ASPN March 2015 : Page 52

[NOW IN TOWN] BUZ Z LOFTY GOALS When Ginna Kelly set out to realize her lifelong dream of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, CLIMB FOR CONSERVATION SCALES she was looking for not SUMMITS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS. only adventure and challenge but also a more By Brook Sutton meaningful, immersive experience than the typical mountaineering trip. She soon found her calling. In the midst of researching the climb, she learned about the severity of the black rhino and elephant population crises in East Africa. Compelled to take action, Kelly, then the vice president of the Aspen-based American Renewable Energy Institute, founded the nonpro t Climb for Conservation in 2010. She later inspired 13 other environmental advocates to join her on what would become the organization’s inaugural trek up Kilimanjaro. ey stood at the summit in 2012, united in their message to save the African black rhino from further poaching and habitat loss. Backing their words with action, they had raised almost $30,000 to donate to the Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary at the base of the mountain. In its rst two years of full operation (2013 and 52 ASPEN MIDWINTER 2015 2014), Climb for Conservation donated nearly $50,000 to groups working to conserve black rhinos, African elephants and jaguars. To join a trip, participants are asked to fundraise a minimum amount (averaging $1,000) for a conservation cause associated with the experience. e receiving organizations are stringently vetted for e ectiveness and management practices. e same stringency is applied on the Climb for Conservation side, where the small sta currently works on a volunteer basis. Trip participants pay their own expenses, while the Climb for Conservation team provides turnkey guidance every step of the way, arranging professional guide services, travel itineraries, gear, vaccinations, training and other essential elements. A designated climb leader serves as a point person throughout the entire process. After an auspicious start, Climb for Conservation continues to expand its goals of raising awareness and funds for conservation e orts around the world. “We hope to keep making a di erence, to help building and growing and to get more people involved,” says Kelly. is summer, the organization will launch an education initiative aimed at getting local youth involved on regional and national levels. According to program coordinator Margot Moselle, “Educating future generations on how species extinction a ects whole ecosystems is a long-term goal for the education program. Showing [kids] how they can get involved and make a di erence is of the utmost importance.” In 2015, there’s still time to join a Machu Picchu trek in May and a midsummer Colorado Collegiate Peaks hike. Climb for Conservation also encourages custom trip ideas and will research, plan and promote your dream hike, climb or trek, and coordinate with a worthy conservation cause of your choosing. 970.948.2991, climbforconservation.org HIGH TIMES From left: Angela Hawse on a 2014 Climb for Conservation trip up Italyʼs Gran Paradiso that raised funds for a wildlife trust; Walt Harris, Ginna Kelly and Joe Stock on the way to the summit. HAWSE PHOTO BY JOE STOCK; GROUP PHOTO BY ANDREW WEXLER

Now In Town Buzz

Brook Sutton

LOFTY GOALS

CLIMB FOR CONSERVATION SCALES SUMMITS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS.

When Ginna Kelly set out to realize her lifelong dream of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, she was looking for not only adventure and challenge but also a more meaningful, immersive experience than the typical mountaineering trip. She soon found her calling. In the midst of researching the climb, she learned about the severity of the black rhino and elephant population crises in East Africa.

Compelled to take action, Kelly, then the vice president of the Aspen-based American Renewable Energy Institute, founded the nonprofit Climb for Conservation in 2010. She later inspired 13 other environmental advocates to join her on what would become the organization’s inaugural trek up Kilimanjaro. They stood at the summit in 2012, united in their message to save the African black rhino from further poaching and habitat loss. Backing their words with action, they had raised almost $30,000 to donate to the Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary at the base of the mountain.

In its first two years of full operation (2013 and 2014) , Climb for Conservation donated nearly $50,000 to groups working to conserve black rhinos, African elephants and jaguars. To join a trip, participants are asked to fundraise a minimum amount (averaging $1,000) for a conservation cause associated with the experience. The receiving organizations are stringently vetted for effectiveness and management practices. The same stringency is applied on the Climb for Conservation side, where the small staff currently works on a volunteer basis.

Trip participants pay their own expenses, while the Climb for Conservation team provides turnkey guidance every step of the way, arranging professional guide services, travel itineraries, gear, vaccinations, training and other essential elements. A designated climb leader serves as a point person throughout the entire process.

After an auspicious start, Climb for Conservation continues to expand its goals of raising awareness and funds for conservation efforts around the world. “We hope to keep making a difference, to help building and growing and to get more people involved,” says Kelly.

This summer, the organization will launch an education initiative aimed at getting local youth involved on regional and national levels. According to program coordinator Margot Moselle, “Educating future generations on how species extinction affects whole ecosystems is a long-term goal for the education program. Showing [kids] how they can get involved and make a difference is of the utmost importance.”

In 2015, there’s still time to join a Machu Picchu trek in May and a midsummer Colorado Collegiate Peaks hike. Climb for Conservation also encourages custom trip ideas and will research, plan and promote your dream hike, climb or trek, and coordinate with a worthy conservation cause of your choosing. 970.948.2991, climbforconservation.org

Read the full article at http://digital.modernluxury.com/article/Now+In+Town+Buzz/1928034/245803/article.html.

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