On The Avenue

I Bless the Guests Down in Africa

by Missy Hargraves Photographed by Rob Rich/SocietyAllure.com
Thursday, August 16, 2018
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Empowers Africa (EA) celebrated World Elephant Day at the Southampton Arts Center on Sunday, August 12th. Host and Vice Chair Kim Charlton welcomed the nearly 100 guests to the screening of three short films and a panel discussion.


The non-for profit, comprised of 20 women, devoted the proceeds for elephant-focused projects in East Africa. Members attending the event included EA’s founder Krista Krieger and daughter Katherine, Bonnie Pfeiffer Evans, Liz Kelly, Aly Lebron, and Martha McGuinness.


Stephen Ham, Wildlife Conservation’s Vice President, who served as “Jane Goodall’s number one roadie” moderated the discussion for guests including Maria and Mario Maccioni, Brian Farrell, Stephen Meringoff and Alec Sokolow.


“It’s absolutely life changing,” said panelist Melissa Sciacca, Executive Director of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the most successful rescue and rehabilitation program for orphaned baby elephants in the world, about her first encounter with an elephant. “You really get a sense of how emotionally intelligent they are, how much they care, how compassionate they are to one another. We can certainly learn a lot from them.”


Toni Condon, Executive Director of Africa Parks talked about one of her most moving experiences with elephants. Her organization, which manages 15 national parks and protected areas in nine African countries, was trans-locating 500 elephants from an overpopulated area. In order to transport them, the animals had to be tranquilized. When the mothers “went down” the baby elephants wouldn’t leave their sides out a “sense of loyalty.”


Other supporters included Peggy CulverBetsy Berry, Deborah Illife, Penni LudwigTracy Bronxmeyer, Dr. Scarlett MagdaCindy Farkas, Adam Gross and Michaela CulverMarisa and Robin Van Bokhorst and Nancy Pearson.


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