US Fall Tour 2019

  • by Dr. Laurie Marker December 4, 2019
US Fall Tour 2019

My 2019 CCF Fall Tour was very fun and exciting. During the seven week tour, I traveled to 13 states and 24 cities. My tour began in New York City with our CCF Annual Board Meeting hosted at the Bronx Zoo with the support of CCF Trustee Kathleen LaMattina and Bronx Zoo Director Jim Breheny. CCF Board and Trustees enjoyed a wonderful Meet & Greet gathering with our New York Chapter and cheetah friends at the New York Botanical Gardens to kick off the fall tour. After the all board meeting, CCF Board members, CCF Staff and cheetah friends had the thrilling experience of attending a special Audi Box dinner at Yankee Stadium while watching the Yankee game!

After New York, I had many stops for lectures and zoo visits! This year I traveled to eight zoos starting with the Bronx Zoo on the East Coast and making my way to White Oak Conservation Center and Jacksonville Zoo in Florida, Nashville Zoo in Tennessee, Columbus Zoo, in Ohio, The Living Desert Zoo, the Oakland Zoo and Safari West in California. It was great to be hosted and supported this fall by so many great partners in conservation and meeting great new friends along the way.

In addition to the zoo talks I also gave six lectures throughout the USA starting with the Wildlife Conservation Network Expo and on to various universities. I had a great opportunity of speaking at Columbia University on Conservation Biology and at Virginia Tech University to a full seminar on “Cheetah conservation through human-wildlife conflict resolution.” I also made a special stopover in Washington, D.C. to speak on Capitol Hill at the U.S. Congressional Member Dinner hosted by International Conservation Caucus Foundation (ICCF) on combating Illegal Wildlife Trade in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa which touches on our cheetah ‘safehouse’ work in Somaliland.

My travels in California consisted primarily of the cities of San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Cruz, Los Angeles, Palm Springs and Palm Desert. In Northern California, CCF had fundraising events to support the endangered cheetah at the Oakland Zoo, Safari West, and at the Lindsay Wildlife Experience in Walnut Creek. The NO CA Chapter hosted CCF at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz with a fundraiser lecture and viewing of the PBS Special – Born to Explore: Namibia, Land of the Cheetah.

In Los Angeles, CCF Trustee Alan Feldstein hosted a lovely cocktail reception at his home in Studio City for cheetah friends and supporters. I also made a quick stop at the Hesby Oaks School speaking to young learners in the lower school on the endangered cheetah before my departure to Palm Springs and Palm Desert where I was hosted by CCF Directors Marisa Katnic and Roswitha Smale.

With my cheetah travels going from West Coast to East Coast, CCF celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Livestock Guarding program with a penthouse party in Seattle called Big Dog, Little Party which was highly successful and hosted by cheetah friends Charlie and Linda Bieber. From Seattle, I traveled to Portland, OR to celebrate our 18th annual Big Cat. Big Party. with ambassador cheetah Khayam Jr. from Wildlife Safari. CCF Trustee Janet Waggoner, the Oregon Chapter and CCF’s Dionne Stein created a wonderful fundraiser at the World Forestry Center.

Traditionally, CCF’s hosts most of our cheetah events in the fall and this year was no exception with over five cheetah ambassador showcases to raise support for the endangered cheetah. This year, besides the Big Cat. Big Party in Portland, our cheetah events were held at the Columbus Zoo with CCF Trustee Suzi Rapp, as well as in Oklahoma City with CCF Trustee Vicki Gourley; Indianapolis Cheetah Gala at the Conrad with Chapter Head Ann Burke, and the 18th Annual Washington D.C. Gala at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City. Each of these events were supported by the Columbus Zoo’s cheetah ambassador program which helps CCF to bring awareness of the endangered cheetah populations in Namibia and other cheetah range countries.

I also enjoyed attending many smaller fundraising events around the country to support the cheetah with a dinner in Minneapolis, MN with my cheetah friend Rob Schultz and his friends. Rob was a member of the Earth Expeditions MSc student team from Miami University in Ohio, which came to Namibia in July 2019. While in Minneapolis, CCF supporter Lou Riebe and his wife Debra hosted a lovely dinner for me, as well as meeting with long-time CCF supporter Lisa Nicotra and her husband John who welcomed me to a wonderful lunch. All in all, as I traveled throughout the US I had many private lunches and dinners to support CCF, and a total of 15 fundraising events. It was great to visit with everyone and to give updates on CCF 2019, and to give everyone additional understanding of the plight of the cheetah and how they can contribute to our many conservation programs.

On behalf of everyone at CCF, thank you for joining me and hosting me during this special fall tour in honor of CCF’s Livestock Guarding Dog program’s 25th anniversary! I am happy to announce that in 2020 CCF will be celebrating our 30th anniversary, and we hope that you will join us.

CCF fundraisers both great and small are made possible through the dedication of our Board, Trustees and Staff, as well as local CCF Chapters, and volunteers at various zoos who support CCF. 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 me during CCF’s spring tour this coming 2020, please contact, Paula Martin at paulam@cheetah.org.

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