Luke Cole 400 Species $40,000 Memorial Challenge
A benefit for Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment (CRPE)
September 26th and 27th, 2009
The birding community lost one of our most selfless members when Luke
Cole was tragically killed June 6, 2009 in an auto accident while
visiting Uganda. Luke's passion for birds, birding and conservation
seemed boundless. Whether he was looking for the near-mythical Red Owl
in Madagascar or simply trying to add a new species to his many county
lists while traversing back roads in California, Luke's joy in finding
and sharing birds was infectious.
Luke was not only a great birder he was also a great humanitarian. With
his background in law, Luke could have been a highly paid attorney.
Instead Luke founded the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment
(CRPE). Acting Executive Director Caroline Farrell wrote:
"Luke founded CRPE almost 20 years ago, in October 1989. What started as
the 'Luke Cole employment project' has become a 15-person environmental
justice organization with a national reputation for representing poor
people and people of color fighting for environmental justice . . . He
recognized that an injustice in one community diminishes us all. He
shared his power and privilege to help those low income communities and
communities of color struggle against powerful interests and buck the
To celebrate Luke's life some of his friends have come up with the kind
of harebrained scheme Luke would have loved; a California-wide birding
event to raise funds to help keep CRPE running strong.
Here's the challenge: Can a group of birders find 400 bird species in
one weekend in California? And can we raise donations amounting to $100
per species for the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment?
Unlike a Birdathon, teams and individuals in the Challenge will be
working with each other instead of competing against each other.
Everyone from elite birder to backyard observer can add to the ultimate
state total. In the spirit of Luke's passion for county listing, species
will be tallied county-by-county as well. Focusing county-by-county will
be essential if we are to reach the 400 species mark, as we'll need a
grass-roots effort from observers looking for such isolated species as
Great Gray Owl in Tuolumne County, Yellow-footed Gull in Imperial County
and Greater Sage Grouse in Lassen County.
As of this point, the dates are set and we're working hard to set up the
coordinators for all 58 counties in California. Also, we're working hard
with our friends at CRPE to set up a simplified mechanism to pledge
donations to the effort. As soon as these details are sorted out, we'll
send out an update, but mark your calendars now to join us!
Mark Eaton mark@...
Steve Glover countylines@...
Alan Hopkins ash@...
Brent Plater bplater@...
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