SUPPORTING SPECIES CONSERVATION THROUGH FUNDRAISING, AWARENESS AND EDUCATION.
In October 2013, friends and family, including Julie Scardina, Julie Byford, and Heather Armentrout embarked on the adventure of a lifetime. Julie Scardina worked with long time friend Chris Liebenberg and the team at Piper & Heath Travel to create a custom trip to Uganda and Kenya, two of Julie’s favorite countries and also the locations of some amazing conservation work. Being a board member of the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, Julie had developed relationships with the founders of many groups saving species in Africa. While in these two beautiful countries we met with several of these incredible wildlife heroes. In Uganda, we met with Uganda Conservation Foundation and in Samburu, Kenya we had the opportunity to interact with the research teams from Save the Elephants and Ewaso Lions. We learned about the critical research they are conducting with elephants and lions, and the equally important role the local communities play in conserving these incredible species.
For some of the travelers, this was their first exposure to what conservation is and means. For Julie, Julie, and Heather, animals and the natural world have always been a passion, having dedicated our careers to caring for a variety of animals in a zoological setting and educating guests, school children and audiences to conservation concepts. While on safari, we decided we wanted to do more to ensure all the beautiful animals we were observing would be here for future generations.
Once back in the U.S. we contacted Piper & Heath Travel: Chris and Emily Liebenberg, and Mark Forman. Piper & Heath has a long history of giving back to African communities and conservation projects, so they were eager to join forces with Julie, Julie, and Heather to create Mission:Wildlife. Soon after Mission: Wildlife was created Anthony Armentrout and Deb Sandler were brought on board to round out the team.
Virtually every traveler who went with us on that original trip, and subsequent trips, all attend or support the efforts. Mission: Wildlife is as much about creating awareness and enthusiasm for animals and conservation as it is about raising dollars!