Tuesday, March 31, 2020

From Cancellations To Celebrations

Two years ago, #COTF Race Day looked like this.... 
What a day! It's late evening here in North Yorkshire and we're still very much in the wave - no, storm surge - that is #COTF20 Celebration Day. I posted yesterday about the concept and the cause - see here - but today has seen a beautiful explosion of community participation, support and togetherness on a truly global level. To say we've - i.e. us, you, the wider #FlywayFamily - have made the most of these testing conditions would be putting it very mildly.

I'm fortunate to be part of the Champions team these days - what a blast to work with Jonathan, Dan, Yoav and the team - but it'll come as zero surprise to learn that this year has been, well, a unique challenge. As the consequences of the virus accelerated, so we adapted, and adapted again; just like everyone else. After many months of work and preparation - not to mention the physical event having to be cancelled, leaving many teams from around the world metaphorically high and dry, and our fundraising faltering just as we approached the critical (and most lucrative) last lap - we could have easily shrugged, put it down to a bad hand and walked away.

..... last year, something like this.....
But that wouldn't be very Champions at all, would it....? So we - and I pointedly include my fine friend and Canucks captain Stu Mackenzie in the we - cooked up a plan that we hoped would inspire a collective celebration of birds, migration, our community and the whole COTF ethos. In doing so we hoped to inspire a coming together in these isolated, distanced times, a mutual show of support across our flyway family, a meaningful and enjoyable distraction from the trials of the times, and in turn, more exposure (and hopefully brass) for the cause.

We've beavered away frantically, particularly over these last couple of weeks (and especially recent days) to try and create a groundswell that would hopefully turn a cancelled Race Day into a mass, global Celebration Day; long story short, it worked like a dream. The reaction has been incredible, and we're all a little awed and emotional at this point (if there were time to be at the moment, which there isn't - maybe tomorrow or Thursday!).

... today, like this....
Better still - the donations are still rolling in, and we've smashed our $40,000 target to help reverse the dire fortunes of Steppe Eagles by funding Birdlife projects on the ground. Amazing.

You can check out the (overloaded!) #COTF20 Twitter and Facebook feeds here and here
Read all about the cause here
And if you're feeling generous, you can make a donation, however small, here.

... and this. Could be worse, I know.