It is with great pleasure that I present a guest post by my sister – and one of my team mates for Parker’s Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro Expedition For Parkinson’s Research!
Written by Larri Tonelli Parker
Of the Parker’s Climb Team
It is Earth day! Earth Day is one of my favorite holidays.
As a young girl, I recall participating in the very first Earth Day. In April 1970, while a student at the Shepherd Knapp School in Boylston Massachusetts, I planted pine trees, with students, faculty and staff. The school is long gone, but some of those pines stand tall today, at the entrance of the long road that led to the school through sugar maple trees.
As a student at SKS, we were closely connected to each other and to the land. We collected sap from the sugar maples and made maple syrup in the barn. Fires fueled by wood from our forest heated vast vats containing 40 gallons of sap that would eventually boil down to one gallon of heavenly syrup. We grew gardens for food and flowers. We raised pigs for slaughter, feeding them leftover food from our cafeteria. Nothing was wasted. We launched some of the first “bottle drives” to raise awareness and urged folks to recycle, walking and knocking door to door. I did not realize at the time that we were young ambassadors of the environmental movement.
Soon we will be visiting Tanzania Africa to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and explore the Serengeti. We have been busy reading books, looking at maps, and preparing for our trip. We hope that this wilderness will remain for all generations, and acknowledge our good fortune to witness the wonder of nature first hand. We all look forward to seeing animals that we have only seen in zoos or on film. One film that has us especially excited is the new Disney movie narrated by Samuel L. Jackson.
Today the new Disney Movie African Cats debuts in theatres. Take note that this is not a fairy tale feature. It is part of the Disneynature productions and is a real life adventure of several families, including two prides of lions and a family of cheetah. Since we will be travelling to Africa to climb Kilimanjaro soon we could not wait to see it. I give it an enthusiastic two thumbs up! Watching this movie will increase your knowledge of the animals and habitat of the African savanna. This is the Lion King, circle of life, in real life.
The cinematography in this movie is amazing. Watching the animals move across the screen is both powerful and graceful. At times, the action is slowed and you can see the extraordinary movements of muscles, bones and tendons, all at work propelling animals in chase including life and death moments that are tastefully edited, but extremely powerful. There were so many intense points in the movie; I was not surprised when a father and his two young children left the theater. This is not a Disney movie where everything turns out ok. This is an epic documentary of life and death on the African Savanna.
This inspiring movie demonstrates the connections between the animals, that live, hunt and play together, and the ecosystem in which they live. The characters come to life and you can feel the animals’ emotions. Layla is the sage protective lioness mother of Mara. She is an experienced hunter and provides for her daughter. Layla fiercely protects Mara and the other members of the River Pride, but suffers injuries that compromise her ability to keep up with the others as they follow the migration. Mara is a curious, playful and devoted daughter. She learns quickly to fend for herself. At one point in the movie I leaned in to my daughter Maddie and confessed I was crying consumed by the powerful emotion of love. Maddie responded that she was too!
The movie also focuses on Sita, a cheetah and single mother with five adorable cubs. There are giraffe, hippos, water buffalo, zebra, and eland. The movie has its share of sinister characters as well, crocodile, hyena and a rival pride led by Kali, a dark haired king with three powerful sons. The feature was filmed in Kenya in the Masai Mara from 2008 – 2010 and the footage is all wild. The story is compelling.
Do not miss it. ltp