Sometimes An Elephant Is Just An Elephant
August 22, 2004 9:50 AM   Subscribe

The Peace Parks Foundation is an international, neutral body that coordinates the creation of "Peace Parks" -- a more foundation friendly name for "Transfrontier Conservation Areas." Peace Parks are defined as "relatively large protected areas, which straddle international frontiers between two or more countries and cover large-scale natural systems encompassing one or more protected areas."

Executive Vice-Chairman Willem van Riet of South Africa, in San Diego, California, this month to receive the Presidential Award from GIS software giant ESRI, is that Peace Parks remove the fences of international frontiers -- the "scars of history" -- to let elephants resume their natural migratory paths. An early success of this idea was profiled in full and stunning color by the National Geographic in 2001.
posted by mmahaffie (6 comments total)
Crud.... "is that" in paragraph 2 should be "explained that." My apologies for lame editing. And in a first FPP, too.

Still, no one has a comment?
posted by mmahaffie at 7:11 PM on August 22, 2004

mmahaffie, it's a neat idea, and I'm glad to know about it. It's so selfevidently good though that there's not a lot to say about it. Don't feel bad: comment quantity has nothing to do with link quality (some days I think there's an inverse relationship).
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:33 PM on August 22, 2004

It's a good post, and a great idea, mmahaffie. The problem is not at all the subject of the post, I think, but the nature of the Peace Parks Foundation site. If I were them, I would do a complete overhaul, both from a technical perspective, and from a ...let's call it "marketing" point of view, though I hate to put it that way.

Their news area has some interesting stuff ("1000 Elephant Translocation", "Zulu potion found to kill cancer", etc.), but it should be presented better. As it is, it isn't inviting, and it isn't reader-, or link-friendly. Since the articles come up in new windows without the regular browser functions, In order to link to a story, one must right-click to get the page info, then copy and paste that url into a new window (if the user knows about doing this little maneuver), and then the page linked to will look like this: ugly, and very hard to read. And since the site is made with frames, none of the regular pages can be linked to either.

If I were them, I would also make a really nice gallery of (blogging-friendly linkable) images, maybe some quicktime or flash movies, and possibly a webcam sort of thing. They have a very exciting and interesting project, but they are not doing much with this medium to promote it. As it stands, if someone is already somewhat knowledgeable about this effort, and motivated to find out more, they can find some information on this site. If a person just follows a link there to see what it's all about, there's not much to draw them in, and then no good way to link to anything specific on the site and spread the word if they do become intrigued with anything in particular.

I didn't go into all this as any sort of criticism of the post, though; I detailed it a little bit in case someone from the project ever reads this thread. It's a great idea, and I hope they can improve their presentation and increase their support.

Anyway - cheers, mmahaffie! You got that "first-post" thing out of the way, and now you can go on to make more, more, more interesting and unusual posts, yes?
posted by taz at 2:05 AM on August 23, 2004

Thanks for the kind words i_am and taz. That first post is daunting and I had to think fairly long about it. I think you are both right, and I hope someone at Peace Parks notices and benefits from the input.

I should 'fess-up and admit that I was at that ESRI event this month and was very impressed by two presentations that I saw Willem Van Riet make. He is a big guy -- he must have been a rugby player at some time -- a white South African and a friend of Nelson Mandela; he has that Afrikaans accent that, except when it is defending apartheid, I have always enjoyed listening to.

After accepting his award at a plenary session attended by about 12,000 people, Van Riet came into the men's room during a break. Standing at the long line of urinals, he said to the (crowded) room at large "this must put a great strain on the San Diego wastewater treatment system."

Of course, American male manners (such as they are) generally preclude conversation at times like these, and some were a bit shocked (though, of course they kept quiet), but it was a great line, and a true thought.

Later I ran into Van Riet in the hall and complimented him on his project and award and shook his hand. I can now say that I have shaken the hand that has shaken the hand of Nelson Mandela. So, that's pretty cool.
posted by mmahaffie at 5:37 AM on August 23, 2004

Hey! I've shaken the hand that has shaken the hand of Dizzy Gillespie! So if we two ever meet and shake hands, it will be sort of like Nelson and Dizzy shaking hands, right?
posted by taz at 10:43 PM on August 23, 2004

We should start a list of "two palms apart"; kind of like "6-degrees..."
posted by mmahaffie at 3:41 AM on August 26, 2004

« Older Gasp   |   Fired for grading honestly? Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments