Happy Valentine’s Day!

I fell in love!!!  It was all quite magical and although he is a furry creature, his species is extremely connected to Papua New Guinea culture, the rainforests, and is endangered. So what does this have to do with my story told in the documentary film?  It’s all about bringing attention to Melanesia with the diversity, both human and creatures.

I was honored to spend the afternoon with friends, Dr. Lisa Dabek and Penny LeGate.  Lisa is an expert in tree kangaroos and is heavily involved with the protection of the endangered Matschie’s of the Huon Peninsula. Penny, as a noted journalist, traveled with Lisa on an expedition for conservation last spring. Check out Penny’s reporting here on Seattle Channel. At lunch, we talked about our love and passion for this beautiful country.

I’m sure you’re curious as to the fur ball I fell in love with. Introducing Ecki, the newest addition to the family at Woodland Park Zoo. This little joey is too cute for words.  

It was cold, and snow still scattered about the grounds of the zoo, but we were delighted to be the guests of zoo-keepers, Beth Carlyle-Askew and Tamlyn Sapp, and allowed into the warm, cozy compound. Elanna, the mother, was calm and doing her mom job, while the father, Rocket, was peering through the screen from a separate space. I could see Elanna’s pouch was big and round. Then out came a little nose followed by Ecki’s beautiful face. I didn’t care if it was a challenging portrait to get. Just being there was enough!

Penny LeGate, Beth Carlyle-Askew, Tamlyn Sapp and Michele!  Thank you, Lisa Dabek! You should have been in the photo.

To learn more about these amazing marsupials, click on this link for About Tree Kangaroos.  

Woodland Park Zoo and the work of Lisa Dabek to protect and study Matschie’s is and has been a big focus to stabilize and protect the environment. PBS covered the expedition on their Nature Now story in December. Here is a bonus!!!  A 10 minute video from the project “A Life Among the Clouds”.  

Now it’s back to art and the role it plays in any society. When it comes to creativity and storytelling, few showcase it better than Melanesians. A young artist, Michael Bolokon, creates many portraits of animals, especially tree kangaroos and birds of paradise, in pencil sketches. His detail is absolutely stunning.

Although this is a bit of a diversion from the story of Caroline and Margaret’s epic adventure in the 1920s, the connection of art, animals and humanity run strong.

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