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Re: Help Needed for Madagascar Ankizy Fund [Humanitarian Dinosaurs in Action!]

A worthy cause, Andy.  If I may add an additional comment (which will be
almost on-topic):  The scale of environmental destruction on Madagascar
is unimaginable. Roughly 85% of the island's forests have been cut down;
the slash burned in the mistaken belief that the naked soil will create
productive farm land.  In an old _Natural History_ magazine article
(March, 1997 issue; the article on Rahonavis, Majungasaurus, and the
island's titanosaurs), Sampson, Krause and Forster briefly described the
local islander tradition of "slash and burn" land-clearing/agriculture. 
In an ironic twist, this environmentally destructive practice creates
huge areas of blackened soil in which the bleach-white fossil bones are
easier to spot during paleo field surveys.

Currently (2004 data), reforestation is not keeping up with
deforestation.  Most of the remaining ~15% treed land is only
*semi*-protected in a national park.
With each rainy season, more precious Madagascarian topsoil is washed
into the Indian Ocean, and this loss has a direct negative effect on
sustainable food production. There are environmental education programs
currently in place in Madagascar, and reforestation programs are becoming
an important adjunct to foreign aid to the country.  IMHO, both of these
programs are obscenely under funded, and scientists, particularly those
who do research on the island, should take a greater role in getting out
the word about this disaster.  Even a short 30-second comment inserted
into a professional talk, or a comment inserted into classroom lecture,
will help to spread the word.

<pb> (who will now return ta thankin' 'bout dinersaurs)

On Thu, 06 Jan 2005 15:31:38 -0500 "Andrew A. Farke"
<andyfarke@hotmail.com> writes:
> Most of you have probably heard about the phenomenal fossil 
> discoveries made
> by the Stony Brook University/U of Antananarivo expeditions to the 
> Upper
> Cretaceous Maevarano Formation around Berivotra, Madagascar as part 
> of the
> Mahajanga Basin Project--Masiakasaurus, Rahonavis, Majungatholus,
> Simosuchus, and others. However, many of you may not know about an
> associated humanitarian effort: The Madagascar Ankizy Fund
> (http://www.ankizy.org).
> The Madagascar Ankizy Fund (MAF) was founded in 1998 by vertebrate
> paleontologist Dave Krause, principal investigator on the Mahajanga 
> Basin
> Project, in response to a need for education and healthcare in the 
> Berivotra
> field area and other remote areas of Madagascar. "Ankizy" means 
> "children"
> in the Malagasy language.  Prior to the building of Sekoly Riambato 
> (The
> "Stony Brook School," in Malagasy), none of the children (or their 
> parents)
> in the village could read or write. Since the opening of Sekoly 
> Riambato in
> 2001, two classes of students have graduated, many of them 
> continuing on for
> secondary education in Marovoay.  More recently, MAF has built 
> another
> school in southeastern Madagascar and renovated an orphanage in the 
> city of
> Mahajanga.  MAF has also been responsible for coordinating medical 
> and
> dental clinics in the Berivotra area and other parts of Madagascar. 
> A large
> medical/dental team, with volunteer healthcare workers from Stony 
> Brook
> University, will accompany the paleontological research team to 
> Madagascar
> this summer.
> Through the generous support of a number of individuals and 
> organizations,
> MAF has been able to provide many of these services. However, the 
> work does
> not stop once a school is built or a clinic held. Money is needed to 
> pay
> teacher's salaries and for school supplies. Buildings must be 
> repaired and
> kept up. Medicines and supplies must be bought for clinics and 
> Malagasy
> doctors and dentists must be trained.
> Thus, I am writing to the Dinosaur Mailing List for help. We are 
> looking for
> anyone - teachers, scientists, students of any level, private 
> citizens,
> social or religious groups - who might be able to help raise money 
> for MAF.
> Even the smallest amount of money goes a long way! For instance, the 
> annual
> salary of a Malagasy teacher is $500.  A number of grade school 
> classes have
> raised money as group projects. Of course, direct donations from 
> individuals
> or businesses are also appreciated. We are in an especially 
> important
> fundraising period now, as another expedition (with medical/dental 
> staff) is
> slated for this coming summer.
> In the summer of 2003, I was fortunate enough to spend a field 
> season on the
> Mahajanga Basin Project. In addition to finding a ton of 
> Masiakasaurus
> material (reported by Matt Carrano and others at the latest SVP), I 
> got to
> know many of the residents of Berivotra, and even work alongside 
> some of
> them. Many of the children of Berivotra are the first members of 
> their
> families ever to go to school. It is quite powerful to see the 
> immense
> differences between life in that part of Madagascar and North 
> America - but
> equally moving to see how many things we have in common.
> For further information, please contact me (andyfarke@hotmail.com) 
> or David
> Krause (dkrause@notes.cc.sunysb.edu) off-list. Direct contributions 
> can be
> sent to: Madagascar Ankizy Fund/284300, Department of Anatomical 
> Sciences,
> Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-8081. The fund is 
> administered
> through the Stony Brook Foundation, the not-for-profit wing of Stony 
> Brook
> University, and all contributions are tax deductible.
> Thank you!
> Andy Farke
> ________________________________
> Andrew A. Farke, Graduate Student
> Department of Anatomical Sciences
> Stony Brook University
> T8 040 Health Sciences Center
> Stony Brook, NY  11794-8081
> Phone: 631-444-7364
> Email: afarke@ic.sunysb.edu