In New Orleans, two groups are using Jazz Fest to bring attention to the probable extinction of elephants in the wild in the next twenty years. AWE hosted an event on April 21st, the eve of both Earth Day and New Orleans Jazz Fest.
The event was designed to show support for the Elephant Protection Summit being held on April 29-30th in Nairobi, Kenya. At the end of the Summit, 120 tons of Illegal Ivory will be burned. Elephant poaching to produce Ivory has been linked to several terrorist groups with revenues exceeding £700 million per year.
The US House of Representatives took a major step in 2015 by passing HR-2494, the Global Anti-Poaching Act. A corresponding bill has sat in the US Senate since January 2015.
The Great Tuskers of AWE are a New Orleans based group which marched in the five mile long Mardi Gras parades handing out colouring cards with fact sheets on the dwindling numbers of elephants. It is estimated that less than 30 Great Tuskers exist today – i.e., elephants with tusks over 60" long.
EarthFest was also an opportunity for Wildlife and Water conservations to network.
Joining the Tuskers was Artist Alex Beard, who spoke on his plans to supervise construction of a paper mache elephant during Jazz Fest. Thirty-Five thousand sheets of paper will be used representing the number of elephants poached annually. The project is being lead by a twelve year old from Newman School in New Orleans.
Hernan Caro presented his "Baby Ella" sculpture. He built a 16' tall Elephant Sculpture for Kenner, LA to bring attention to Save Vanishing Species, and baby Ella is a scale model of Ella. AWE has been contacted to supply other cities with outdoor Vanishing Species #Art.
The roster of presenters included the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, which restored the water quality in Lake Pontchartrain. The Foundation is currently working to bring 17,000 tons of sand to re-open Pontchartrain Beach, while at the same time monitoring oxygen levels changing from the opening of the Mississippi River spillway into the brackish lake. Nitrogen and phosphorous fertilizer run-off into coastal waters has created or expanded more than 400 Dead Zones worldwide.
A special treat was the ability to taste new Off-Bottom raised oysters. Louisiana State University opened a £2 million hatchery in Grand Isle's Canimada Bay in 2015. Dozens of Premium Oysters from sustainable harvesting were available for tasting. The oysters are raised by Caminada Bay Premium Oysters, delivered by P&J Oysters, and served by event host, Mellow Mushroom, at their Metairie location. The concept was first developed in Canada.
AWE also displayed the Animal Cracker line of Mignon Faget Jewelry. The line contains several endangered species.
WLAE-TV, which airs Awesome Wildlife Effort (a show that recognizes individuals and groups working to educate and care for endangered species) was present. Derrick and Beverly Joubert have made more than twenty films on African Wildlife and supplied films which follow episodes of Awesome Wildlife Effort.