The new year has gotten off to a good start in terms of donations and we’re building on the momentum of 2020 into our 10-year anniversary. Our direct mail campaign continues to be successful and thanks to donor support from over the holiday season, our monthly payment increased to $37,000. Overall, in the first quarter, Mara Elephant Project raised over $300,000 to support our 2021 operations. Thank you to Mary Love, Maxine Beige, Carolyn Sunny Shine, Gay Rogers, the Leslie L. Alexander Foundation, Richard Urell, Mallory Hathaway, Stephanie Sheehan, Richard Leirer, Karen Kehoe, Ethalinda Blackman, Maturin and Carolyn Finch, Steven Hahn and Pranhitha Reddy, Mike & Margy McCormick, Donald & Carole Tanklage (Marin Community Foundation), J.E. Fehsenfeld Family Foundation, Western Colorado Community Foundation from the Lorraine & Jack Walker Fund, John Cederhorm, Gwen Wiener of The EOS Foundation Trust, Jes Lefcourt, Illinois Tool Works, Inc., Gail Peek and Erica Dillow for getting Mara Elephant Project’s new year started off right.
We also received support from Elephanatics, a long-time MEP supporter out of Canada and donations from Foreningen Forsavara Elefanterna out of Sweden. MEP received the first installment of a new grant from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the Indianapolis Zoological Society, Inc. as well as an installment of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust grant for 2021 Mau team support. We would also like to thank photographer James Lewin for supporting MEP with the sales of his photographs in January and artist Anke Fachmann for supporting MEP in March with 10% of proceeds from the sale of her art (pictured left). Kenyan high school student Nina Allen is raising money for Mara Elephant Project through a Go Get Funding campaign. Finally, thank you to Asilia Africa, a tourism partner, for your donation and Mara Tatu who supported MEP in 2020 with a percentage of their sales.
Karen Goss celebrated her birthday with a Facebook fundraiser to MEP that raised $459.65 from 18 donors, thank you Karen. We had four Facebook birthday fundraisers which have raised $237.76 so far in the first quarter, so, thank you to Pavla Pacalov, Dana Adkins, Sarah Cass and Derek Vemer. On February 3, MEP joined with our partner Seedballs Kenya to distribute seedballs that were given by generous donors in the Nyakweri Forest. They included three naturally occurring species acacia gerradii, acacia seyal and olea Africana. We were featured multiple times in the media for distributing the seedballs: Today, The Star and Afrik21.
MEP rangers distributing seedballs.
Thank you to all of the photographers who supported MEP in the Greatest Maasai Mara photo competition in the first quarter.
A January entry in the GMM competition by Roisin Allen.
MEP once again earned the GuideStar platinum seal of approval for 2021. This recognition means everyone can now see our most recent strategy, metrics, and achievements. We celebrated UK Mother’s Day and International Day of Forests during March. We highlighted MEP Administrator Aileen Nkoitoi to celebrate Women’s History Month (pictured left). She is a key asset to our support staff, which have all played a crucial role to the well-being of our organization especially during the pandemic. MEP was also delighted to have Trustee Kevin Rodrigues highlight his time on MEP’s Campus in a blog featured in March. MEP was featured in Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s 2020 Annual Report and on DJI’s blog.
Finally, newly collared elephant Clara’s protection for the next three years was generously supported by Griet Van Malderen, a true champion of conservation and Africa. Griet is an accomplished wildlife photographer, and we were delighted to have her join us for Clara’s collaring operation to capture some of the close-up shots often overlooked, pictured below.