Friday, February 28, 2014

Meet Haley, our new journalist intern

Before I get into my story, I’d like to introduce myself.  My name is Haley Kernell, and I am currently a second year student at the University of South Carolina School of Law.  I graduated from Clemson University in 2012 and can’t believe I am now a Gamecock (still a Clemson Tiger at heart).  I decided to pursue law school after travelling to India in March 2011 because it established in me a strong desire to strive to promote the importance of conservation.  It has become increasingly evident just how important our efforts as an organization, and even my individual efforts, are in successfully preserving our mascot.  I am excited to be the new Journalist Intern and look forward to writing about the various conservation issues surrounding the tiger and the numerous Tigers 4 Tigers clubs across the country. 

March 2011: I can remember seeing the most gorgeous tigers almost 3 years ago, and it feels like it happened yesterday.  It was our first day in Kanha, and we had gotten up at 5AM for our game drive. By this time, we were used to the early wake-up calls, even excited to get up considering we had the potential to see the precious tigers.  Kanha National Park, created in 1955, is located in Madya Pradesh.  This park is the heart of the Kanha Tiger Reserve, which covers 1,949 km2 and is rich in Indian wildlife.  It is home to 43 species of mammals, 300 species of birds, 26 species of reptiles and over 600 species of flowering plants.  It seems like we saw a majority of the wildlife!

We were driving along, and all of a sudden, our guide split off from the group to (hopefully) spot a tiger.  We were skeptical at first since the rest of the jeeps had gone the opposite direction.  Then, just when we had decided it was a false alarm, THREE tigers crossed the road directly in front of us, a mother with her two cubs.  The cubs were about 20 months old.  We were speechless and amazed at our sheer luck to catch them at the exact right time.  Our guide was beaming, especially since we were the only jeep there. It only took a little luck and a little faith.

It must have been our lucky day.  A few hours after our first sighting, we spotted a beautiful tigress basking in the sun with her fresh kill, a sambur deer.  She decided to back into the watering hole to cool off.  I couldn’t believe I was watching such a majestic and powerful animal for the second time that day. The large gathering of jeeps did not phase her one bit.  The giant honeybees, on the other hand, got to be such a nuisance that she didn’t stick around for too long.  Those few precious minutes watching her were breathtaking and a reminder of why we are working so hard to preserve this magnificent creature. Being able to lay eyes on four of the remaining 1,400 tigers in India was a wonderful blessing, one that will stay with me for forever. 

This trip inspired me to work towards making a difference to the survival of the tiger.  It opened my eyes to the fact that it is not a widely known plight, even in India, which is why I am so passionate about spreading the work of this organization.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Tigers for Tigers members generate mass awareness to #saveourmascot on Feb 26th

On February 26th, between 11 and 3pm EST, Trinity University and Clemson University Tigers for Tigers will stand together to raise awareness for the plight of their mascot, the tiger, by hosting an national awareness event.

We wish to introduce students to issues about tiger conservation and empower them to join the T4T community. With less than 3200 tigers in the wild, now is our time to take action.

A student dressed as a poacher will chase around the tiger mascot in high traffic areas, such as the library and dining halls to generate buzz on campus. We will be encouraging our community to take action by donating to our cause or engaging with us on twitter utilizing #saveourmascot.

“This event is a great way to show how we can collaborate across the country, work together and save our mascot,” said Gabby Sandigo, Co-President of Trinity T4T.

We wish to utilize the affinity for our mascot to make a difference in its survival. Proceeds from the event will be sent to our premier Indian partner, Tiger Trust, and will be donated to their awareness program “Save the Roar.”

The “Save the Roar” campaign wishes to spread awareness to the younger generation about tiger conservation and natural resources. In January, students of the National Tigers for Tigers Coalition participated in a “Save the Roar” event in Ranthambore National Park in India. Tigers for Tigers members met with local high-school students and forest department officials to learn about tiger conservation efforts on the ground and discuss collaborations.

“We must change the perceptions and value of our mascot on campus. It starts by educating members of our community and taking action. If we can work together on an international scale to empower youth, our efforts will have a greater impact,” said Sean Carnell, National Coordinator of the National Tigers for Tigers Coalition.

Follow us on Twitter and use the hashtag #saveourmascot to find out how you can help and make a difference on your campus or in your community. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tigers for Tigers, the only conservation organization on our campus

Nathan Hahn and Allegra Waterman Snow of Colorado College Tigers for Tigers sit down with Sean Carnell.

How did you hear about Tigers for Tigers and get involved in the organization?

Both of us heard about Tigers for Tigers through Hayley Dieckmann who stated Tigers for Tigers through the pre-vet club last year. Once the letter from the national coalition reached Colorado College, someone passed it down to her thinking that she is the best one to organize the Tigers for Tigers club here. She has an interest meeting last spring and that’s how we got involved. Now here we are today!

It was exciting for us, because it was a new club and many people were excited about it. We saw a lot of opportunity for the club to grow. It is also the only conservation club on campus, which makes us unique.

Why does this matter to you? Why do you care about our mascot?

Both of us are biology majors with a focus in ecology and evolution in the natural aspect. Both of us know that tigers are a keystone species and that we care about our mascot because of its ecological value. We are also very passionate about protecting the natural environment and protecting the species that are endangered. And because of that, we are very passionate about saving our mascot.

The tiger is extremely important to the identity of our school as well and if there are no more tigers, our mascot would mean a lot less.

What are some of the activities that you have planned for this semester?

We are trying to host an event every month for our members.

We have a trip to a local accredited sanctuary with a student organization on campus known as Breakout. Breakout receives funding from the university to take students into the community to participate in volunteer activities. We hope that this will also open the door for students who have not heard of Tigers for Tigers on campus. We hope that this upcoming trip will inspire more students to join us outside of the biology department.

We also have an upcoming trip to the Cheyenne zoo in which we will donate our tiger enrichment toy that we coordinated with them last semester. We will also follow up with everyone who participated in the event to generate more attention on campus and within the community.

We also hope to visit the National Wildlife Property Repository in Denver, CO to educate our members about the severity regarding wildlife crime and what United States Fish and Wildlife Service is doing to combat the issues. It is a unique opportunity for our members considering we are so close to the facility.

Do you think that the Tigers for Tigers experience will be useful outside of college and applicable to your career?

I believe that the connections will provide us with more opportunities outside of college to pursue anything in that direction. Personally, dealing with the beginnings of a club and setting up a club on campus is an experience that not everyone gets. It is also a great resume builder.

For our underclassmen who are joining there are a lot of  great networking opportunities among our partner organizations, especially if you meet them at the National T4T Coalition meetings. It will also provide you with insights if you wish to pursue a career in the non-for-profit field. It is definitely something that we have been pushing in the club to underclassmen, and the opportunities to meet with other people from around the country. It is also great to have connections among other student groups across the country who have the same passion as you. I know that I experienced that in Washington DC when I got to meet everyone from the national t4t coalition. It was really a great experience me.

What is one of your proudest moments within Colorado College T4T?

I think what was most rewarding and stood out for me was when we were able to go to the Cheyenne zoo and help out with the Big Cats Bonanza and seeing the support within the club, helping out throughout their educational event, we could tell that our efforts were greatly appreciated by the zoo. That was one of those moments, where I was like “hey, this is a really cool club! We are actually doing something!”

In three words, how would you describe your club:

“Dedicated, growing, potential”

We are a small, dedicated group with growing potential!

What are some of the challenges that you face in your organization?

One of the main problems that we are facing is that at Colorado College is that we go by the block system. Within the block system, everyone has so many things going on it is hard to get people to change up their schedule to participate in Tigers for Tigers. So one of our current issues is recruitment but it is one of our major goals this semester to find ways to engage students of all disciplines across campus to join our club.

Do you have any words of encouragement for other T4T clubs?

I think what we found to be successful is to have events that reach out into the wider community. It also offers members an opportunity to participate in our activities. I think getting out into the wider community is great thing. We are excited to find out what all of the other Tigers for Tigers clubs do as well.

It is also really important to keep your members involved. If they are not involved, the club will not be important to them. So through planned events or delegating work, even if everything doesn’t work out, it is great was to keep them engaged. We have been able to find two or three underclassmen who are reliable, can get things done and they are excited to do it. We have been giving them more responsibilities as we move forward and we look forward to see where they take Colorado College Tigers for Tigers once we graduate.

About Us:
As a part of a small liberal arts community, we hope to bring attention to our mascot and to raise awareness among the student body of the importance of tiger conservation and ethical treatment. By working with the school administration and local zoos and sanctuaries, we hope to organize educational events, fundraisers, and provide opportunities for direct interactions with tigers and other big cats. For more information, follow them on Facebook.