One More Generation (OMG) | Eco Tourism for Kids
Big Five Tours & Expeditions is proud to announce a new alliance – a partnership with the nonprofit One More Generation (OMG). When Big Five’s president, Ashish Sanghrajka, first heard about OMG and its founders, he admired their mission – to ensure that the children of tomorrow have the opportunity to walk alongside each of our living species of today.
This would be a lofty ambition for anyone, but what makes it even more so is that this not-for-profit was established by two kids! In 2009, then eight-year-old Carter Ries and his sister seven-year-old Olivia Ries, already passionate animal lovers and budding conservationists, founded OMG. The idea began after their family “adopted” cheetahs in South Africa.
The siblings began to question the need for humans to adopt wild animals, and soon began to learn about the myriad issues surrounding threatened and endangered species across the planet. Carter and Olivia began OMG with the goal of helping educate other children as well as adults about the plight of endangered species. They were also determined to do more. Shortly after forming their organization, they joined to assist marine wildlife effected by the BP Gulf Oil Spill. After spending four months collecting animal rescue supplies, the two spent five days delivering their supplies and assisting in rehabilitating marine wildlife. They learned first-hand that many animals are at risk of extinction due to environmental threats, specifically plastic pollution.
So the duo began their first environmental conservation initiative, creating a Plastic and Recycling Curriculum for elementary school students.
“I was impressed when I heard their story,” says Sanghrajka. “And even more when I met them. They get it and are committed to taking action and to empowering youth around the world to become part of the solution.”
The Ries team has since developed a variety of additional divisions designed to encourage and teach youth around the world how to be proactive. They have run endangered species campaigns for rhinos, orangutans, bats, blue fin tuna, giraffes, marine turtles, rattlesnakes, cheetahs, sharks, elephants and dolphins.
OMG has recruited the likes of Dr. Michael Black, biology lecturer and Neuroscience Institute Research scientist at Georgia State University, to serve on OMG’s board of directors and is the organization’s herpetology expert and a key advisor regarding all reptile and amphibian issues. Another board member is Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas, renowned orangutan expert, who has been studying wild orangutans for over 43 years at her Camp Leakey study area in Tanjung Puting National Park, Kalimantan Tengah, and Indonesia. With the exception of Jane Goodall’s work, Dr. Galdikas’ research is the longest continuous study of any single wild mammal population undertaken by a principal investigator.
OMG also has a youth advisory board that incudes young people from Georgia, South Africa, Colombia and Australia.
As one part of Big Five’s support of OMG, Big Five travelers will receive complimentary one-year memberships to OMG as well as an exclusive amenity package. Membership through Big Five includes the adoption of an engendered species in one of the areas of special concern, which could be cheetahs in South Africa or sharks worldwide.
Carter and Olivia Ries began with the intention of preserving irreplaceable species and habitants the world over for at least one more generation.
“We want to help OMG because we know for a fact that children can make a difference,” states Sanghrajka. “Since my own young son met with Carter and Olivia, he has, on his own, begun to find his voice about these issues. When I see the kind of passion that OMG has ignited in my own family and with my co-workers, it is tremendously exciting.”