Adam Bauer-Goulden, Marykate Sperduto, William Heineke and Ross Sullivan are met as students at Oak Park and River Forest High School. Now as college students they all study some aspect of environmental science. Last year the friends formed a nonprofit called the Rainforest Rescue Coalition with a mission to “conserve and protect rainforest land around the world and to support sustainable relationships between humans and nature.”
Baur-Goulden shared some of the journey with us:
We felt bombarded with the constant news of environmental and socio-cultural destruction, like so many of today's youth. So we decided to found RRC and get directly involved in conservation efforts. We teamed up with the Rainforest Conservation Fund, a Chicago based not-for-profit organization working successfully on rainforest conservation issues in the Peruvian Amazon since 1988.
We all love biking, so we decided to raise money and awareness for conservation initiatives with the "Ride for the Rainforest." This month [May 2012] we rode 325 miles from Sturgeon Bay, Wis. to Chicago. Lots of people…sponsor[ed] our dedicated riders…[T]he trip was a great success!...Not only did we raise much needed monetary support for two great causes, we also spread awareness of environmental issues to hundreds of people, who will hopefully tell hundreds more people. I think that environmental education is one of the most important aspects of conservation. One of the best parts of this experience was seeing the posters that a middle school green club made to raise awareness for rainforest conservation and knowing that we helped to support young budding environmentalists.
Fifty percent of contributions will purchase and protect land in the endangered Rawa Kuno Legacy Forest on the island of Borneo, home to hundreds of the last wild orangutans on the planet. Orangutan populations have plummeted 50 percent in just the last ten years and 90 percent of all remaining orangutans on Earth live in the besieged forests of Borneo.