Friday, December 18, 2009

CASE STUDY: An Outstanding Sustainable Global Model - Born From Tragedy

By Suzanne De Cornelia

Kim Basinger won a Best Actress Oscar portraying Kuki Gallman in the film 'I Dream of Africa' based on Kuki's reverberating autobiography. As a child in Italy she dreamed about Africa. People told her, little Italian girls don't move to Africa. As an adult, she and her husband and son did.

They acquired the natural wonder of the 100,000 acre Ol Ari Nyiro ranch in Kenya, along with its cattle, sheep and camels. Lion, black rhino, elephant, buffalo, leopard, zebra, waterbuck, impala, antelope and cheetah roam the ranch's mountains and forests. 400-types of birds fly its air. 800 different kinds of plants cover its land.

The ranch is self-sustaining with organically grown fruits, vegetables, meats, poultry, eggs, dairy product and herbs that its gourmet chef whips into nutrient-packed delights. Natural springs supply water. Electricity and light comes from solar power, rechargeable batteries, and candles. Upon acquiring the ranch Kuki hired rangers to stop the poaching and became passionately involved in conservation.

In the early 1980's, the two worst possible tragedies struck. Kuki's beloved husband Paolo died in an auto accident, just before their daughter was born. And three years later her adorable 17-year-old son Emanuele was killed on the eve of his departure for Stanford University. Both treasured their African paradise, and for them Kuki rededicated her life to sustaining its natural glory.

She started the Gallmann Memorial Foundation in 1984 as a living memorial to Paolo and Emanuele. They are buried in her garden beneath two Acacia trees, within the spiritual richness they treasured. The Foundation's logo of two Acacia trees symbolizes resurrection and new beginning.

Ol Ari Nyiro has become a model of sustainable paradise: melding humans and nature, development and conservation. The Foundation's programs are often in partnership with scientists, museums, zoological societies, and wildlife funds from around the globe. They include: antipoaching programs, community service, ecological, ornithological and botanical studies, and range management.

Other ranch highlights are a Black Rhino Sanctuary; a Wildlife Preserve; and luxurious guest huts with fireplaces and verandahs in native African style. At the ranch's Laikipia Wilderness Center for Environmental Education high school and university students study environmental stewartship with the Ranch's researchers and rangers. They track animals, catalogue species, learn basic Swahili and low-impact camping. Their dormitories are built from native materials and are wind and solar powered.

Kuki realized her dream of living a most civilizing life, apart from modern civilization. She used her tragedies to evolve a living memorial and a model for the entire world. She says we all must act to create a better world '... we each share the responsibility to protect what we could today so easily destroy.' For more information see:

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