Monday, February 17, 2014


Whenever we teach a Stand & Deliver program, a key part of the training is on the voice. We give out quotations on slips of paper and have participants work on creating more variety and expression and meaning in their communication. Below are some of the quotes I selected especially for the WWF group:

I am in love with this world. I have nestled lovingly in it. I have climbed its mountains, roamed its forests, sailed its waters, crossed its deserts, felt the sting of its frosts, the oppression of its heats, the drench of its rains, the fury of its winds, and always have beauty and joy waited upon my goings and comings.

Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grasses and gentians of glacial meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of nature's darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings, Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but nature's sources never fail.

Maybe freedom really is nothing left to lose. You had it once in childhood, when it was okay to climb a tree, to paint a crazy picture and wipe out on your bike, to get hurt. The spirit of risk gradually takes its leave. It follows the wild cries of joy and pain down the wind, through the hedgerow, growing ever fainter. What was that sound? A dog barking far off? That was our life calling to us, the one that was vigorous and undefended and curious.

Civilized Man says: I am Self, I am Master, all the rest is other--outside, below, underneath, subservient. I own, I use, I explore, I exploit, I control. What I do is what matters. What I want is what matter is for. I am that I am, and the rest is women & wilderness, to be used as I see fit.

Be wild; that is how to clear the river. The river does not flow in polluted, we manage that. The river does not dry up, we block it. If we want to allow it its freedom, we have to allow our ideational lives to be let loose, to stream, letting anything come, initially censoring nothing. That is creative life. It is made up of divine paradox. To create one must be willing to be stone stupid, to sit upon a throne on top of a jackass and spill rubies from one’s mouth. Then the river will flow, then we can stand in the stream of it raining down.

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds, the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for the spring. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature - the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.

You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of our grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin. Teach your children what we have taught our children--that the earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth, befalls the sons of the earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves. This we know. The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.

I really don’t know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea. I think it’s because in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes and ships change, it’s because we all came from the sea. All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean. And therefore we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch, we are going back from whence we came.

Fresh beauty opens one's eyes wherever it is really seen, but the very abundance and completeness of the common beauty that besets our steps prevents its being absorbed and appreciated. It is a good thing, therefore, to make short excursions now and then to the bottom of the sea among dulse and coral, or up among the clouds on mountain-tops, or in balloons, or even to creep like worms into dark holes and caverns underground, not only to learn something of what is going on in those out-of-the-way places, but to see better what the sun sees on our return to common everyday beauty. 

The dancers of Rwanda

And then they invited us all to dance with them....

Stand & Deliver in Africa

Notice the home made flip charts.

In the shadow of the volcano.

Some more gorilla photos

These photos were taken by the director of the WWF Global Species Program, Carlos Drews. They are of the Umubano group of gorillas. 

Many of these individuals were habituated by David Greer, who was part of our training (see previous posting for more on David).

Meaning "neighborliness," the Umubano group has 13 individuals.
Led by Charles, the dominant silverback, Umubano was formerly a part of the Amahoro group. As Charles matured into a silverback of the same rank as Ubumwe, he could not stand being given orders and decided to stage a fight and challenge Ubumwe. The fight went on for weeks and then months. Finally, Charles managed to snatch from Ubumwe a few females and formed his own group. Since then, he has commanded respect and recognition from Ubumwe. We have observed, on various occasions, interactions between the two silverbacks, but no fighting has been seen since the great battle ended.

It was after meeting Peter Meyers at IMD and thru Carlos' efforts that Stand & Deliver had the privilege of working with the WWF. Carlos is not only a great photographer but a model team leader as well. Thanks for letting me post these Carlos!

Friday, February 14, 2014

The species program leaders for the WWF

Under African Skies

One morning, we took a field trip to a beautiful lake and saw this tranquil scene before us when we arrived. The locals fish for tilapia in this lake. We saw many beautiful birds - egrets, kingfishers, herons, and others I have never seen before.

 Looking in the opposite direction, we were dwarfed by a huge volcano. This one has a lake inside the crater at the top. Mountain gorillas have been known to climb to the top and sit and gaze at the lake.

This child has a mathematics book in his hand. He was studying it when we passsed by, so we stopped to take some photos of him and his friends and family.

The 800 pound Gorilla in the Room

David Greer, one of the participants in the WWF program, has been working with mountain gorillas for over 20 years and currently leads the WWF great apes program. He has worked with Jane Goodall and throughout Africa to protect animals ever since he left Kansas. He is an extraordinarily passionate and generous person and a great storyteller. His tales of his time in Rwanda before and after the 1994 genocide are amazing to hear him tell. Here he is imitating his favorite silverback male.

It was an amazing experience to see these magnificent creatures in the wild. We spent an hour with a family of 13 gorillas, watching them play, eat, and snooze. They didn't seem to mind us, but we probably all look the same to them anyway.

Looking in to the eyes of a gorilla is a unique experience. You see all the expression, emotion and intelligence that feels so familiar, but at the same time so wild and different.

Jane got along with the gorillas very well. At one point, a huge male silverback walked right past her, within inches. She said, "I could have reached out and touched him, if I was crazy."