Volunteers

As a volunteer-based organization, we couldn't do what we do to save red pandas without our amazing team from around the world.

Laura Finnegan
Graphic Design - UK 

"The first time I saw picture of a red panda I thought they were too cute to be real. I instantly fell in love with them. I remember reading up about them and quickly discovering the sad reality of how critically endangered they are. I found the Red Panda Network online and seeing the amazing work that they do, I decided to lend a helping hand in the best way I could.

Working with the Red Panda Network as a graphic designer I’ve been able to bring attention to this wonderful charity and the people behind the scenes who work tirelessly for the red panda cause. Over the last 4 years we’ve created many digital campaigns together, educating and informing along the way. My small role has been hugely rewarding and it’s great to be able to help them in their efforts to save the red panda."

Laura's design talents and passion for pandas have made a huge difference for our efforts to save this endangered species. Thank you Laura for being such an awesome volunteer!

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Minami Furukawa
Social Media Guru - USA 

"I originally started volunteering for RPN in 2016 because I thought it would be a great way to build my portfolio in social media management across different types of brands/businesses. Helping cute red pandas in their natural habitats seemed like an interesting and fun opportunity, and the ins and outs of a non-profit was something I wanted to learn more about. Since then, I've gotten to see passion and enthusiasm for red panda conservation in all sorts of ways from people ranging from young panda fans, to zoo staff, to professional conservationists, and its this inspiring community that's kept me here. Plus, as a bonus, volunteering for RPN has given me amazing experiences like meeting REAL red pandas and their keepers in so many zoos across America and even Europe, and let me connect with people across the globe that I would otherwise never have met, all because of this shared interest. Someday, I hope to make it on an eco-trip to see them in the wilderness of Nepal!"

We are truly grateful for all of your help, Minami!

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Kuniko Kai
Outreach - Japan

"Frankly, I did not pay much attention to red pandas at first. It was not that rare of an animal to me because I got to see them whenever I would visit zoos in Japan. 

They came to my attention when I helped my daughter’s summer science project on red pandas, which we did together. That was when I came to realize red pandas are endangered. When I told my daughter this, she seemed to be in shock and I'll never forget the sad face she made. I know there are a lot of people who care about red pandas including young kids and I find not want to see their sad faces too. We agreed we must conserve them!

We then thought about what we can do to save them. My daughter was just 8 years old and I was just an ordinary mother who loves animals...what could we do?? We tested ourselves to see how much we knew about red pandas. Shameful! We did not know much besides the fact that they are cute. We visited libraries and looked for red panda books written in Japanese. We found none.

So we searched online but I was not sure if the information was credible. Luckily we were able to read English and found Angela Glatston's red panda textbook! We spent lots of time learning about red pandas, which my daughter included in her report and she won the first prize! After that, my daughter wanted to publish a book on red pandas in Japanese to help raise awareness. We thought THAT’S IT!!  Let’s publish a book about red panda!!

In order to publish the book, I had to see red pandas in the wild. That was when I learned about Red Panda Network (RPN) and I signed up for one of their ecotrips right away. My daughter also wanted to come but she was too young.

The trip was totally unforgettable experience. It was not that easy because I had never hiked at such high altitude. RPN staff, the guide, local people, and the other ecotrippers were very nice and I had a chance to learn about wild red pandas, their habitat, as well as the local communities and threats to this endangered species. I learned that in order to protect red pandas, we need to support local people in improving their lives. This is exactly what RPN is doing and I truly appreciate their work.

I also learned that even just an ordinary person, like me, can help change things for the better. That is why I choose to support RPN in any way I can."
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Holly MacCormick
Writing and Communications - USA

“I’ll never forget my first glimpse of a red panda. I was admiring the birds, animals, and exotic plants at the Minnesota Zoo when I rounded a corner and saw an animal unlike anything I’d ever seen before—a red panda. I adore animals, yet I hadn't known this gorgeous creature existed. How many other natural wonders was I unaware of?

That feeling of awe, delight, and curiosity stuck with me. To me, red pandas are a reminder that nature contains so many extraordinary things yet to be discovered. I wish everyone could experience the feeling I had when I saw a red panda for the first time, even if only briefly.

I volunteer for Red Panda Network (RPN) not only because of the incredible work they do in the field of red panda conservation, but also because of the way they do it. RPN researched different approaches to conservation and found that involving and educating the local (and global) communities who coexist with red pandas is the most effective way to save this important and awe-inspiring species.

Since I started volunteering in October of 2018, I’ve had some incredible experiences with the RPN team. These experiences have deepened my knowledge and appreciation of red pandas and the natural world around me in unforeseen and wonderful ways. I recently joined RPN at the 2019 WCN Expo in San Francisco where we met a conservation icon—Dr. Jane Goodall. Our faces in this photo say it all.

I’ve gained so much by volunteering for RPN—the opportunity to do something good for others, a chance to give back, and the feeling that I’m helping an animal and community I care deeply about. I’ve also made some incredible friends in the process. If you haven’t volunteered or contributed to conservation efforts before, I highly recommend it. The red pandas, all living things, and this glorious ecosystem we call home need you.”

Holly is an incredibly talented writer and is a member of RPN's Writing and Communications volunteer team. She is also a passionate conservationist and a dedicated member of our recurring donor team—the Panda Guardians! Thank you for all of your support and commitment to red panda conservation, Holly!

Photo L to R: RPN Development Manager, Terrance Fleming; RPN Country Director, Ang Phuri Sherpa; Jane Goodall; RPN Writing and Communications Volunteer, Holly MacCormick; Development Associate, Mark Hougardy

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Brian Sim
Development strategist, Researcher, Outreach, Writing and Communications

"The first time I "saw" a red panda was when I came across a video of a couple red pandas playing in the snow. I was immediately struck by how cute, intelligent, and playful they were. Going down the rabbithole of red panda videos soon had me hooked. What I didn't know at the time was the threat they faced as a species. From poachers to environmental changes, it was sobering to learn how few of them were left in the wild. My research led me to the Red Panda Network though. I was excited to learn that there was a dedicated organization that worked on so many levels - helping educate people worldwide, but also creating measurable change in the local communities. I first became involved by symbolically adopting a red panda, and donating monthly. I eventually reached out to the RPN team to see if there was anything more I could do to help, and I jumped at the opportunity to volunteer. I've had a chance to work with RPN now for over three years and have been really pleased to see the organization grow and accomplish so much, and I'm excited to continue helping RPN achieve our mission!"

Since 2016, Brian has been volunteering with RPN on a number of important projects—from assisting with our 2018 online auction to research tasks to writing an article for our website blog! He is also a long-time sustainer and member of our Panda Guardian team. We are truly grateful for all your help and support, Brian!

Photo: Brian and his fiancee holding a yard sale to support RPN.

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Chris Turner-Neal
Writing and Communications - USA

RPN has been blessed by Chris Turner-Neal's volunteership and superb writing abilities since 2014! He originally joined RPN to help with grant writing and now he is a member of our Writing and Communications team.

Chris's interest in red pandas developed from the moment he found out about them. He shared with us that a friend told him that his "frequent snacking and awkward gait reminded him of a red panda". Who wouldn't want to be compared to a red panda? Unfortunately, Chris lacks the false thumb that helps red pandas gather bamboo efficiently so he'll have to stick to his own diet.

One of Chris's favorite aspects of his work with RPN is when he gets to collaborate with our team in Nepal. As Chris puts it, "they work so hard to hit these conservation goals and build an infrastructure on the ground, and I get to help be sure their work is presented as cleanly and effectively as it can."

Chris lives in New Orleans where he is managing editor of 64 Parishes magazine. He is super excited about RPN's pangolin expansion, also supports the Chimp Haven chimpanzee sanctuary in Keithville, Louisiana; and his red panda tattoo is from Chris Handford at Black Torch Tattoo in Baton Rouge.

Chris is also a member of our team of dedicated monthly donors that we proudly call 'Panda Guardians.' We are honored to have someone so #passionateaboutpandas on our volunteer and Panda Guardian teams!

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