American Pie actress Shannon Elizabeth launches conservation foundation in SA
Shannon Elizabeth (Getty Images)
Cape Town - American Pie and Scary Movie actress Shannon Elizabeth is in Cape Town for the launch of her new foundation focused on conservation in South Africa.
Shannon started Animal Avengers - a dog and cat rescue charity in Los Angeles in 2001. She says: As I became more and more aware of the poaching crisis in Africa, I wanted to see for myself and see how I could help stop it."
"So much of my work is here but I also fell in love with South Africa so I now live here for much of the time. I partnered with conservationist and writer, Peter Borchert, and combined all the lessons learned and made the decision to re-brand the organisation to what it is now - The Shannon Elizabeth Foundation," she says when talking about how the foundation came about.
The remit of The Shannon Elizabeth Foundation is to embrace the organisation's own initiatives which include Animal Avengers and Wildlife Review Initiative under the curatorship of Peter Borchert.
She says: "These reviews are aimed at involving people at all levels in conservation issues."
Adding: "Through its programme of grants, The Shannon Elizabeth Foundation also supports reputable organisations such as the Rhino Pride Foundation and Flying for Freedom SA. Lobbying for just and effective wildlife laws is a central thrust of the Foundation's activities, while future goals include projects that champion responsible tourism and securing land to protect vital ecosystems."
When asked why the conservation is South Africa focused, she says: "Much of our fundraising and awareness is driven out of the USA where we are able to create maximum awareness for our programmes and the issues we support. The South African chapter is where we run the programmes."
"This allows us to maximise our international reach, but also to focus on where the work is needed most: on the ground in Africa, working with other organisations and local communities to do all we can to save the animals and land we set out to protect."
Shannon has chosen to work with South African NPO, Relate Trust, as part of the launch of the foundation and says she decided to partner with Relate because they "share the same values," saying: "They have the ability to create real opportunity by uplifting women and the youths."
The foundation has created a bracelet as a fundraising tool. About the bracelet she says: "The bracelet had to be 100% environmentally friendly, so the selection of hemp and coconut wood were choices we made to ensure that we had the least impact on the environment."
"After all, we want to protect the planet, not hurt it further! It also needed to represent our brand ethos successfully. It is authentic, visually appealing and we believe inspires a sense of pride in all those who wear it. It allows people to be a part of something meaningful and impactful, while also looking cool and being a conversation piece."
Funds raised will go towards developing initiatives that include Animal Avengers and Wildlife Review Initiative.
You can purchase a bracelet here.