Another wonderful year at Dr Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Awards

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Roger Marks Photography

Every year, I am honoured to be invited back to Dr Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Awards. Last month, I flew back from Germany earlier than planned to attend the ceremony at London’s  Continue reading

Spotlight: Claws Out founder, Beth Jennings, reveals the truth behind cub petting

Cubs

Credit: Beth Jennings

I was made aware of Beth’s story when in discussion with a fellow guest at this year’s Dr Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Awards in London last week. From the brief story I heard, I knew I had to find out more about her eye-opening campaign and short film on the cub petting industry, so got in touch with Beth myself. Here’s what she had to say…

C: How would you describe Claws Out?

B: Claws Out began as an awareness blog and soon snowballed into a full time role as a Campaign Manager for IAPWA (International Aid for the Protection & Welfare of Animals). The entire entity stemmed from my experience as a volunteer in 2015, hand rearing lion cubs after being led to believe that I was contributing towards conservation. It’s now the charity’s only lion welfare campaign, raising awareness about the plight of lions in South Africa Continue reading

Jane: My review

I have always been a huge admirer of the inspirational primatologist that is Dr Jane Goodall. And over the years, I have been lucky enough to meet her on several occasions after being invited to her annual Roots & Shoots ceremonies in London – one of which I was honoured with the role of presenting the prizes alongside her on stage.

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R&S 2013

So when I discovered that National Geographic had made a documentary about her using footage from her first expeditions to Gombe in Africa during the 1960s, I couldn’t have been more excited to watch it.

In it, she talks about what she saw when she looked into a chimpanzees eyes. I remember the first time I truly looked into a chimpanzees eyes. It was at the UK’s primate sanctuary, called Monkey World in Dorset. It was the most incredible experience – watching him stare back at me, analysing every part of what he saw. But I felt this deep sadness in my heart. I felt like I could burst into tears at the thought of what humans are doing to our unique planet; harming these beautiful and intelligent animals by destroying the parts of the forest that they call home.

Jane made such revolutionary discoveries during her time in Africa. To think that she was the first human to have been truly accepted by a group of wild chimpanzees, the likes of whom most probably would have never encountered a human before, was remarkable. Seeing all of the newspaper clippings, from outlets breaking her wonderful story, made me think ” wow, what a time it must have been – for her, for women, for the whole world.”
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The story of Flo and Flint, albeit incredibly sad, is a prime example that animals are sentient beings. They have feelings. They care and love one another just like we humans do, and equally have the capacity to grieve for family losses.

Watching the documentary, it was incredible to see how close she became with all the animals – not just the chimpanzees. Her passion for raising awareness of the threats chimpanzees are facing in the wild is clearer than clear. Since October 1986, she hasn’t spent more than three consecutive weeks in any one place. Applauding her for her hard work and dedication would be a severe understatement.

She is an inspiration. She is a role model. She is the real-life Dr Dolittle.

2/31 Wait… you didn’t know?!

2. 20 facts about you

I have a feeling that this is going to be a tricky prompt… ten I could have managed but 20 facts just about me?! Well, here goes:

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My Queen… Amen!

  1. I’m addicted to RuPaul’s Drag Race and love pretty much all of the queens that have walked through the ‘You Better Werk’ room doors.
  2. My favourite colour is duck egg blue.
  3. I own more pairs of socks than I care to admit.
  4. I’m a bit of a Netflix addict – entire mornings can disappear if I’m not careful.
  5. I love singing and dancing.
  6. When I’m at home, I’m often found in pyjama’s… I mean what’s the point in wearing your outdoor clothes, indoors?!
  7. I began and completed WordPress’ 365 Days of Writing Prompts challenge in 2014.
  8. People find it odd that I don’t drink tea or coffee…
  9. If money was no object, I’d go to see a West End theatre show every single week.
  10. I have a very close family, which means the world to me, and am even related to Howard Carter, the guy who discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb.
  11. My Great Nan reached 104 and a half years young… the half is very important at that age.
  12. I’m obsessed with Mi backpacks. So far, I’ve got a peacock feather one, a gumball one, a galaxy print one, a duck egg blue polka dot backpack and one with elephants all over it.
  13. I’m commonly found wearing Converse hi-tops… wearing heels is for special occasions.
  14. For RuPaul’s BOTS, I temporarily dyed my hair blue. I loved it so much that I’m planning to dye it permanently blue – hopefully two tone, using cobalt and duck egg blue (of course!)
  15. Through my last job, I was sent on press trips to Iceland (Ice Age 4: Continental Drift), Norway (How To Train Your Dragon 2) and Slovenia (Postojna Cave), interviewed a robotic cockatoo (Nigel from Rio 2, with actor Jemaine Clement in another room) and even photographed the stars of TV on the red carpet at the National Television Awards.
  16. I have a BA (Hons) in Human Resource Management.
  17. I love afternoon tea… especially quirky ones such a Spanish or Thai themed.
  18. Working in children’s media means that I get to see many of the new films before they hit the cinemas and I’m a big kid who loves everything Disney, so I end up enjoying every single screening… sometimes even more than the kids that are actually there.
  19. I love unicorns, rainbows and mermaids. I even wanted to be a mermaid growing up… still do!
  20. Primates are my favourite animals (well, and dolphins and marine life of course), but I’ve been lucky enough to meet the famous Primatologist, Dr Jane Goodall three times and even helped her present awards.
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At the most recent Jane Goodall Roots & Shoots Awards with my flatmate, Féaron, where we got to meet Dr Jane’s beloved Mr. H, which travels around the world with her.

Kick it

#3: What’s the 11th item on your bucket list?

I don’t actually have a physical, written down bucket list (although maybe it should be a 2014 resolution?)… it’s more along the lines of several mental post-it notes of what I want to achieve in my lifetime! My main one though is to travel to Uganda and Borneo to be face-to-face with Mountain Gorillas and Orangutans, since for as long as I can remember, I’ve had an extreme fascination with primates. I have visited Monkey World in Dorset, on several occasions (as they are a rescue centre, not a zoo!) and to show my support I have adopted Bart the chimp, donated unwanted sheets and towels as well as purchasing a paving brick for the ‘Walk of Thanks’ (which can be found near the mischievous Capuchin Monkeys!). I also got the chance to meet a hero of mine in December last year, as mentioned in previous blog posts, in assistanting Dr Jane Goodall on stage at her Roots & Shoots Awards Ceremony – I must admit, I was completely awestruck! 

… I’ll keep you updated if I do ever make a physical bucket list!

2013 in two thousand and thirteen words … maybe*

Every New Years Eve seems to be filled with so many expectations of the year ahead; this year I’ll get my dream job, this year I’ll go on the trip of a lifetime, this year I’ll get my own place … but once again, it was just not meant to be.

Even though I didn’t achieve any of the major “reappearing” goals listed above, 2013 was filled with numerous mini-triumphs instead. I passed my driving test, albeit third time lucky, back in January on a super sunny day – every detail of the day seems to be etched into my memory for all eternity! This allowed me to finally quit retail (don’t get me wrong, I loved the staff but I was only there to fund my driving lessons). I was then free to pursue my career in journalism and publishing.

Through working at NG Kids magazine, I was lucky enough to attend the NTAs (National Television Awards) and the VIP After Party at the O2 Arena in London, which was super exciting. I even plucked up the courage to speak to David Weir, four time gold medal champion at London 2012, which was an incredible honour since my family and I were in the stadium, roaring him to victory, when he won his second gold on the 4th September (T54 1,500m). I also covered the European Premiere of Oz: The Great and Powerful; although I couldn’t feel my feet on the way home, it was most certainly an invigorating experience! I also began managing the Like it, Make it section of the magazine. This includes generating the craft idea, sourcing and obtaining all of the ingredients/materials required, planning each step, preparing a ‘here’s one I made earlier’, running the entire photo shoot on the day and finally, writing the double page spread; all on a monthly basis. It’s been hard work but it has been so much fun! Another big task for me at NGK, was that I solely arranged and organised a three day event – the Pet Expo 2013 held at Bluewater shopping centre in Kent. I thoroughly enjoyed succeeding in the challenge presented to me and subsequently enjoyed managing our stand at throughout build up, the event itself and pack down (even if a dog did decide to cock a leg on my fake ivy!). Finally, I was given the most amazing honour in being asked to present alongside Dr Jane Goodall at her Roots & Shoots Awards Ceremony. To this day, I still cannot believe that I shared the stage with such an influential and inspiring individual! Needless to say, I have begun looking into Gorilla Trek’s … to be taken in (hopefully) the very near future.

In other news … I finally created my career portfolio in the summer, in which the online version can be found at clippings.me/chloemayward (enjoy!) and it would be great to hear your thoughts! I also started networking in order to meet other journalists, I made my freelance business cards and began freelancing for various iPad magazines in my spare time. This found me at the world conference of Thor: The Dark World, held at the Dorchester Hotel. One word … breathtaking!

Aside from the Pet Expo 2013, I immersed myself into the world of events, my back up plan to journalism! Firstly, I managed the mask making section within our NGK jungle tent at the Lollibop festival, in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Kids certainly do come out with the funniest and most unpredictable things! Finally, towards the end of the year I became the production runner for the 12 Days of Christmas Parade, which brought Santa to Westfield Shopping Centre in Stratford. I also agreed to be a lantern bearing elf for the nine ladies dancing (since this parade had a modern twist, they were nine fantastic Bollywood dancers) – just seeing the little kids faces light up as we danced past and the fake snow feel, made the hard work all worth it! I do hope that I can take part in more events and festivals in the year ahead.

I know these are not triumphs as such, but I also travelled to Barcelona and stayed just off the famous Las Ramblas, treated my entire family to a weekend at Thorpe park in the new Crash Pad (we’re all roller coaster junkies and of course addicted to laughter), went to Pentatonix’s first London gig (if you haven’t heard of them, check out their Daft Punk medley asap) and finally went to see Les Misérables in the west end (and am still singing the entire soundtrack week after week!). So it’s been a relatively positive year!

Even though we lost a very treasured family member this year, who at the age at 104 and a half (those extra months are always important at that age) still had all of her marbles, she is now with her beloved husband. She will always be in our hearts.

Looking forward, as a 2014 New Years Resolution (that has not graced my list before), I have accepted a cool 365 day blogging challenge, where various blogging prompts are provided so that you don’t run out of ideas. However, I’ll state this now … I’ll only be completing the topics I feel comfortable in writing as I had a sneak peak at what January has to offer the other day and some of them are more personal diary entry than widely available blog post! Bring it on!

HAPPY NEW YEAR and all the best for 2014! 

For anyone who would also like to take up the 365 day challenge, it can be found here: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/postaday/ebook-365-writing-prompts/

* Confession time – OK maybe a word count of 2,013 was a bit optimistic, but I gave it a good go!