Biodiversity group hoping to do a world of good |

Biodiversity group hoping to do a world of good

Wally Van Sickle is president of Idea Wild, a Colorado organization that puts equipment in the hands of biologists working to maintain biodiversity in developing countries. Van Sickle, a zoologist, studied cougars in Utah before founding Idea Wild.

A local biodiversity group is hoping to do a world of good by raising a little money. Idea Wild is hosting its first Wine and Dine on the Wild Side fund-raiser Dec. 6 at Vail’s Savory Inn.The evening will feature live animals, costumed servers, a silent auction, a red snapper entree and the stunning paintings of international wildlife artist D. Arthur Wilson. A live auction will include a Wilson original, completed by the artist at the event. All the money goes to Idea Wild.Since 1992, Idea Wild has provided basic but valuable field equipment to biologists and ecologists working in some of the world’s most threatened habitats. Laptop computers, binoculars, head lamps and camera traps used by biologists to track the night movements of endangered mammals like jaguars are a few of the tools that help biodiversity professionals working in developing countries.To complement the evening lineup, Wally Van Sickle, president of Idea Wild, will share stories from his adventures in biodiversity conservation as an introduction to the history and mission his organization.”More importantly, I want everyone to share in the energy and passion that our organization fosters,” Van Sickle said. “That, and to know how many people on this planet are working exclusively for the benefit of all species. We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the integrity and survival of all life forms.”Idea Wild was Van Sickle’s brainchild.Event organizer Dana Weber and Dr. Mark Unger traveled to Costa Rica last May to visit an Idea Wild project on the Osa Peninsula.”Everyone who cares about the sustainability of our planet should know about Idea Wild,” said Weber, whose first hand experience delivering equipment to an Idea Wild recipient inspired her to put together Wine and Dine on the Wild Side.”Idea Wild reaches hundreds of amazing people committed to biodiversity conservation, and they do it on a slim budget,” she said. “I don’t know of any other organization that makes $750 go so far.”That $750 is the average amount Idea Wild spends on equipment requests. Professionals and graduate students from Chile to Thailand receive equipment by submitting written requests to the Idea Wild office located in Fort Collins.Van Sickle awards equipment grants on project goals, location and the willingness of recipients to organize the hand-receipt of their requested equipment through a state-side representative. In exchange for equipment, project leaders share the results of their work with Idea Wild and pass on the equipment to colleagues in need, after their project is completed.Wine & Dine on the Wild Side: MenuAppetizers: Cheese bread, ceviche, catch of the day, calamaris seared with garlic parsley, maple syrup, served on Sun dried tomato pancake dressed with balsamic reduction and scallions.Soup: Early sweet potato soup with roasted garlic and saffron flavored cream fraiche.Main Course: Red snapper filet with coconut, serrano, mustard seed sauce presented on a bed of black beans and roasted banana mash decorated with mango tortilla salad.Dessert: Vanilla flan served with dulce de’ leche and almond peanut crustilantAperitive: Pisco sour, sangria, caipiarinha

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