Our hero: Laurie Marker, 56
Where she lives: Otjiwarongo, Namibia
How she helps: Saving Africa’s cheetahs
It takes an unusual mind to bring a wood chipper to the desert. But in her 37-year quest to help save Africa’s most endangered big cat—the cheetah—Laurie Marker is used to taking unusual steps.
Cheetahs, which move at speeds of up to 70 mph, were being blinded when they ran through the thick, prickly thornbush that is taking over Namibia’s farm- and grasslands. Unable to hunt wild game, the injured cats would then prey on livestock, causing farmers to trap them. Marker’s solution: Send in the wood chippers to chop up the brush.
The chipped thornbush is now turned into “ecoblocks,” which are sold as fuel in South Africa and Europe. Studies show that both cheetahs and displaced leopards are returning to the cleared areas.
While living in Oregon in the 1970s, Marker worked at a wildlife refuge and raised a tiger and a cheetah from infancy. They stayed with her in her mother’s guest bedroom when Marker took them on educational tours of schools in Northern California. In 1991, Marker left for Namibia, a year after founding the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF).
“They’re so regal,” Marker says of the endangered cat, “and they’re so smart. Cheetahs are the health of our ecosystem. If you knew a cheetah, you’d be as involved as I am.”
Visit cheetah.org to learn more about Marker’s work and the CCF.
Know a local hero? Visit American Towns to submit your nomination: americantowns.com/powerofone.
Some people like to travel by train because it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of an airplane.
I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”
“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” —Everyone following you on Instagram
A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.
Comedian Greg Davies
Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.
Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.
My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me everything you know.”
“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” —Alcohol
@yoyoha (Josh Hara)
My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.
Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?
A: A mechanic.
More About Inspiring Stories
What You’re Sharing
- Over 40? Whatever You Do, Avoid These 9 Dating Mistakes
- The Heartwarming Reason My Dad’s Favorite Chair Will Never Leave My House
- The Unbelievable True Story of the Hiker Who Survived Back-to-Back Grizzly Bear Attacks
- How a Flag Helped a Family Cope When This Father of Three Was Deployed
- A Violent Storm Tossed This Fisherman into Eight-Foot Waves, Alone, Without a Lifejacket. But He Refused to Die.