Welcome to the first Rachel Meets Planet blog post!
I am so excited to finally share this project with you all! It has been an exhausting and exhilarating 6 months to work towards the launch of RMP, and I cannot thank you all enough for sharing this community and passion with me.
For those of you just joining the troop, let me give you a little background.
I have worked in the animal care industry for over 5 years, working with 25+ species of animals in daily care and training and also working in the rescue and rehabilitation of various marine life across the Florida coast. Most recently, I have spent my time learning from the great apes, working alongside Gorillas and Chimpanzees.
It was my childhood dream to work with animals, forming trusting and positive relationships with them as I watched other trainers do growing up. After college, I completed several internships before landing my dream job, where I am now working with gorillas and chimpanzees as an animal care specialist.
Great apes are wildly rewarding to work with; they are some of the most difficult animals to earn their trust and they always keep you on your toes! I spent years building relationships with the animals I was lucky enough to call coworkers; one of which was with a juvenile male named Bolingo.
Bolingo and I share the same high energy in sessions and we work well together. We are best friends! As he was growing and maturing into a silverback, it was evident that he had lots of excess energy and needed to have beneficial outlets to express it. I started working a lot of higher energy behaviors with him and we were able to make so much progress so quickly and build our relationship!
One of the most notable behaviors I had taught him was a handstand which went viral across the globe. Not only was this ridiculously fun to train with him but it allowed our relationship to grow exponentially. It is one thing to work through the motions of learning the behavior with him (something we do fairly regularly and wasn't too difficult), but I also had to teach him how to trust himself to alter his weight and go into the handstand formation. Talk about magic!
When the video went viral, I was enamored by the support I received; having people follow my journey from all over the world was humbling to say the least.
But it also gave me the push and ability to follow another dream of mine; the Rachel Meets Planet Project.
By now having the incredible group of supporters that I do, I was motivated by all of you to finally start this non-profit!
Rachel Meets Planet Inc. focuses on three main aspects: Discover, Inspire, Protect.
Through our non-profit mission, we aim to explore conservation topics by connecting with animal behavioralists, storytellers, conservationists, and strategists worldwide to get to the root of conservation issues at hand. We will lead expeditions that help us gain a better understanding of the problems our planet is facing today.
We will use this information to bring it home to you; we want to educate, inspire, and get all of you involved with what we're doing. By taking you behind the scenes, making you an integral part of our work, and educating the public, we want these conservation topics brought to light. It truly is YOU, the consumer and community member, that changes the game.
The ultimate goal through conservation is to protect; we aim to protect animals and their ecosystems by serving as a voice for the voiceless and by initiating and pioneering behavioral conservation projects that help animals have increased rates of survival in nature. We want to help guide donations to where they are needed most. We want to help bring you with us on this journey to show others how our everyday actions have widespread and lasting impacts.
We are creating a community of game changers like this planet has never seen before.
I am eternally thankful for each and every one of you and cannot wait to change the game together!
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