Togethergreen Supports Launch Of Tatzoo, The Endangered Species Challenge

Published: Jun 24, 2010
New York, NY - 
What do tattoos and saving endangered species have in common? An innovative project called Tatzoo, launched today, aims to combine these seemingly disparate interests to address declines in biodiversity in California.

Tatzoo, supported by TogetherGreen, hopes to strengthen the biodiversity conservation movement by recruiting young leaders who will launch creative projects to help save local endangered species. The incentive for participants is the chance to receive custom artwork of the species being protected, drawn by one of 11 world-class tattoo artists.

Tatzoo is the creation of Molly Tsongas, an employee of Citizen Group, a San Francisco-based pro-social advertising agency, and supported by a TogetherGreen Fellowship from the National Audubon Society and Toyota.

"We are on the verge of the sixth greatest extinction in over 25 million years, threatening to kill as many as 30 percent of all species within my lifetime," said Molly Tsongas, a 2009 TogetherGreen Fellow. "I believe my generation must unleash our fresh ideas, fearless attitudes, and social connectivity to tackle this crisis, starting with our local species and communities."

TogetherGreen support will allow Tatzoo to focus its efforts on California's biodiversity hotspots and 15 local endangered species, ranging from the lovable sea otter to the majestic California condor, to the tiny bay checkerspot butterfly. Several categories of species are represented, including mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates.

The challenge to participants is to engage 100 people in the course of 100 days to help save a local endangered species of your choosing in California. You can find a complete list here: http://tatzoo.org/about/. How you engage your network is totally up to you. Some of the initial ideas that have been submitted focus on art, multi-media, and even brewing beer, a reflection of the out-of-the-box thinking Tatzoo—and, on a larger scale, TogetherGreen—is encouraging.

Individuals have until August 5, 2010 to submit ideas and vote for their favorite projects via Facebook. You must be between the ages of 18-35 and live in California to participate. A panel of activists, tattoo artists, and conservationists will review the top-rated ideas and select 15 finalists. The 15 people with the best ideas will be given a free Flip video camera, donated by Cisco, to document their journey and a real tattoo of their species at the completion of their project as a symbol of their leadership. The 15 Tatzoo projects must launch on August 8, 2010 and last until November 16, 2010.

"Molly is the kind of innovative thinker who can make a real difference in the health of our environment and the quality of our future," said Audubon President Frank Gill. "Each of our TogetherGreen Fellows demonstrates exceptional environmental understanding and commitment, combined with tremendous potential to inspire and lead others. The Tatzoo project holds promise in expanding species protection in California by giving young people something they value so we are pleased to provide support for this innovative effort."

Molly Tsongas is one of 40 individuals nationwide selected as a TogetherGreen Fellow. The TogetherGreen Fellowship offers specialized training in conservation planning and strategic communication, the chance to work and share best practices with gifted conservation professionals, and assistance with project outreach and evaluation. Each Fellow receives $10,000 towards a community-focused project to engage local residents in conserving land, water, and energy, and contributing to greater environmental health.

"I like the idea that this project will connect people in a very real visual and physical way to the specific species facing extinction," said Jason Stein of Cyclops Tattoo, based in San Francisco. "Also, nothing grabs people's attention like a fresh brightly colored tattoo."

For more information, visit:
Tatzoo Website: http://www.tatzoo.org/
Tatzoo Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/tatzoo
Tatzoo Twitter: http://twitter.com/tatzooproject

A complete list of the TogetherGreen Fellows can be found at www.TogetherGreen.org/fellows.

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The National Audubon Society saves birds and their habitats throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon's state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon's vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at www.audubon.org and @audubonsociety.

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