I discovered the cheetah’s plight in Kindergarten and have been dedicated to CCF ever since.
Reading was always something I enjoyed, so my first fundraiser was Chapters for Cheetahs; my donors pledged a certain amount of money per chapter and I read away. My first meeting with Dr. Marker was at a Portland TV station that year. She was being interviewed, and so was her ambassador: a gorgeous king cheetah. This was also my first cheetah encounter, and I loved every bit of it. I mean, look at that grin! And I of course made a special painting for Laurie in advance.
A few years later I began touring my neighborhood with educational materials and a cheetah speech. I knew all the facts–not just the whats, but the whys. Since then I have held cheetah-themed art camps, filmed and edited videos, composed emails and graphics, and created my signature annual artwork. For thirteen years I raised money for the cheetahs, totaling over $26,000. However, my favorite part isn’t the numbers. It’s the knowledge that every bit makes a difference. It’s sending hand-written thank yous and yearly artwork to my donors. It’s attending Big Cat, Big Party to celebrate another successful year and to check-in with the cheetah community.
Over my thirteen-year CCF journey, I have learned invaluable lessons, like what it takes to be dedicated to a cause. Meeting people passionate about cheetahs and seeing cheetahs up close has inspired me to be a biologist. Without the drive and love of science created and refined through research on, education about, and fundraisers for CCF, my book would not have come to fruition in such a timely (or successful) manner. Published this June, Theoretical Dragon Anatomy is simply another outgrowth of my flourishing curiosity. You can visit www.isabellebusch.com for details.
College applications have been a large focus recently, since I turn 18 in January. As of now, I have decided to apply to several colleges, but especially hope to be accepted to Stanford University; not for the name, but for the philosophy of dedication to curiosity that I have always maintained in life.
Needless to say, what I have learned from my efforts for CCF so far is no doubt going to serve me well in life. I hope to continue my journey for them in the coming years with an internship in Namibia – what an adventure that would be. Who knows what may lay beyond college? I have gained vast knowledge, confidence, and determination. And my art skills have definitely improved a bit!