EVERY RANGER COUNTS

DAVID SHEPHERD WILDLIFE FOUNDATION

SUPPORT DSWF WILDLIFE RANGERS

PHOTOS: DAVID SHEPARD WILDLIFE FOUNDATION
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As the life support of conservation efforts across the world, wildlife rangers keep some of the planet’s most vulnerable and endangered species alive through tireless dedication and hard work against often-terrifying odds.

The illegal wildlife trade has become the world’s fourth-most profitable criminal trafficking enterprise, generating revenues of up to $17bn a year. The demand for wildlife products for luxury or ornamental trinkets, or for bogus medical “cures,” is the primary threat to the survival of some of the world’s most iconic species, including tigers, rhinos, elephants, pangolins and many more.

The role of a wildlife ranger is vital if we are to win this war.

Photo: The world’s most trafficked mammal is the pangolin

“Rangers are the eyes, ears and heart of the bush and are often the only hope that stands between species survival and the sixth mass extinction.  Without rangers, there is no hope for critically endangered species or in the ongoing and brutal fight against wildlife crime,” shares Georgina.

Meet Mr. Mulimo, a key leader who works in a special anti-poaching unit in Africa, and Georgina Lamb, Head of Programs and Policy at David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF), a wildlife conservation charity who funds special anti-poaching units and is fighting wildlife crime on multiple fronts – and continents.

Acknowledging the scale, professionalism and growth of organized crime and the devastating impacts it wreaks on the environment, DSWF has long adopted a team approach, encouraging and funding greater collaborative efforts between multifaceted law enforcement agencies. Operating across Africa and Asia, the organization has invested in conservation projects from the mountains of Mongolia, to the forests of Russia and Thailand and across the wild plains of Africa.

Photo: Cycling for Rangers; Theo Bromfield; DSWF

 “Rangers are brave men and women who put their lives at risk every day, operating at the front line of wildlife conflict, stopping the brutal and devastating impacts of environmental crime,” shares Georgina.

Rangers defend wildlife and the communities that live and surround protected areas and habitats by deploying a range of highly varied skills and activities, from anti-poaching patrols and undercover sting operations, to locating and removing snares, the silent killer of the bush. In addition to collecting vital research material and monitoring wildlife populations, they respond to human-wildlife conflicts to mitigate often-dangerous situations for both human and animal. 

The fight is hard and often unfair. Operating in some the world’s most hostile landscapes, wildlife rangers are often under-supported by deprived wildlife departments and have little in the way of counter strategies. These become tough disadvantages as they come face-to-face with the extremely well-funded and organized criminal syndicates that fuel wildlife crime. Too often in the news we hear of one-sided sophisticated gun fights and helicopter raids in which poachers and trafficking gangs take on brave wildlife rangers with limited resources who sometimes have only ever fired six bullets in training.

Photo: Cycling for Rangers; Theo Bromfield; DSWF

 “On the black market, rhino horn is often worth more than cocaine and gold. That means for every 200 elephants brutally slaughtered, one ranger will lose his or her life in the fight to protect them,” explains Georgina.

Despite the dangers, brave men and women continue to sign up to protect what they love and respect. Rangers don’t want to see wild animals captured and put into cages in zoos in wholly unsuitable climates as the only means of their future survival; instead they fight for the belief that one day we will be able to live in harmony with wildlife and not see it as a commodity to be sold and traded to the highest bidder.

DSWF needs help to ensure that the species we all love and the humans protecting them are better supported. Ground-based conservation projects require significant effort, funds and co-ordination to have a positive impact employing many people with diverse jobs and skillsets.

Photo: Cycling for Rangers; Theo Bromfield; DSWF

“Ever since my childhood, I have always worked with natural resources. The way I look at things, if the animals are not protected, they’ll be finished. The way it is now, one scout on the ground combating poaching covers about 120km2. The area is just too vast for one person. We need to employ more scouts, reduce the area coverage per scout and then we stand a chance. These animals are vital. They should be given a chance to live,” states Neddy Mulimo.

To donate or learn more about the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation and its Wildlife Rangers appeal, please visit https://davidshepherd.org/every-ranger-counts

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GIVE A DAMN

SEE LF’S GIVING HOT LIST

SHOP LINGUA FRANCA NYC

Photos Courtesy of Lingua Franca
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It’s time to ditch mass production and mindless consumerism to support a sexy, subversive brand aimed at socially conscious innovation.

Looking for soft, sassy and made in the USA? Based in NYC, Lingua Franca (LF) produces sexy and sustainable luxury cashmere sweaters. Not only is the brand synonymous with bold and beautiful, it is driven by a steadfast commitment to fair trade, ethical labor practices and the highest environmental standards. Tack on its thought-provoking, hand-embroidered phrases on that plush cashmere, and Lingua Franca has established itself as a force-for-good to be reckoned with.


Lingua Franca “everyday i’m hustlin” sweater and stationary. Photo: Lingua Franca

For Founder Rachelle Hruska MacPherson, LF was born stitch by stich – literally. In an effort to create balance and burn through a modern girl’s stress, she turned to embroidery and a timeless craft she learned as a child from her grandmother Rita in Nebraska. Picking up an old cashmere sweater, she got her groove on, expertly moving a needle and thread while spontaneously riffing on hip-hop lyrics. The result? Luxurious cashmere that screams empowering blasts of intelligent, fearless poetry to boost every man, woman and child, including “Give A Damn,” “I Believe Her,” and “Outlaw,” to name a few epic favorites. Not to mention soft and stunning travel sets that include blanket, socks, embroidered eye mask and embroidered travel bag with zip closure. All made from 100% cashmere. Hand embroidered by women in NYC.

Lingua Franca’s mission statement is not only to start meaningful conversations, but also to work towards creating positive and impactful change. Under Hrusha MacPherson’s direction, Lingua Franca is passionately using its platform in order to give back in tangible ways while inspiring change – a portion of LF proceeds support badass activists and organizations working for a better world. Over the two years since its inception, Lingua Franca has partnered with and given back to over 227 charities, including the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, the Semper Fi Foundation and She Should Run.


Rachelle in her “Power to the Peaceful” sweater with sons Dashiell and Maxwell.
Photo: Lingua Franca

Of course, a natural extension of this commitment has included partnering with organizations and charities that share the same brand values and mission. Its wildly successful collab with dynamic accessory brand MZ Wallace is no exception. Sales from the She Should Run bag campaign raised more than $100,000 for the nonprofit and its efforts to generate opportunities for women leaders driven to run for public office.

It’s no wonder the brand’s quality and creativity are striking a chord, especially in today’s highly charged political environment. Luminaries such as Meryl Streep, Joan Didion, Tim McGraw, Reese Witherspoon, and Huma Abedin, among others, have embraced LF’s positive and socially engaged voice.

For the team at Lingua Franca, the year ahead will be focused on dreaming up new ways to amplify its nonprofit partners’ work and expand the limits of what is possible while unearthing the “Outlaw” in each of us. Example? In honor of International Women’s Day 2019, Lingua Franca treated more than a dozen remarkably inspiring women from across the country to a well-earned weekend off in New York City. Receiving over 500 submissions in which friends and family nominated an extraordinary woman in their lives, a final group of 13 was selected – each one a valuable thread holding her community together. 


Lingua Franca travel sets. Photo: Lingua Franca

What does the future hold for Lingua Franca? Rachelle shares on her site, “I hope we will grow into a super compelling company that continues to engage in our world. I hope we add to the world, not take from it. I hope to stay on my toes and continue to be humbled and inspired by the people I meet along the way. I hope we are able to see the humor in things and find the joy. And, I hope to call out and celebrate the absurd. I’m excited!”   

After all, a well-behaved woman rarely makes history..

Produced by: Corry Cook

Sources and Photos: Many thanks to Rachelle Hruska MacPherson and everyone at Lingua Franca  

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TY M. CARTER

TY M. CARTER MOH

TEXAS SENTINELS FOUNDATION

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Military service is a time-honored way to put others’ safety and well-being before one’s own. At the American Revel Traveler, we understand that our ability to roam free begins with active-duty and retired military, and their families, who choose to serve and sacrifice – in the United States and around the world. We are forever grateful. 

Meet Ty M. Carter. 

In 2013 at the age of 30, Staff Sgt. Ty Michael Carter became the fifth living Medal of Honor recipient since the War in Vietnam. It is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States.


Photo: Ty M. Carter

Our nation’s highest-ranking military officials have described Specialist Carter’s service to his country as including great acts of courage and skill; his actions define what it means to be a true American hero. Now retired with disabled status, Ty continues to earn his reputation as an unstoppable force. Sure, he’s attractive and articulate, but more importantly, he’s magnetic.

Whether engaged in a public speaking gig or consulting on set, Ty enters the room like an apex predator at the watering hole: deliberate and almost undetectable. Soon enough, his powerful presence commands attention and respect; sharing gripping moments filled with precision, adrenaline, and heartache, he demonstrates the real courage he is known for – not in the past, but right here, right now.


Photo: Ty M. Carter 

The October 3, 2009, attack on Bravo Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division in Afghanistan is as horrific as it gets. Just check out Netflix, which documents each of the eight losses suffered in that vicious ambush in Episode 8 of its original series Medal of Honor. It is clear that the unit went through hell and back and then some. Each solider in the unit acted bravely and in sync during that horrific firefight; the difference between living and dying that day seems largely inexplicable and random. Far from emerging unscathed, Ty’s efforts that day left him with shrapnel wounds, hearing loss, and posttraumatic stress disorder. His actions earned him the Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart.


Photo: Ty M. Carter 

Ty is blessed, and burdened, to be the one who was chosen to live, and relive, this day continuously. Whereas Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day includes countless chances to go back in time and “do” the same day over again until perfected, Ty shares his worst day over and over in order to educate the public and help others who have served heal. This requires unparalleled personal strength and a mastering of an internal battle, wrought with haunting images, pain, and the weight of the world, all managed by sheer mental strength and a few strategic sips of water than serve to mask an occasional moment overcome by emotion.

Not strictly a soldier’s problem, post-traumatic stress affects police officers, firefighters, first responders, and anyone who has survived traumatic events and experiences, at home and abroad.

In 2018 Ty M. Carter became the proud owner of a brand-new donated house. The house, given to Carter debt-free from the Texas Sentinels Foundation, sits on 10 acres in rural Bastrop, about 40 miles east of Austin. Today Ty is loving evolving as amateur gun builder, apprentice shiner, and homeowner. The Texas Sentinels Foundation believes that through the personal sacrifice and heroic dedication of American Soldiers, freedom and security is available to all Americans.


Photo: Ty M. Carter

One of the core values of the Foundation includes providing debt-free housing to remove the burden and allow wounded military veterans to focus on recovery. For Ty, it is clear this gift continues to support healing and happiness. Shares Ty, “There is no better place on earth to play with my dog, shoot and build guns, and spend time with people I care about.”

To learn more about Ty M. Carter and the Medal of Honor, check-out Episode 8 of the Netflix Original,  Medal of Honor or visit theaters this fall. Having lent his expertise as a Military Advisor to Millennium Studios on their upcoming feature film The Outpost, we are looking forward to seeing the film hitting theaters this October.

Sources and Photos: Many thanks to Ty M. Carter

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At the most basic level, a guide is a person who advises or shows the way to others. In practice, however, being a guide is more than a profession; it is an art that requires creativity, enthusiasm, love for all living things and a lot of patience. To the best of the best out there (you know who you are), the American Revel Traveler says thank you!

Meet GodBless Mamuya.

“Isn’t that enormous heard of elephants a little close?” I asked my guide. In his kind and reassuring way, GodBless whispered back, “We respect the animals and so they will respect you.”

As with any profession, safari guides bring their individual strengths, personality and style to the job. Of course, it begins with enhanced knowledge of wildlife, habitat and everything that falls under that, including conservation, behavior and so much more. And guiding includes the need for exceptional people skills in order to understand the dynamics of dealing with different guests and managing their individual needs and expectations. An exceptional guide doesn’t just find wildlife; he/she makes the moments leading up to the encounter effortless, interesting and enjoyable.

GodBless fits the bill as a world-class specialist who knows his trade, understands the landscape, enjoys people and is proficient at every aspect of his job. Having attended tourism college in Arusha, his native city, GodBless first began his extensive training in tourism and hospitality with Africa’s premier luxury outfit, the Elewana Collection, nearly five years ago.


Photo: Corry Cook

The origin of the name Elewana is the Swahili word meaning “harmony”, a concept that perfectly embodies GodBless, and I will always remember his kindness and wisdom as he guided me and my fellow travelers through Tarangire National Park during a recent stay at the Elewana Collection’s Tarangire Treetops luxury property. During one of our many effortless conversations, he passionately described how Elewana’s Life & Land Foundation is the company’s commitment to responsible tourism, ensuring future generations can enjoy the wonders of Africa and safari adventure.

With the support from The Life & Land Foundation, Honey Guide Foundation manages the Program which focuses on reducing human-elephant conflict through methods of crop protection for local landowners in the Randilen Wildlife Management Area of Tanzania. Elephants frequently leave Randilen and Tarangire National Park to raid crops grown in the villages north of Randilen. This risks not only the livelihoods of local farmers, but also the lives of the elephants themselves, as people often target them with spears to protect their crops. This often creates a negative attitude towards wildlife and conservation among the villagers hence the necessity for a Human-Elephant Conflict Mitigation Program.

As part of the Program, Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC) Toolkits are provided for farmers to deter elephants from raiding. GodBless’ knowledge and care for his surroundings and the wildlife in Tarangire actually inspired me to make a donation, in the form of a badly needed Elephant Horn, one of five key interventions in the HEC Toolkit used to redirect elephants, thus protecting crops and reducing conflict. The horn humanely encourages the majestic animals to turn a different direction, removing them from harm’s way.

Photo: Corry Cook

I learned so much from GodBless, but I know I only scratched the surface of this man who is so committed to his profession, his surroundings and the future of our planet.

The American Revel: Your name is very special. Where did it come from?

GodBless: My full name is GodBless Mamuya. It is a name that came from my grandfather. Before he died, he told me that he chose his name for me because it means, “the one who will come help people.”

TAR: Why did you become a Driving Guide?

GodBless: The bush is my office! I couldn’t think of a better place to spend my working day than at Treetops and in Tarangire National Park. I enjoy sharing my knowledge of nature and animals with visitors from all over the world. And I get to show them my beautiful country. I am very passionate about the wildlife and conserving the environment that we live and work in. Helping in any way to make sure humans and animals can coexist successfully is very important to me. 

TAR: What do you love about Tarangire National Park?

GodBless: The management of the Tarangire National Park is amazing. I am inspired by the dedication of everyone involved in the protection of our wildlife and the enjoyment of our guests. The park is famous for its huge number of elephants, baobab trees and tree-climbing lions. Making a donation to the Land & Life Foundation for equipment and people to support the coexistence of the communities and the wildlife is always welcome.

TAR: When I visit your native Arusha, what should I do?

GodBless: When you visit Arusha, you might go to a small restaurant called Fifi. It has the best hot chocolate.

TAR: What would you like people to know who haven’t been to Tanzania before?

GodBless: Tanzania is a peaceful country with a diverse ecosystem, rich cultures, wildlife, beautiful scenery and warm, welcoming citizens. Warm during the day and cool at night, Tarangire Treetops is the most marvelous place to enjoy and get a good night’s rest on the planet – at least so our guests tell me!

TAR: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

GodBless: I have always wanted to visit New York. After that, I’d see Dubai so I could see the Skyscrapers in person.  

Produced by Corry Cook
Sources and Photos: Many thanks to: the Elewana Collection; The Life & Land Foundation.

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The Heat is On

KAKSLAUTTANEN ARCTIC RESORT

VISIT FINLAND

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For those who dream of a winter wonderland, Finnish Lapland is as close as it gets to the real thing. Untouched and pristine nature is at the core of Finnish life. It also makes for the ultimate “Do Not Disturb” location.

Hidden away more than 150 miles north of the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland, Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort is an enchanting, otherworldly destination. From hunting for aurora, to exploring the pristine artic wilderness, to dozing off under the Northern Lights in a glass igloo, there are plenty of romantic arctic adventures in store.

For a truly unique date night at Kakslauttanen, nothing beats a private couples’ smoke sauna (Savusauna) experience. This quintessential Finnish endeavor combines the soft warmth of the sauna, cool refreshing beverage and – for the bold – the exhilarating cold plunge. Best described as invigorating and adrenaline inducing with potential health benefits, it’s also downright sexy.

What begins with expert service and instruction, soon feels as though you’re the only two people on earth. Whereas modern wood-heated sauna stoves have a chimney to let out the smoke, but not so with the Finnish smoke sauna; instead, the smoke of the fire is trapped inside as it would have been millennia ago, along with the heat of the stove that is no longer lost up the chimney. The smoke is allowed out through the door immediately prior to the sauna-goers’ entrance, and the sauna then relies on its stored-up heat. Breathing in deeply while watching the fire crackle and glow, the body begins to soften with sweat and the heat releases all tension and boundaries.

Forget colored lights, aromatic fragrances and relaxing music: real Finnish saunas are dimly lit, and there’s no music or smells except for fresh birch and natural tar. Made from soaked birch twigs, the sauna whisks are used to gently whip yourself or one another, stimulating circulation and filling the air with their aroma. Whether or not you’re into this sort of thing at home, “whipping” your partner in the sauna is not only an accepted practice, it’s encouraged. It may sound bizarre but it’s a lot of playful fun and really good for your skin – you’ll feel the smoothness afterwards.

Time is not an issue. Neither is running around naked – indoors and out. At your leisure, time is spent alternating between the smoke sauna itself, the cold outdoors, and the warm cabin complete with a full fridge, shower, warm towels, hot showers and a roaring fire. With virtually no one around and no other building in sight, you can easily move between spaces, bodies steaming, and sans clothing.

The Finns’ laid-back manner and tendency to give you your own space ensures you are guaranteed privacy. Should your private butler catch sight of the “real” you (the national standard is to sauna in the nude), never fear – the Finns have seen their fair share of naked human bodies and it’s not a “thing” to be naked with perfect strangers in sauna.  It’s only natural, and every body is welcomed and accepted without judgement.

Photo: Harri Tarvainen; Visit Finland

Of course, you and your partner will be sweating heavily in the sauna, so it’s important to take breaks and drink plenty of fluids. Water is probably best, but fortunately, according to the locals, beer and cider are actually preferred during sauna. Stepping out into the brilliant cold night air, the snow sparkles bright white and the sky is lit up with the brightest stars you’ve ever seen; the truly fortunate may also see Aurora rippling above in dazzling shades of blue and green. This far north, the brilliant Northern Lights can appear on a crystal-clear night sky like magic nearly 200 nights a year.

They don’t call it “liquid courage” for nothing. Kaklauttanen’s private smoke sauna experience for two also involves dropping the towel and either diving into the snow together or plunging your bodies into a natural pool cut through the ice. The secret to dipping into icy water lies in plenty of fearless, alcohol-induced insanity, and you’ll be rewarded by a kind of euphoric feeling that surges through your body once you get out. As soon as you’re back on dry land your circulation kicks in and your body starts to warm up.

According to the experts at Visit Finland, sauna and Finland are inseparable. If you want to understand the country and its people, getting familiar with sauna is a good starting point. Whether an electric sauna in a modern business environment or an old-fashioned wood-burning sauna by a lakeside cottage, sauna is an essential part of daily life. So too is respect for nature and wildlife as well as people and their age-old customs. Just remember that for the Finnish, sauna has nothing to do with sex.

For everybody else? Just take it outside.

Produced By Corry Cook
Sources: Visit Finland; Kakslauttanen Artic Resort
Photos: Photographer Valtteri Hirvonen; Photographer Ruka Kuusamo; Visit Finland; Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort; Harri Tarvainen

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