Friday, May 30th
Pin Chasers Midtown
4847 North Armenia Ave.
Tampa, FL, 33603
It's that time of year again! The 25th Annual Bowling for Rhinos is upon us. This is American Association of Zoo Keeper's (AAZK) biggest fundraiser of the year and it is a momentous one this year - we are set to surpass $5 million raised since the inception of this event. We are also aiming to raise $500,000 this year - after the record $485,000 last year. All the information about the event is at Tampa Bay AAZK's website.
Tampa Bay AAZK is hosting their chapter's Bowling for Rhinos:
Friday, May 30th
Pin Chasers Midtown
4847 North Armenia Ave.
Tampa, FL, 33603
You can bowl in the first crash (6-8pm) or the second crash (8:30-10:30 pm). We will also have t-shirts for sale (see above image). You save $5 by pre-registering at the website - it is $30 to bowl and buy a shirt - it is $20 for one or the other. There will also be a silent auction with many cool items including animal-inspired and created artwork, as well as a raffle with lots of Florida signed sport memorabilia and tickets, the BIGGEST PRIZE we've ever had - four round-trip tickets from Southwest Airlines. Last year, we raised over $6,300 - a record for us. As Tampa Bay AAZK's Fundraising Chair, I am the Bowling for Rhinos coordinator as well, so if you have any questions, feel free to e-mail Sean@RunningForRhinos.com. :)
Lots of developments lately. The absence of an update is indicative of how busy I've been. It's hard enough to keep the training portion updated, but here I am now. I'm working on a few things for the International Rhino Keeper Association (IRKA) - mainly, our fundraising calendar and helping to organize the Board of Directors election - and Tampa Bay AAZK - our next fundraiser. I have a few more things to work on in order to apply for a promotion at work, so I'm sticking with that obviously. I heard back that I was not chosen as a finalist for the Conservation Ambassadorship to Zimbabwe for Painted Dog Conservation. I'm okay with that...it is disappointing, but there's always next year. I've had a few other unpleasant personal setbacks, but life goes on...and so must I.
On the plus side, I've heard back from Save the Rhino. They accepted my application! They sent me a finalized registration form to fill out and send back (which I did) and once they process my application payment, it will be all set! Then I'll receive their instructions for donations and training and be well on my way to London next year. I also recently weighed below 200 pounds for the first time in at least a decade, which is amazing - and something I owe to running. On a related note, I traded in my work belt for a smaller one, and my size 36 work shorts for size 34 shorts. Woo hoo! They are a little snug...but they do flatter my rear end. ;o)
The Disneyland Half Marathon is September 1st. One month away! Donald, Mickey, Minnie, Pluto and Goofy are waiting for me...I'm very excited. Training amps up a bit in two weeks --- with the longest run of the fourteen week training period (10 miles) on the docket. I will most likely be running that in Massachusetts as I go home for five days to visit family and hang on the beach in Maine. I'm hoping the heat does not follow me north.
I am very excited today! I received the application from Save the Rhino for the Virgin London Marathon 2014 – woo hoo! I am going to fill it out tonight, scan it at work tomorrow and e-mail it immediately. I really, really, really hope I am accepted as one of their 50 “Golden Bond places.” There are a few questions that make me glad I have experienced some recent events. One question asks about previous experience with marathons. Well, I have only run one half marathon, but the director of Save the Rhino (the lovely Cathy Dean) with whom I spoke at the recent International Rhino Keeper Association (IRKA) workshop in San Diego (more to come on that!) knows that London will be my first – it is the Virgin London Marathon after all…hehe.
“Why do you want to run for Save the Rhino?” is the easiest question on the application – to help save rhinos, of course! They are a huge part of my life, and treating this planet as gently as I can is something I live every day. Anything extra I can do to help wild rhinos is an unfathomable bonus.
(insert digression here)
I’ve recently applied for a Conservation Ambassadorship at work. The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund allows several SEA employees the opportunity to apply to travel internationally to one of the Fund's supported projects and help out. I completed several essays and filmed a two minute video (which ended up being a satirical political advertisement to elect me as Conservation Ambassador) as part of the application to help Painted Dog Conservation – an organization that deals with educating children about the importance of conservation of animals and their habitat, stopping poaching in Hwange National Park including dismantling snares, and rehabilitating injured painted dogs. Snares affect rhinos too, so that was a part of my angle. ;)
(end of digression)
Lastly, they ask about your previous fundraising experience. Well…I am the Fundraising Chair of
Tampa Bay AAZK and I just finished coordinating our largest fundraiser of the year – Bowling for Rhinos! It raised over $6,300 – a record for our chapter – and while I didn’t do it alone, I did a good deal of work for it, so that should definitely help me out. Cross your fingers, please...and I’ll keep y’all posted. :)
Annually, participating chapters of the American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) hold a fundraiser called Bowling for Rhinos (BFR), the proceeds from which benefit wild rhinos - namely, those at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and Action for Cheetah Kenya in Africa, and Ujung Kulon, Way Kambas, and Bukit Barisan Selatan National Parks in Indonesia. Tampa Bay AAZK held its 24th Annual Bowling for Rhinos on May 31 at Pin Chasers in Tampa, FL. While AAZK is an organization focused on professional development, it also cares about conservation. It is with this in mind that the members of Tampa Bay AAZK volunteered their time, energy, and in some cases, artistry, to make this year's BFR the most successful Tampa has ever had. We have raised, to this date, over $6,100, surpassing last year's record amount!
As the fundraising chair for Tampa Bay AAZK, I was automatically (and happily) the BFR coordinator this year. This involved planning the event, negotiating with the bowling alley to secure a good deal and raising awareness. Most importantly, I did not do this alone. I had a dedicated cadre of zookeeper-helpers that solicited local businesses for donations for the silent auction and raffle, helped set up the night of the event, got the word out on social media and on local news and radio stations, and worked with their animals to get some paintings to auction off as well. That's right - animals can paint! We also had ticket and tour packages from Busch Gardens, Sea World Orlando, Lowry Park Zoo, Adventure Island, Discovery Cove, MOSI, The Dali Museum, and Dinosaur World, signed sports items from the Tampa Bay Rays, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tampa Bay Lightning, and lots of animal-related photographs and artwork.
Traditionally, Tampa Bay AAZK hosts Bowling for Rhinos on the last Friday of May every year. You can go to our website - http://www.tampabayaazk.com - for updated information. We hope to see you next year!