Some people will run to the ends of the earth to pursue their dreams. For Katharine and Dave Lowrie, this mantra has become a physical reality. This July, the adventurous duo will set off on foot to complete a 5,000 mile journey from the southernmost point in South America all the way up to the Caribbean Sea. They are undertaking this extraordinary journey, what they’ve called “5,000MileProject,” in order to raise funds to support conservation across South America. One of the two groups they are running to support is us, Conservacion Patagonica!
Katharine and Dave Lowrie, from Britain, are self-proclaimed “ecologist-adventurers” with an inspiring vision for environmental conservation, and the drive to create tangible results for a healthier, more verdant world. When asked what motivated them to take on the 5,000MileProject, Katharine responded: “We want to do something for our planet, the natural world means everything to us. We thought the only way people would listen to us would be if we did something physically extraordinary, that no one has done before!”
Katharine and Dave will set off on foot in a month, with the goal of conducting a 5,000 mile run through some of the most biologically-rich and stunningly beautiful places on earth. A quote from their project’s website (www.5000mileproject.org) previews the incredible adventures the couple will undertake along their route:
From Cabo Froward, the most southerly tip of the continent and the roaring Southern Ocean, into the icy depths of Patagonian winter; plunging into the clouds of Chile’s ancient tropical rainforest; ascending the mighty snow-capped Andes, before pounding into a never-ending horizon of windswept Argentine pampas; crossing the fabled Amazon Rainforest, over the Guyana Shield and into the desert-scrub of Venezuela, to finally collapse into the azure Caribbean Sea!
Along the way, Katharine and Dave plan to conduct the world’s longest-ever “mega-transect,” a coast-to-coast survey of wildlife and habitat that will serve as a long-term resource for those interested in place-based ecological research. They plan to collect raw data about species abundance and diversity. They will document their findings for science and educational purposes, charting species data alongside photos with carefully mapped geographical information. This data may be used in the future for tracking environmental changes, or for performing ecological assessments to determine best practices for future conservation efforts.
Katharine and Dave are especially excited about the section of their journey which will lead them straight through the heart of the future Patagonia National Park. They hope to run through the “sweeping majesty of the Andes” with the project’s leaders, Kris and Doug Tompkins, whom the couple met at Pumalin Park last November. The adventurers recall that visit fondly, noting Kris and Doug’s friendly and welcoming charm. “They were extremely down-to-earth and approachable. Our first meeting was held in a chicken coup!” Katharine laughs. She adds, “they’re generous, and have a razor sharp determination to succeed where it seems impossible.”
On their upcoming journey through Patagonia National Park, Katharine and Dave long to catch a glimpse of some of the region’s most enigmatic wildlife—“guanacos, condors or even a culpeo or puma!”
They also look forward to meeting all of the wonderful staff, volunteers and community members who help to make Conservacion Patagonica’s vision for conservation in the Aysen region a reality. This on-the-ground team helps ensure that the future Patagonia National Park will be a destination where future ecologist-adventurers might be inspired to conserve and protect wild places around the world.
Katharine and Dave plan to depart on July 27th, 2012, the first day of the summer Olympics, which seems fitting considering the Olympic proportions of their quest. When they reach their journey’s end in 2013, Katharine and Dave will have run the equivalent of over 200 marathons—each.
Katharine and Dave plan to broadcast their adventures daily, connecting folks around the world to their experiences with the communities and wild places they encounter along the route. They hope to spread their vision for conservation to as many people as they can, inspiring and spurring people to action through this exciting and meaningful journey. “Together, with small steps we can tackle seemingly insurmountable challenges; it’s not too late to protect the world’s remaining un-spoilt but threatened ecosystems, but time is running out.”
Learn more about Katharine and Dave, make a donation, and follow their adventures across South America in real-time through their website, www.5000mileproject.org. We are so grateful to have the support of such dedicated ecologist-adventurers, and look forward to following their journey every step of the way. Please consider making a donation to Conservacion Patagonica in honor of this incredible undertaking!