I recently hosted an awareness and fundraising event for wildlife at my art gallery in Bozeman, Montana. Called “Where the Wild Things Were,” it included talks by grassroots conservationists and a seated farm-to-table dinner. I intended it to be a gathering to celebrate and protect our sacred connections to wildlife. I wanted the core of the event to be driven by our spiritual connection to animals, and strategic ways to serve them.
Susan asked me what inspired me to put so much of my personal time, energy and funds into organizing such an event. I have always had a strong undercurrent of love and reverence for animals and wildlife. Growing up in the Wood River Valley in Idaho, the presence of wildlife was something I took for granted. They were always there, surrounding me with their comforting simplicity and beauty. As I grew up and moved around, I started to learn about all the pressures they face. Following that undercurrent of love, a welling up of passion arose. The need to express reciprocity for the way they enrich our lives, both in the seen and unseen realms — I’ve had dreams, visions and synchronistic encounters involving animals that have carried me through some dark times. So where to go from there? I believe that if you listen to your innermost burning passion and show up, you will be shown what’s next.
I decided to use my business as a platform for awareness. This is something I’ve wanted to do since day one and was mostly inspired by the book Good Morning Beautiful Business by Judy Wicks — a glowing example of activism run through your business and how every single decision you make, big or small, affects the whole.
So this event is what I did to stay in the current. To build on this passion by bringing together people who are dedicating their lives and talents to wildlife. I need the knowledge and inspiration as much as any guest attending, and most importantly, the inspiration and motivation to do more.
It’s always hard to know exactly what kind of impact an event like this has, but I had to do it. For me, it leaves the burning question, what’s next?
Note from Susan: I spoke at the event. It was beautiful, put on with love and care and attention to detail. It was clear Mariah put her heart into it. It is an example of what one person can do. In this case, she put on a party for wildlife.