This year’s Spring Tour 2018 was very exciting beginning in New York City with the Explorers Club Annual Dinner hosted at the NYC Marriott Marquis Times Square with many of my fellow Explorers. CCF Trustee Richard Wiese of Born to Explore was elected as 44th President of the Explorers Club while CCF’s special friend David Dolan received the prestigious Edward C. Sweeney Memorial Medal. It was a wonderful weekend and I was thrilled to be the dinner guest of Dr. Jay Short and his lovely wife Carolyn at this year’s ECAD.
My tour lasted seven weeks traveling to 12 states and 27 cities beginning in Denver and Aspen, CO for a Cheetah Talk at Hallam Lake to share the mission of CCF to a full house of new cheetah friends hosted by Maureen and Greg Poschman and their 12-year-old twins Willow and Isabella. I was kindly supported by the Wildize Foundation founder Eli Weiss of “Our Wild World” of Intelligent News – Conservation Talk Radio. And I also had the distinct pleasure of meeting up with John Wilcox, Emmy award winning film producer who offered a surprise showing of ‘American Sportsman’ TV documentary from 1977 when I was first in Namibia with Khayam. It was a great experience and I look forward to returning to Aspen in the near future.
My lecture in Aspen was just one of the many lectures that I had this spring tour. I also spoke at the Living Desert Zoo, the Dallas Zoo, the St. Louis Zoo, Happy Hollow Zoo, the Oregon Zoo, as well as making a special trip to Seabrook, SC hosted by Norman Powers with the Seabrook Island Natural History Group. My talk on Cheetah and Humans Sharing a Landscape was the first time the SINHG had been introduced to CCF.
My travels to California consisted primarily of the cities of San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Palo Alto, Los Angeles, San Diego and Palm Springs. In Northern California this year, CCF’ new Board Chairwoman, Susan Janin, hosted a lovely cheetah event at her home with ambassador cheetah Themba from Wild Cat Education and Conservation Fund. There were other special fundraising gatherings in San Francisco with a private luncheon hosted by CCF Trustee Patricia Klitgaard and a dinner hosted by CCF Trustee Manjul Dixit and her family.
CCF longtime supporter Dr. Nancy Black held a Whale Watching fundraiser in Monterey Bay at The Wharf to a sold-out crew. It was fantastic to be on the Pacific Ocean again viewing Orca whales with cheetah friends! I am always delighted to join our CCF cheetah friends and chapter supporters for this unique event.
In Southern California, CCF Director Marisa Katnic and CCF Ambassador, Jordan Sack, of Animal Fashions by Jordan hosted a fashion show and cheetah event fundraiser supported by the San Diego Zoo Park at Venus De Fido in Palm Springs. Ambassador cheetah Johari and Anatolian shepherd Yeti were on hand to promote the mission of CCF and our programs. This was our first event at this venue with many cheetah supporters attending from my morning Speaker’s Series Program lecture at the Living Desert Zoo.
In San Diego, CCF was hosted by Piper & Heath Travel – Chris & Emily Liebenberg at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse for a wonderful dinner to raise funds for the endangered cheetah. Joining the group was CCF’s General Manager, Dr. Bruce Brewer and board member Dr. Roswitha Smale. The guests enjoyed a lovely dinner overlooking the San Diego Bay with a book signing and silent auction.
My time in Los Angeles was very busy with meetings and our major celebrity fundraiser in Brentwood hosted by Donna Mills and her husband Larry Gilman at their beautiful estate with cheetah ambassador Jazz from Project Survival Cat Haven. CCF Directors Sara Nichols and Dr. Margery Nicolson sponsored the event and hosted me and Dr. Bruce Brewer during this wonderful visit. It was great to spend time with our cheetah friends in this LA area and share with them highlights of CCF’s programs, both in Namibia as well as from my recent trip to Ethiopia and Somaliland. I also had the pleasure of joining CCF’s newest Trustee Adina Savin for a Sundowner Buffet at her lovely home with a meet and greet with her friends and associates enjoying delicious homecooked delicacies. Thanks to CCF’s Dionne Stein for her help with these great events.
This spring CCF participated in many fundraisers supported by our CCF Trustees, volunteers and CCF Chapters in the cities of St. Louis, Seattle, Portland and Warrenton, VA. CCF Challenger Kathy Snowden with the support of CCF Trustee Paul Zemitzsch and supporter Ginny Bush from the Endangered Wolf Sanctuary, hosted a lovely gathering at the Seven Gables Inn after my Brown Bag lecture at the St. Louis Zoo. It was a wonderful evening with CCF highlights, a book signing and Namibian crafts to help support the cheetah in the wild.
In Seattle, Gary Rygmyr hosted a wonderful evening at Structure Cellar Wines with 50 cheetah guests and a Dutch dinner at Nine Pies Pizza afterwards. It was great to have a wine tasting and share the latest cheetah updates.
After Seattle, I traveled for a quick stopover to meet up with CCF stakeholder Howard Hedinger for dinner. On April 17, I gave a Lunch & Learn lecture at the Oregon Zoo in their new Discovery Plaza, Education Center before our 2018 Spring Tour Reception for cheetahs at the Sentential Hotel hosted by CCF Trustee Janet Waggoner.
CCF hosted a unique evening event in Warrenton, VA after our staff retreat at the Hidden Hollow Farm. Our honorary host George Ohrstrom was on hand with his friends and neighbors to support us and raise funds for the endangered cheetah. CCF staff were on hand to meet the guests and Dr. Anne Schmidt-Kuntzel was there with me to answer questions about our research throughout the cheetah’s range countries. The venue was such a success that CCF is considering making this location an annual event.
In March, I was invited to a special Cheetah Patron Party in Dallas, TX hosted by EJF Philanthropies with the support of Trammel Crow and his company EarthX. The Patron Party was a precursor to the major EarthX Expo – Earth Day conference where I was also invited to be one of the main “green speakers” at the EDTX Talks! This was staged in Centennial Hall at Fair Park with thousands of visitors. CCF also hosted a booth to spread to mission of CCF and the endangered cheetah. It was a great opportunity to meet so many conservation-minded people in Texas.
I also had the pleasure of attending many smaller fundraising events around the country to support the cheetah with one in the city of Tenafly, NJ at the home of Rosanne & Jerry Taufield as well as a dinner in Huntington Beach with Steve and Robyn Stong, and lunches San Diego, and the SF Bay Area. It was great to visit with everyone and to give my highlights on what CCF is doing this year and to give them additional understanding of the plight of the cheetah and how they can contribute.
On behalf of everyone at CCF, thank you for joining me and hosting me this spring tour! CCF fundraisers both great and small were made possible through the dedication of our Board, Trustees and Staff as well as the local CCF Chapters and volunteers at the various zoo facilities who support us through their ambassador cheetah programs. Entertaining on a smaller scale with intimate parties is a perfect way for me to personally thank our special donors and cheetah friends while traveling the USA. If you are interested in hosting and supporting me during my fundraising tours, please contact, Paula Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org.