For the first time, P-WAC went to the USA for the Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN) Expo in San Francisco
Despite the jetlag, by 5 AM the Franco-Belgian team (Amandine and Dorothée) were ready to get the day started along with the American team, Carolyn et Kristine. Very early in the morning we were on our way to the Mission Bay Conference Center, in San Francisco, California to get set up for the WCN Wildlife Expo event.
The early arrivals appeared. Students, members of conservation non-profits, journalists, and other interested people passed by our table asking for information on our organization that was in America for the first time.
In turn, we each explained our goals and objectives. People were very interested and we collected our first American mailing list! We also took time to visit other tables in order to let them know about P-WAC and also to learn more about the goals of the different groups in attendance.
Among them: Jim Thomas, who works in Papua, New Guinea, Dr. Colleen Begg (lion conservation). We were privileged to meet Dr. Gay Reinartz who studies bonobos and who gave us valuable advice. We got along great with our neighbors who work with river otters in Northern California.
All these encounters were constructive and positive. We felt real support and empathy from everyone present. This team spirit and family atmosphere really touched us. We were able to be understood and become known to concerned individuals who were interested in supporting our initiative.
Dorothée: “I got to meet two other P-WAC volunteers for the first time. Understanding and friendship were formed. I think we are a very good team, we are all motivated and you, as I am, are ready to follow this initiative. I will contribute as much as I can to bring this great project to reality and I’m sure we will take it very far.”
Carolyn: “The WCN event was doubly valuable for me because for the first time since joining P-WAC, I got to meet and collaborate with P-WAC founder, Amandine Renaud, and P-WAC veterinarian, Dorothée Minne, both of whom are highly dedicated professionals on a mission to help the remaining populations of great apes. In addition, the WCN Wildlife Expo was extremely helpful to me personally in understanding the very important and growing work of wildlife conservationists. The conservationists we met there – some famous, some not yet known – are heroic, risking their lives in faraway, wild places to conserve a single, sometimes little known species, such as the Andean cat, with enormous hard work and dedication to their cause. I now understand how important these few individuals are, spread around the world, doing the work to save animal species, not for themselves, but to preserve the wonder and variety of the natural world for the rest of us to experience. I will do what I can to live up to the high standards these professionals set to help push P-WAC’s cause forward.“
Thank you to Jérôme Louiche who created a superb banner in record time! This banner attracted a lot of curious people to our table!! Thanks to Carolyn Renaud and Kristine Turner for all your help with international logistics for this American week!
American week because, following the WCN Wildlife Expo, Amandine and Dorothée continue on alone in order to present the project to well-known American universities (we will talk about that later), with the possibility for them to join us in the field once the sanctuary has been put in place.
Thanks to Amandine Renaud et Dorothée Minne for taking the time to go to seek new partnerships on another continent. Thanks to all our members for your generosity and support.
One thing is for sure, next year we’ll return to the States!