I'm trying to help a friend get the word out about a really interesting event being put together to raise awareness for jaguars in Mexico and the SW United States. It looks like they're asking people to put together teams (both cycling and rafting) and converge on the same place at the end of their journey for a symposium/press event.

I thought it might be cool if any off-road cyclists here wanted to take part and make theirs a bikepacking journey, say from the Grand Canyon to Globe or something.




WHAT: Concurrent 10-day bicycle trips by jaguar advocates from conservation groups, conservation-minded cyclists, and members of the general public coupled with a rafting event on the Gila River, converging on Phoenix for a press conference and delivery of “conservation instruments” to federal and state wildlife agencies (to be decided; may include a petition and/or letters of public support obtained during and prior to the event, messages from supportive elective officials, etc.). Teams will make stops alone their routes to meet local event hosts and talk about jaguar recovery with community members and media.

WHEN: Spring 2010, best options include March 13-22 (college spring break) and April 17-26 (Earth Day week).

Team #1: Bicycle from the AZ/Mexico border (Sasabe)
Team #2: Bicycle from the Grand Canyon
Team #3: Raft the Gila River, Virden , NM to Bylas , AZ
Team convergence: Globe, AZ for joint trip to Phoenix

Note: The borderlands to Grand Canyon scope of the event is meant to symbolize the historical range of the jaguar, north to south, in Arizona; the river float the presence of jaguar in New Mexico.

The purpose of the event is to increase enthusiasm and trigger actions to bring back the jaguar as a species of the U.S. Specifically:

1. To request a federal recovery program for the jaguar, or, in the event that a recovery plan is approved beforehand, to show support for speedy program development and implementation.
2. To build and demonstrate public support for jaguar recovery.
3. To carry out a fun event for endangered species conservation.

Organizational support and leadership: Potentially the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Sky Island Alliance, given their keen involvement in jaguar conservation. I can provide day-to-day planning support through my nonprofit organization Life Net Nature (www.lifenetnature.org)

Create organizational team of up to six individuals (immediate).
Inter-organizational planning (summer): “shaping the event”
Logistical planning, formation of core teams, recruitment of participants (summer-fall)
Publicity and promotion (winter)
Jag-A-Thon and follow up (spring)