by Mike Ferrell
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All I remember is people were running down the stairs of a flooding building and the planet was on fire. That’s the first memory of Earth Day that was seared into my brain by a video I watched in elementary school in Roseville, CA circa 1988. Well, it worked, I am passionate about protecting our planet and keeping it around for future generations.
But today we celebrate the Earth and next week Nick and I head to Peru for two weeks. I promise this relates to Earth Day!
Protecting National Parks
On the way to Altai Tavan Bogd National Park. Mongolia 2018. Photo by Phil Bond.
In 2018, I went to Mongolia to deliver a motorcycle to Erzat Pushatay, a Park Ranger at the Altai Tavan Bogd National Park on the Kazakhstan Mongolia border. Erzat is one of two rangers who’s been at the park from its inception in 1996. He's a government employee so wages aren’t high but that’s not why he does the work. He says, “I give the utmost significance to finding ways of promoting community participation in conservation of the glaciers and wildlife.” That's his mission.
Erzat patrols 183,000 acres of the harshest terrain Mongolia has to offer. He’s responsible for the highest peaks in the park–some of them more than 14,000 feet up–which means the winters are
tough. The Altai Tavan Bogd has under 15 rangers to support it and is five times larger than Yosemite National Park which has approximately 500 rangers.
These motorcycles change the lives of these rangers by giving them reliable transportation and the ability to spend more time with their family by decreasing time in the field.
This was a game-changer
Capturing the enormity that is Mongolia. 2018 photo by Phil Bond.
I knew my trip to Mongolia would change my life, I just didn’t know how much. I've volunteered for two rallies, the 2018 Mongolia rally and again the following year in Nepal. In 2020, Rally for Rangers invited me to join their advisory board.
Nick Kalisz and I met in Mongolia. He was hired by Fisher Creative to shoot part of their documentary that’s currently in post-production. Nick and I hit it off and agreed that we should work together sometime. Well, here we are, four years later and two years into starting TopTop.
On May 1st, we’re heading to Peru to capture social media content to help raise awareness for the organization. Nick and I are grateful to have met lifelong friends through these experiences and look forward to helping MEC and RFR grow.
About the Organization
Connecting with a family traveling by motorcycle. Mongolia 2018. Photo by Phil Bond.
Rally for Rangers Foundation’s mission is to protect the world’s special places by empowering rangers around the world with new motorcycles and equipment. It’s a project of the NGO, Mongol Ecology Center. MEC’s mission is to engage new generations of environmental stewards and connect them with their natural surroundings and inspire them to value and conserve Mongolia's natural and cultural heritage.
Support the mission
Mike and Erzat at the bike delivery in Altai Bogd National Park. Mongolia 2018. Photo by Phil Bond.
This is an amazing cause and organization and worth celebrating on Earth Day! Please check out their profiles and consider donating. Thank you!