Hayley Adams: Africa’s Animal-loving Silent Hero

December 13 - On The Dot
 
FIRST THOUGHT: At One With Nature

This morning, I’m sitting on a balcony, looking out at the ocean. Life is good. I cherish vacations in tranquil little spots like this in Florida. Walking on a beach or hiking through the forest engages all the senses and serves as a reminder to go back to basics, to think about our purpose.

While success stems from hard work, it also comes from giving ourselves moments to really take in our natural surroundings. If you’re dealing with a challenging work dilemma or looking for fresh ideas today, give my theory a try: Find a green space in your neighborhood, get comfy and allow yourself to just gaze at the glorious sunset.

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 7

I know some pretty cool women who take these natural moments for themselves all the time. So why aren’t there more women in pivotal environmental roles? According to a recent review of 41 leading American conservation and environmental organizations, a mere seven women act as CEOs.

This barrier in women rising to green leadership roles is referred to as the “green ceiling,” and it’s surprising, given that women have long been conservationists, even back in the 1950s and ’60s, when environmentalist Rachel Carson got Americans really talking about the damage humans do to the planet.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Dr. Hayley Adams, Founder and Director of Operations for the Silent Heroes Foundation

All the glass ceilings bearing down on women are why we love to highlight the ladies who are bursting through. One such woman is Dr. Hayley Adams. She’s a veterinarian and the founder and director of operations for the nonprofit Silent Heroes Foundation, a conservationist group that works to improve the quality of life for wildlife and endangered species, as well as humans, in Africa.

With two decades of experience in wildlife veterinary medicine and conservation in Africa, Hayley noticed a fundamental problem: the lack of sustainable supplies for conservation efforts and veterinary aid, which made it tough to create successful solutions. So, in 2010, this entrepreneurial animal lover created Silent Heroes to fill that void.

Hayley believes in the concept of “One Health,” the philosophy that humans and animals are intricately connected to their environment, particularly in the developing world. As such, research, the distribution of crucial supplies to veterinarians and conservationists in Africa, and the training of park rangers in the continent’s preserves and parks are instrumental in preventing disease transmission between domestic animals, wildlife and humans.

Since Hayley is involved in so many cool projects, it’s hard to pinpoint just one to share. But perhaps the most fascinating is her Ngorongoro Bee Fence Initiative, a project in Tanzania that works alongside the Elephants and Bees Initiative to help reduce damage from crop-raiding elephants using their instinctive avoidance of African honeybees.

About 100 years ago, there were 5 million elephants roaming through Africa, but now, sadly, there are fewer than 50,000. A huge part of that decline can be blamed on poaching, but another aspect of elephants’ dwindling numbers comes from conflicts with farmers who use poison or spears to protect their land and crops from these gentle giants. At 6,000-plus pounds, hungry elephants on the hunt for a snack can easily traipse through fencing and destroy a family’s livelihood—their farm—in minutes.

But Hayley and her team came up with a novel solution, employing elephants’ desire to stay clear of African honeybees to save farms. They create so-called “beehive fences” surrounding the crops, the elephants get wind of the swarm and hightail it out of there.

Thanks to silent heroes like Hayley, who has committed her entire career to protecting our planet and those who roam it—both the human and the four-legged varieties—this difficult work is ensuring Africa’s wildlife and people can thrive for generations to come.

QUITE THE QUOTE

As acclaimed environmental author Rachel Carson said:

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at OnTheDotWoman.com and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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