Miss A Columnist

Melissa Kenyon is a Denver-based storyteller with roots in Atlanta. What she loves most about writing is getting the chance to tell stories that shed light on the inspirational people in this world. Some of the causes she holds close to her heart include animal welfare, the arts, environmental responsibility and education.

Melissa holds her master’s degree in communication management and public relations from the University of Colorado. Her professional background includes marketing for nonprofits, tourism bureaus and chambers of commerce. She also writes for various wedding, travel and lifestyle publications.

When she’s not working, Melissa loves traveling around the world and playing with her two dogs, Dolly and Cowboy. She also serves as a board member for the Denver Woman’s Press Club and the Denver Metro CU Alumni Chapter.

Denver Zookeeper Spreads Awareness For One-Horned Rhino On Earth Day

Making a difference this Earth Day was Dave Johnson, a Denver pachyderm zookeeper of 17 years, nonprofit leader, conservationist and children’s book author. Dave has made it his personal pursuit to teach people the importance of conservation and spread awareness for the magnificent one-horned rhino of Nepal, a species that is in danger of extinction because of poaching and other human pressures.

Dave Johnson and a one-horned rhino (photo credit: Dave Johnson)

Dave Johnson and a one-horned rhino (photo credit: Dave Johnson)

To support his cause on Earth Day, Dave read his book, Narayani, the Unicorn of Nepal, to third and fourth grade students at Governor’s Ranch Elementary, and he also spoke about rhino conservation to 4-H youth in Brighton.

Dave’s children’s books benefit The Katie Adamson Fund, a nonprofit he created to empower people  to work together to save the earth’s remaining ecosystems and all of the creatures they contain.

Many of the photos in Narayani, the Unicorn of Nepal are from Dave’s mission trips. Dave’s first mission occurred in 2010 with Team Nepalorado. With each trip, his goal is to grow trust in the communities of Nepal and encourage locals to protect the rhinos. He has taken 61 travelers over six trips and has plans to go again at the end of 2015.

Narayani, the Unicorn of Nepal

Narayani, the Unicorn of Nepal

To raise further awareness on Earth Day, Dave also led his first “Climbing for Rhinos” hike of the season in Barr Lake State Park. The team of 15 hikers included past mission volunteers and Anabelle, a young girl with cerebral palsy. Dave has six monthly hikes planned for 2015, with two 14er climbs in August and September.

To learn more about Dave Johnson and The Katie Adamson Fund, visit www.katieadamsonconservationfund.org.

WHEN: Dave’s hike took place on Earth Day, April 22, 2015

WHERE:
Barr Lake State Park
13401 Picadilly Rd.
Brighton, CO 80603

GET INVOLVED: Email rhinokeeperdave@gmail.com to learn more about upcoming events.

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