Gaia Grove recently joined forces with the Amazon Conservation Team to help preserve the rainforest by partnering with indigenous peoples.
8*16*09 at the long running Sunday Drum Circle at Meridian Hill / Malcolm X Park, 16th St, Washington DC, 20009
8/19/09 … Washington, DC
After a weekend of drumming, singing, deep healing conversations and further exploration of the nature & architecture of our nation’s capital, today I took the Metro to the Offices of the Amazon Conservation Team (http://www.amazonteam.org) in Arlington, VA to meet with the ACT Development Manager Dana Milyak and the President & Co-Founder Dr. Mark J. Plotkin, PhD, in order to present them with a check reflecting partial proceeds from two independent music shows I performed on my August mini-Magical Mystery Tour as Gaia Grove events (8/10/09 The Bitter End, NY & 8/13/09 All Souls Church, Unitarian, DC).
For a bit of background, whenever I create a show, arts benefit, or similar type gathering and call it a “Gaia Grove” event, it is under the auspices of “helping heal the earth”, and I am then further directing fundraising, resources, or awareness to a specific non-profit environmental group, charity, cause or mission who fits with this focus. I came up with this name from “GAIA” as the living spirit of our planet, global consciousness, and the Mother Earth Goddess and chose “GROVE” to symbolize an open, living group of spirits or resources where anyone can come and go as they please in order to support the mission of “HELPING HEAL THE EARTH”. Therefore, whenever there is a Gaia Grove event, whoever gathers to support the mission with time, resources, or energy, is part of the living grove for the time being, and helps to make a greater difference in the world where some action may not have been previously thought possible. So far I have done Gaia Grove events either solo or in tandem with other artists to raise funds and awareness for environmental non-profits such as TREE PEOPLE, CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL, & THE FRUIT TREE PLANTING FOUNDATION, and for artistic causes and political campaigns including the TREE OF LIFE GROVE, both the Hillary Clinton & Barack Obama Campaigns in 2008, California’s NO on PROP 8 Initiative, Indiegrrl (Independent Women in the Arts), and even for some more mundane events such as simple park, forest, or beach clean-up days, with the idea that every action – no matter how small – can make a significant, positive impact.
As I exited the Metro at Ballston Station a little before noon, the hot, humid Washington August weather made me already feel kinship with the Amazon, and as I took a few steps onto North Fairfax, it began to lightly drizzle, for a timely “virtual rainforest” experience. Down an alley off the main thoroughfare, I found the rounded green awning marking ACT, and was greeted after ringing the doorbell by Dana Milyak, who warmly welcomed me to the offices, and took me on a tour to meet everyone on the team.
The offices were inspiring and bright, filled with plants, photos and artifacts from various South American tribes, & maps of the regions ACT partners with. Everyone was pleasant and cheerful, including the new Communications Associate Hamza Ghaznavi, who also took some time to speak with me about future plans. I found this 4-Star Charity online through my own research and the use of Google, while trying to find a non-profit that focused on preserving natural water & healing resources while partnering with natives. Therefore, it was very interesting to learn directly from ACT that Amazon Conservation Team are one of the only non-profits to partner directly with Google in a mapping initiative to preserve and protect the rainforest, won the 2008 Skoll Foundation’s Award for Social Entrepreneurship, and specifically do work to empower South American women through various initiatives. Synchronicity at work!
ACT was founded in 1996 by Mark Plotkin & Liliana Madrigal, and operates in various regions and countries in South America, partnering with local tribes. In the Colombian Amazon alone, ACT supports a union of 35 female healers and their apprentices, and in southern Suriname rainforests, ACT operates sustainable income generating programs for women, believing that “increasing the resources and capacities of tribal women can strengthen communities much faster than most other processes.” I am in total agreement with their statement, this is why Gaia Grove sometimes even just helps support a night of women artists and/or musicians – we are united in the belief that helping women helps heal the world. I believe the two to be inexorably linked, and it was a powerful and inspiring experience to be in the company of all these wonderful individuals who do such vital work…
After presenting the group with the humble donation amount of $250 which represented partial proceeds from my two shows last week (which seems to be just a drop of rain where an ocean of resources is needed), I was more than honored to receive the gift of a bright green beaded bracelet hand-crafted by one of the Native South American women healers, and both the book “Tales of a Shaman’s Apprentice” (written by Dr. Plotkin) and a copy of the DVD “The Shaman’s Apprentice” which was a winner of 19 documentary & film festival awards. THANK YOU!
I look forward to watching the DVD and reading the book on my journey to Nashville for the Indiegrrl Conference for Independent Women in The Arts this weekend, where I will be featured along with numerous other women musicians, songwriters, healers, and artisans from around the world (http://www.indiegrrl.com).
Here is a photo of me and the President Mark Plotkin holding the banner image for ACT – he explained to me that he initially envisioned an animal, a plant, and a human image all linking forces to represent the energies uniting to help protect the Amazon – probably the most bio-diverse and ecologically complex region of our entire planet. The graphic designer did a wonderful job, simple and effective!
PLEASE take some time to check out more about the Amazon Conservation Team and the important work they do here: http://www.amazonteam.org
And you can also be a fan of ACT on FACEBOOK, MYSPACE & TWITTER…look them up! Be a fan, spread the word and support their work!
Also please try to remember – nearly every medicine in the world can be found in the Amazon Rainforest, the powerful knowledge and oral traditions held by the Shamans & Healers of this region are invaluable and must be preserved as more than just oral tradition, and at a time when healthcare resources are in such hot debate in the United States and globally, perhaps we should turn our focus to PREVENTATIVE cures and actions rather than REACTIONARY measures to try and keep the precious and irreplaceable living resources which still exist on this beautiful planet both protected and supported. Natural resources, tribal wisdom, and the healing magic & medicines found in the Amazon are worth more than any precious metals, are infinitely more valuable than oil ~ in fact, they could very well mean the survival of our species ~ and are one of the vital keys to preserving both humanity and life on earth.
Amy Clarke, ScorpFaery Productions, MAAT Music http://www.amyclarke.com
(Amy Clarke is also on Facebook, Twitter & Myspace)
“helping heal the earth”
PEACE, LOVE, & HEALING TO ALL…