souls into the work we do. Because we are successful more often than not in releasing our patients back into the wild where they belong, the rewarding feeling that comes from it happens all the time – for our staff and volunteers, for the people who find injured birds and bring them to us, and no doubt for the birds themselves.”

Red-Tailed Hawk Release. Photo from The Raptor Trust's Facebook page.

Red-Tailed Hawk Release. Photo from The Raptor Trust’s Facebook page.

Chris went on to explain, “In our 32+ year history we have cared for over 90,000 wild birds and released more than half of them back into the wild. On site, we have a full-service medical center and a education center where we present programs to thousands of visitors each year about birds, wildlife and conservation.  Our center is open to the public year round, and visitors here can see hawks, falcons, eagles and vultures up close and learn about what amazing and ecologically important creatures they are.”

Please consider The Raptor Trust when making your year-end gifts this #GivingTuesday and throughout the holiday season. Help them help all things winged.

To learn how to get involved with The Raptor Trust, and for more amazing photographs of birds of prey, like them on Facebook.

Here are a few other excellent New Jersey organizations working on
wildlife issues:

This #GivingTuesday, Tuesday, December 2, 2014, consider making an impact on the world. Choose an issue that you are passionate and donate your time or funds to organizations that are part of the solution. Be a force for good.

GT_logo2013-final1-1024x85

Advertisements

Why an Environmentalist is Living Below the Poverty Line for 5 Days

Standard

Wow! It has been awhile since I have written for my blog. Since my last post in December, I started a new job and have been getting settled into my new digs. Based in Union Square in Manhattan, I now work for a global nonprofit called The Hunger Project. The Hunger Project works to empower women and men to end their own hunger in Africa, South Asia and Latin America. Our mission is to end hunger and poverty by pioneering sustainable, grassroots, women-centered strategies and advocating for their widespread adoption in countries throughout the world.

Since accepting my new position, a lot of folks have asked me why I left my work in environmentalism. I couldn’t disagree more with the premise of this question. I believe that everything is connected and that — in order to most effectively and sustainably save the environment and foster environmental awareness among all people on the planet — we must first ensure that no person on the globe is living in conditions of hunger and poverty. We must work tirelessly to empower women and promote gender equality, and healthy nutrition for children around the world, and hold our governments accountable.

I have recently started reading Howard G. Buffett’s novel called 40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World. In his book, Mr. Buffett chronicles his journey through life, where he began as an endangered species and nature photographer and became a farmer and started his career working to improve the lives of farmers around the world.

As I read through the pages of this book, one line has stuck out in my mind: “no one will starve to save a tree.”

Photo Credit: underthetuscangun.com

Photo Credit: underthetuscangun.com

At work, with this thought in mind, I began to think about The Hunger Project’s recent partnership with the Global Poverty Project on a campaign called Live Below the Line. After taking a depth breath and reminding myself of that line in the book, I decided to join the Live Below the Line challenge.

I am standing with thousands of people around the world who are taking the Live Below the Line challenge to raise funds and awareness for the 1.2 billion people in our world who live in extreme poverty.

From April 28-May 2, join me in spending $1.50 a day on food and beverage for 5 days to change the way people think about extreme poverty – all while supporting The Hunger Project’s work in villages worldwide.

I’m looking forward to joining my team at The Hunger Project in experiencing what its like to live below the poverty line and spending only $1.50 a day on food/drink for 5 days. I stand in full partnership with people living in hunger and poverty throughout the world and I hope this campaign sheds light on the conditions they face. I share The Hunger Project’s vision of a world where every woman, man and child leads a healthy, fulfilling life of self-reliance and dignity. – See more at: https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/lindsaymcnamara

I want to experience what it is like to live in poverty and the choices (or lack there of) my fellow human beings on the other side of the globe (and right here in New York City) make every day.

I recycle, even separate my bottles and cans from paper and cardboard. I don’t drink bottled water. I take public transportation to work. I bring my canvas bags to the grocery store. I try not to consume too much. These small actions pale in comparison to the reduction my carbon footprint will have as I try to eat and drink on $1.50 a day for 5 days. My fellow environmentalists, I encourage you to Live Below the Line with me and take a hard look at all that you consume in 5 days.

In 40 Chances, Howard G. Buffett explains how all farmers can expect to have about 40 growing seasons, giving them just 40 chances to improve on every harvest. He applies this principle to life in general. If you had the opportunity or the chance to change the world and be a part of the Live Below the Line dialogue, to see yourself as a member of the planet as a whole, would you take it?

I encourage you to take this challenge with me. Live Below the Line for 5 days to learn more about the lives of other human beings on the planet, but also to learn more about yourself and the life you lead.

How can you get involved?
lbllogo

This #GivingTuesday ‘Color The World’ with The Pulsera Project

Standard

#GivingTuesday is a day for giving back, to write a check to a worthwhile cause or to donate your time and expertise to charity. Today, Tuesday, December 3, 2013, is the second annual #GivingTuesday, where global charities, families, businesses, community centers, students and more have come together to shape a new movement. Join the national celebration and learn more here.

This #GivingTuesday, consider making a global impact with The Pulsera Project.

In 2009, a group of friends traveling in Nicaragua discovered a shelter for ex-street kids in Managua.  The young adults made beautiful woven pulseras (Spanish for bracelets), but had no market to sell their artwork in Nicaragua.  Some of the friends went home, spread the word about the bracelets, sold them at two US schools, and soon The Pulsera Project was born.

Since that fateful trip, US college students are helping to brighten the future of Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, without leaving campus.  Students are selling pulseras made by young adults in Nicaragua to support The Pulsera Project’s community empowerment programs.

Photo Credit: The Pulsera Project

Photo Credit: The Pulsera Project

The Pulsera Project is now a registered 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that educates, empowers, and connects Nicaraguan and US youth.  To date, volunteers at more than 450 US schools have sold colorful, hand-woven bracelets made by community members in Nicaragua.

These Pulsera Project volunteers have raised over $700,000 to help create a ‘more just and colorful world’ by supporting programs in the fields of education, micro-loans, shelter support, fair trade, workers rights, and environment.

20-something Environmentalist was blown away by The Pulsera Project’s incredible mission and history, but was particularly interested in their partnership with environmental programs.

The Pulsera Project financially supports The Solar Women of Totogalpa, a cooperative of 19 women and two men that work to bring renewable energy to Nicaraguan communities.

Photo Credit: The Pulsera Project

Photo Credit: The Pulsera Project

The group seeks to develop their community sustainably, so that they can “generate dignified employment that promotes renewable energy and protects the environment.”

They “strengthen the self-esteem of female members and create professional development opportunities to encourage leadership and community participation, as well as to raise awareness of the benefits of renewable energy and sustainable life within national and international communities.”

The Solar Women of Totogalpa is a small “off-the-grid” mountain community that is powered entirely by solar energy. Sources like the solar cookers pictured above are the heart and soul of a small restaurant managed by the women in the community. To learn more about this project, click here.

20-something Environmentalist had the privilege of speaking with Colin Crane, Co-Founder of The Pulsera Project, about what continues to motivate him and inspire him four years after deciding to ‘color the world’ for a living.

The Pulsera Project Co-Founder Colin Crane Photo Credit: The Pulsera Project

The Pulsera Project Co-Founder Colin Crane Photo Credit: The Pulsera Project

Mr. Crane said, “It’s been extremely rewarding for us to see not only the impact that pulsera sales have on people in Nicaragua, but on people here in the U.S. as well. The Pulsera Project has shared with tens of thousands of students the idea that people with less money than us can have incredible spiritual and cultural riches to share—things that we don’t normally take into account when using the word “poverty” in a purely economic sense.

“Through the uplifting stories and art of this project, we’ve been able to open students’ eyes to a new way of thinking about poverty and service, one that recognizes that we have just as much to learn from people in other areas of the world as we have to offer them.

“Seeing that idea spread over the last four years has really been one of the most important things for us, and really keeps us motivated to keep working on coloring the world both in Nicaragua and here at home.”

***

Please consider The Pulsera Project when making your year-end gifts this #GivingTuesday and throughout the holiday season. Help them Color The World.

To learn how to get involved with The Pulsera Project, click here. Follow The Pulsera Project on social media.  Connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest.