The meeting was opened by President-Elect Jim Schmidt with Pam Cohen leading the Pledge of Allegiance and Immanuel Beeson offering the invocation.  PE Jim thanked Polly Schumacher for serving as greeter.
PE Jim and Past President, Allan Cady had both attended President-Elect Training Seminar (PETS) March 1-2.  Allan was being trained for the Assistant Governor role he will assume July 1. It was noted that Allan sometimes talks to himself - he needs expert adivse.
  • Allan Cady brought members up-to-date on progress of the Mesa West Foundation sponsorship program.  Over $30,000 has been collected.  With pledges, nearly $31,500 has been raised - over 3/4 of our $40,000 goal.  Dan Coons' Team Ribeye is currently ahead.  Dan offered anyone who wanted to join his team a buy-in price of $100.
  • Pam Cohen has a time share in Flagstaff.  It is reserved for her use March 31 through April 7.  April 5, 6, and 7, our exchange student, Caio will be hosted by Pam for the weekend, but March 31 through April 4 is available.  Pam offered Mesa West members the opportunity to use her time share during those days in exchange for the member making a donation to our sponsorship program.  If you are interested, CLICK HERE to send Pam an e-mail.
  • Don LaBarge provided a lesson in school zone traffic rules.  There is no passing in a school zone.  If the car next to you is going four miles-per-hour, you cannot go past them even if the speed limit is fifteen miles-per-hour.  If that car stops, you have to stop, too.  School zones are different than regular crosswalks.  The other car may be going slow or stopping because they can see a child you cannot see.
  • Harry Short from the Kyrene Rotary Club in Tempe announced that his 20-member club formed a charitable foundation and held their first fundraiser last year.  They made $17,000 and most of it was spent locally.  Friday, February 5, they will be hosting a golf tournament.  The cost is $125 per person or $500 four a foursome.  They hope to raise more money this year and participate in international projects.  For more information about their golf tournament, CLICK HERE.
  • Melody Jackson announced that a Community Service Project would be available Saturday, March 16, supporting Mesa Leadership's painting project at the House of Refuge.  
Penny May introduced Dave Stratton with Lincoln National who was visiting form Penny's club in Anchorage, Alaska.  Dan Coons introduced Caio, our Rotary Youth Exchange student.  Jeanie Morgan introduced Salishian Smith, a candidate for a grant from The Rotary Vocational Fund of Arizona.  Jeanie and Bob Zarling were scheduled to interview Salishian following the meeting.
Shout Out
Jim Schmidt wanted members to know what an awesome job Mesa West Member, Donna Goetzenberger, did at PETS.  At the Friday evening dinner, he invocation was sung by Donna and Brian's daughters, Emilee and Paige.  Donna coordinated and narrated the presentation of Flags, involving 34 inbound and Rotex (returned outbound youth exchange students).  Following the presentation, Emmilee sang the National Anthem.  Jim also noted that Mesa West members Jeanie Morgan and John Pennypacker served as table hosts at the Friday evening dinner.
Debbie Koeneman was aware that Steve Ross was looking for quality programs.  Debbie arranged for Claire McWilliams, an instructor from ASU Hospitality and Tourism to be our speaker.  Debbie was present to introduce Claire, a long-time friend, and her interesting program about her educational/scientific/research tourism experience in Botswana.
The first think Claire did was make sure everyone knew where Botswana is located.  It is a landlocked country in South Africa.  The location where her experience took place was on the Okavango Delta.  It is a unique location where the river absorbs back into the land and is home to some of the world's most endangered mammals.  There are five bordering countries.  There is a water commission with representatives of all six countries making decisions together that will impact the water and water quality.  While there, they used the local water, which is very safe.  
Pictures were shown showing the effects of overgrazing, which was stopped when fencing was installed to protect the delta.  The first result was death for some animals.  The beauty inside the fencing was contrasted with the negative impacts still present outside the fencing.  Some laws have been controversial.  Big game hunting was banned.  A "shoot to kill" poacher policy was instituted in 2013 and recalled in 2018.   Local hunters were not considered poachers.  Game poaching changes the landscape, but there is conflict of interest.  An aerial survey report showed dropped numbers of poached animals.
Claire had an opportunity to go to NG26, a Luxury Safari Tourism Camp.  She said each heard of elephants have their own story.  She met and worked with Mike Chambers, CEO of Elephants Without Borders.  To learn more about this organization, CLICK HERE to visit their website.
In 2017, a $30 tourism tax was started.  Tourism is much more than just travel.  It is an industry and involves activity.  Tourism impacts people.  Eco-tourism is evolving because without management the environment is not sustainable.  The key is to work toward sustainable tourism.
Adventure tourism is also available in Botswana.  There are hard and soft sides of tourism.  Both are available in Botswana.  Claire suggested checking out the Wonder Women of Botswana Safari.  CLICK HERE to read a story about this unique experience.  The story contains the photo she showed during her presentation.
The education and research part of the experience involved cross collaboration involving three universities.  They had a base camp.  They would spend five days on the delta and return to their base camp.  Those involved were leaders in their field.
A unique way of protecting some of the animals - a cow in particular - was to create an eye cow by painting eyes on the back side of the cow.  It fooled and discouraged predators from following the cow, which then appeared to the predators to be a much larger animal than it actually was staring back at them.  
Claire suggested watching a Netflix movie:  "Naledi - A Baby Elephant's Tale," to get a flavor for what she experienced.
President-Elect Jim asked Salishian (our TRVFA grant candidate) to draw the attendance winner, which was Melodie Jackson.  Jim McGown handled the drawing and asked the speaker to draw the winning ticket.  Polly Cady was the lucky winner of the weekly winnings, but she was not lucky enough to draw the ace of clubs and win the larger, accumulating winnings.
Happy Bucks
Greg Okonowski served as Sgt. at Arms.  Pam Cohen was the first to contribute.  Dick Myren donated $1 carrying on Rod Daniels' tradition of being happy to be a member of Mesa West Rotary.  He also contributed another dollar, but the writer did not think she understood his comment because it sounded a bit political (which is not allowed in Rotary).  Allan Cady was happy - he really enjoyed PETS.  Polly gave her raffle winnings to Caio for his upcoming train trip with other Youth Exchange students.  She was also happy because someone she knows who is in Portugal wants to join Rotary having learned about Rotary through the Mesa West Facebook page.  Donna Goetzenberger was very impressed with the representation of Mesa West at PETS - Jim Schmidt, Caio, Polly and Allan, Jeanie Morgan, herself with Brian and their daughters, and Don LaBarge's flags.  She is very proud of Mesa West!  Don LaBarge was happy that his son, Robert, will be our speaker on June 6.  Dan Coons was happy that Caio and his host parents (Dan and Colleen) were invited by Allan and Polly Cady to go to San Diego.
Thanks to John Pennypacker for taking photos at the March 7 meeting.