Global Conservation Corps Newsletter: October 2023
October 31, 2023
Matt’s 2023 US Trip
During September and October, Matt traveled to the USA and visited with existing and prospective partners across seven states. Here is an overview of the various locations he visited and a few highlights from each city.
Jackson Hole – RHINO MAN was nominated as a finalist in 2 categories at the Jackson Wild Media Awards, and on the opening night of the event, GCC screened the film to over 150 people at the Jackson Lake Lodge. Matt and RHINO MAN Lead Director John Jurko were joined by Ruben and Marianne de Kock, who are featured in the film, along with field rangers Orlat Ndlovu from the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve and Leitah Mkhabela from the Black Mambas. In attendance also were friends David Fein and Rob Campbell from United for Wildlife. The opening night was well received, with some thought-provoking discussions occurring during the Q&A session following the film.
While the film unfortunately did not win an award, we gained valuable insights into the current sales market for RHINO MAN, helping the production team adapt our approach to obtaining global distribution and getting this important story into the world. We met with many industry leaders who were incredibly supportive of the film, including the Director of My Octopus Teacher, distribution companies like Off the Fence Media, and sales agencies which have offered us support in numerous ways.
Matt was additionally able to present the Future Rangers Program on a conservation panel, which highlighted our three impact pathways (education, media, technology). Matt and the team also met with Executive Directors from the Dianne Fossey Gorilla Fund and the Jane Goodall Institute to discuss collaborative efforts in the conservation education sector moving forward.
A huge amount of thanks to our Executive Producers and Private Donors who made this monumental event possible.
Denver – Matt was honored to be flown out to Denver by the Katie Adamson Conservation Fund (KACF) as the featured keynote speaker at their Annual Gala: Katie’s Night.
Matt presented GCC’s work to over 200 people, sharing video footage from RHINO MAN, Careers in Conservation, and the Future Rangers Program. GCC friend and wildlife artist Paul Kratter contributed a beautiful rhino art piece which was auctioned off in support of our work. Additionally, Matt was honored on a personal level by winning the prestigious Katie Award, an annual award given to conservationists who go above and beyond the call of duty to protect wildlife and elevate the lives of people. For the last two years, KACF has been sponsoring GCC staff member Lefa Malapane’s salary, and we’re immensely proud and honored to be partnered with such a progressive, supportive, and inclusive partner! During Matt’s time in Denver, he was also able to meet with GCC Vice President Michelle Morgridge, new team member Austin Dingledine (more below), Board Member Steph Welsh, and pivotal supporters like the Wilson and Feinstein families.
Detroit – Through Matt’s family in Michigan, GCC hosted a private screening of RHINO MAN to over 100 people in Bloomfield Hills. Many of the audience in attendance were individuals or families that had helped support GCC or crowdfund the creation of RHINO MAN in 2015 and 2018, making this evening a very special way to show our Michigan supporters the impact their funding has created.
New York City – John and Matt presented at the Explorers Club on the 12th October to a sold out audience in Manhattan. We focused on the story of RHINO MAN and how Anton inspired us in 2017 to focus on the next generation through the Future Rangers Program. We made some wonderful connections, especially with the Explorers Club leadership team who invited Matt to apply for an EC50 Award, a prestigious accolade that would grant access to an elite network of fellow leaders, conservationists, and philanthropists.
Washington DC – Matt linked up with GCC Board Advisor Bob Ludke to visit the Conservation International Headquarters and meet with Chief of Staff Anastasia Khoo. Most of the time was spent discussing GCC’s work in the conservation education space and the synergies our organizations have in South Africa, especially with regards to our emerging technology platform that enables organizations to track the impact of their education and outreach programs.
Atlanta – In the final stop on Matt’s journey, he spent time with GCC Treasurer Justin Walker, catching up on all legal/operational matters, along with meeting Craig von Chamier, GCC Chief App Developer, and Rebekah Wortman, GCC Digital Manager. Matt met with Senior Corporate/Tax Counsel (Robyn Miller) from Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta to ensure GCC’s legal compliance, connected with previous board President Josh Lumsden, long-time supporters, Chris and Martha Spencer, and with John Jurko to discuss next steps on RHINO MAN.
An immense thank you to all the incredible people who made this trip possible, successful and rewarding on so many levels!
Promise and Lefa at the Africa’s Girl Child Dialogues
From the 10th-12th October, our very own Lefa Malapane and Promise Mkhatshwa were invited to speak at the Africa’s Girl Child Dialogue in Sandton, Johannesburg. The conference focused on supporting young women in their aspiring careers, specifically covering the technology, mining, and conservation sectors.
Lefa and Promise spoke to over 100 high school girls from all nine provinces of South Africa about their roles as conservation educators, role models, and leaders in their families and communities.
The team was also joined by Lewyn Maefala from the Black Mambas who also shared her conservation experiences as an educator in the Kruger landscape. “It was an amazing opportunity for us to talk about the work we do, especially with our female Future Rangers, and we were so honored to have been part of an insightful discussion,” said Promise when reflecting on the trip to Johannesburg. “What a beautiful event designed to inspire the next generation of female leaders! We couldn’t be more hopeful after this life-changing experience.”
Mbhoni Presents at the “Countering the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Southern Africa” Training Workshop
Late in October, the Attorney General Alliance – Africa Programme (AGA-Africa) in collaboration with Good Governance Africa (GGA) hosted a week long workshop at the Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC).
GCC’s Mbhoni Mzamani was honored with the opportunity to speak about our work, presenting on RHINO MAN the Movie, Careers in Conservation, and the Future Rangers Program. The event gave Mbhoni a platform to share video footage on the awe-inspiring lives of the late Martin Mthembu and Sgt. Anton Mzimba with delegates from government, conservation and law enforcement sectors.
We are grateful to the GGA for bringing like-minded people together and allowing important discussions to freely flow. Thank you so much for the opportunity to be part of the occasion!
Austine Dingledine joins GCC as Wildlife Guardians Experience Director
We’re proud to announce that GCC is joined by long-time friend and supporter, Austin Dingledine. Austin will lead the management of our exclusive Wildlife Guardians trips, which give guests the opportunity to go behind-the-scenes of African conservation and to partner up with the heroes, programs, and organizations working on the front-lines. Austin brings years of entrepreneurial and business acumen to the team, along with a rich history in creating bespoke experiences and curated moments for individuals looking to gain deep understanding and insights in specialized subjects. To learn more about traveling with GCC, please contact Austin through firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Voices of Nature” Podcast: Richard Vigne on the Business of Saving Nature
In this episode, we speak with Richard Vigne. Richard is the first Executive Director of the School of Wildlife Conservation, located at The African Leadership University (ALU) in Kigali, Rwanda. The School of Wildlife Conservation has a very unique approach to conservation – what it calls the business of conservation – which is aimed at creating and maintaining economic incentives for the sustainable utilization of wild resources and removing economic incentives which drive unsustainable use.
For $20 a month, you can fully fund a Future Rangers student on their development journey towards a conservation career. In addition to in-person, conservation-led courses and activities provided by our local South African educators and facilitators at select schools, our Future Rangers learners also have the opportunity to attend field trips, leadership camps, safari experiences, and many other unique learning opportunities that enable them to further connect with wildlife and conservation careers
Join us on our mission to create generational change!