Back in Ranomafana

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So, I made it back to the rainforest of Ranomafana, surrounded by old friends, and seeing how things that have changed and stayed the same. Lots of exciting new developments.

Particularly research, with an emphasis on tackling health challenges in local communities. A team from Emory University led by Dr. Sarah Zohdy is looking at zoonotic transmission of infectious diseases from people, livestock, and lemurs to understand the correlation between forest health and local livelihoods, and the Medical Department from Stanford University will be setting up a brand new genetics lab to identify naturally occurring variations of mouse lemurs to understand human disease, which Dr. Zohdy helped pioneer to include local training and education, and hopefully conservation and local understanding of their species.

So, I’ve been working with study abroad students to share with them the local value of parks as inclusive spaces for children’s learning about their environments and improving livelihoods. We’ve also been looking at the different UNICEF programs to understand how they could be better unified in practice to achieve broader access for youth to lead the way for children’s involvement in protecting their future. Lots going on.

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A day the study abroad students joined all the UNICEF groups for a major clean up, sustainable artisan, and community day in Ranomafana.

And some recent highlights-

A feature on the recent Environmental Education Conference:  Sussex News

And a local article on my recent work in Madagascar: Larchmont Daily Voice

Until next time, Veloma!


I’m back!

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Salama Readers,

Here I am yet again in the land that changed my life. The smell of vanilla welcomed me back, and the Malagasy spirit reminded me why I’ve given every day of my life to a place so far away. But, it seems that Madagascar never left, but entered with me into every part of my life since. It is so nice to find it so familiar, as if I never really left…

So, for all of you interested in conservation, as I first stepped foot in the airport, I met the Russell Mittermeier (President of Conservation International), who coined Madagascar the single greatest conservation priority in the world, and said,

“If they [the Malagasy people] had the means to safeguard their island’s treasures, both natural and cultural, they surely would do so.”

And that’s pretty much the basis of my dedication to Madagascar. I am sure that they will do so, once given the educational access and tools to transform their own lives and protect their future.