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Highly Commended in the International Category of the 2015 BBC Wildlife Blogger Awards

Ivory Is Not Art

A while back I wrote a poem in praise of African elephants entitled Without You. I had doubts about its technical merits but the sentiment behind it was heartfelt. I decided to post it on my Nature Bytes blog and then I shared it on my Facebook writer page.

Elephants at dusk, Chobe National Park, Botswana. Photo: Jessica Groenendijk

An artist based in Michigan, Patty Roby, saw my poem and asked if she could use the last stanza to create a wooden indoor decorating sign to sell on her Etsy site, with all profits going to WildAid, an organization we both feel does great work in raising awareness in China about the impact of poaching for ivory. I loved the idea and agreed immediately, and a month later she had a sign ready to show me. Check it out!

Elephant sign, by Patty Roby.

I was, and am still, so excited about this initiative. Not only because it showcases my writing, and, more importantly, raises funds for an animal which moves me deeply, but also because this project brought together two complete strangers with a common cause and feeling. It's just a wonderful experience.

If you love elephants, or know someone who does, this sign is the perfect gift; 50% of the proceeds will go to help elephants in Africa. And they so desperately need our help.

Here's a receipt from WildAid, acknowledging Patty's donation of half the money made from the sale of one sign:

Thank you, Patty, for liking my poem, for creating this initiative, and for caring about the plight of wild elephants.

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