Amber Grunow is not your typical 12 year-old girl. Described by her , Alaine Grunow, as always having a passion for wildlife, this budding naturalist and actress went above and beyond in her efforts to aid in National Wildlife Federation’s Gulf Coast rescue efforts. After viewing devastating images of oiled pelicans and turtles, she decided it was time to take action. Amber shared, "It made me sad when I saw all the animals that were hurt from the oil spill and I wanted to help them. It wasn’t fair that the animals had to suffer because of the oil spill." Amber’s ambitious fund and awareness-raising efforts in her community of Middletown, Delaware took many forms, but ultimately culminated in a successful "Walk for Wildlife" event in July of 2010.
Amber began her journey to support the Gulf Coast by going door to door, encouraging neighbors to purchase Dawn dishwashing soap, with $1 from every bottle sold being donated to recovery efforts. When Dawn reached its $500,000 cap on donations, however, Amber turned her focus in another direction. Her original plan of "Pedals for Pelicans," a bicycling event raising money for the Gulf, dictated a need for city permits. Thus, after four weeks of planning, "Walk for Wildlife" was born.
Hosted on a Sunday morning in July, more than 60 people turned out for the event, where every dollar raised was donated to the National Wildlife Federation. Amber sought help from local politicians and arranged support from local businesses such as Walmart, Middletown Fire Company, Copper Penny Sportswear, Scoops ice cream, and Fast Signs. Among the supporters that joined the walk were Delaware State Representative Quinn Johnson, State Senator Bethany Hall-Long and New Castle County Councilman Bill Powers. Amber also organized for shirts to be sold to the participants, with proceeds going directly to the cause. In the end, Amber raised over $2,000 for the disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spill, with some donations coming from as far as Texas and Arizona. She was recognized by the Appoquinimink Board of Education and United States Congressman Mike Castle.
Members of the Middletown community hope that Amber’s hard work will serve as an inspiration to other young people, and encourage them to also become active volunteers. As for Amber, the event turned out better than she could have hoped for, and emphasized that age does not limit the impact you can have within your community, and for a meaningful cause. A truly inspirational young girl, Amber summed up her efforts, "It doesn’t matter how old you are or what size you are, we can all make a difference."
After 25 years of creating works of art out of stained glass, Yvonne de Villiers chose a new path to follow, designing soulful guitars, uniquely fashioned to fit each individual artist. Yvonne’s inspiration for the line - designed with playing comfort in mind - came from her mother, Hilda Williers, an electric bass player for more than 40 years. Following the company’s success, Yvonne created the charity Musicians on a Mission, with the vision of using the power of musicians and their creativity "in coming together to reclaim their rightful heritage to a sane and healthy planet."
Luna Guitars’ first major opportunity to fulfill its commitment to promoting a healthier planet came on April 20, 2010 when BP’s Deep Water Horizon drilling platform exploded offshore and pumped millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf. Because Luna Guitars is based out of Florida, the oil spill was significantly disturbing to de Villiers, a native Floridian. Partnering with National Wildlife Federation (NWF), Luna Guitars generously donated two acoustic guitars alongside Dean Guitars, who donated an additional two. The four instruments were signed at the Moondance Jam benefit concert last July by artists Johnny Lang, Don Felder, Sammy Hagar, and Collective Soul. After the guitars were auctioned off on EBay, Luna Guitars donated 100% of the proceeds to NWF’s Gulf Oil Spill Restoration Fund.
Yvonne realizes that the cleanup is a long-term effort that will call for ongoing support, and continues to work on creative guitar and ukulele designs, which she hopes to also donate to restoration efforts. One of her most recent ideas stems from her wish, "If only oil rigs could be washed away and magically replaced by wind turbines and solar collectors!" Pictures of the ukulele which represents this idea and other Gulf restoration guitars can be found at lunaguitars.com.
An avid equestrian with lifelong interests including endurance and competitive trail riding, Ellen Carroll has surrounded herself with animals from an early age. Ellen proudly raised her two sons Hunter and Clarke Nordhauser on her Kentmere farm located in Boyce, Virginia. Together they have bred, raised, and showed their registered Welsh ponies and Cobs. While breeding Welsh in Virginia, Ellen was nominated president of the Virginia Welsh Pony and Cob Association (VWPCA). It was under her leadership and vision that the first VWPCA ‘A’ rated double gold WPCSA (Welsh Pony and Cob Society of America) Spring Fling Welsh Pony and Cob Show was conceived. This show continues to be one of the finest on the East Coast.
Ellen founded, owned, and operated The Interior Merchandising Group (IMG) for over 29 years. As an industry leader in the interior design and merchandising field, IMG has designed award winning model homes for a wide array of national home builders. She continues to exercise her commitment to conservation in her personal business. Current renovations taking place at Kentmere are being managed by the architectural firm Carter Burton. This firm has taken on the “2030 Challenge” to make a difference in global warming and climate change by reimagining the way we build our homes and businesses.
Today, Ellen is a committed student of Parelli Natural Horsemanship. She implements the program with her impressive herd of 12 horses and ponies, which includes Quarter Horses, Mustangs, Welsh cobs, and several crossbreeds. Life at Kentmere can often resemble a menagerie, with various dogs, cats, reptiles, as well as the occasional wild rescue being observed alongside her equestrian herd. With a passion for art, many of Ellen’s oil paintings of animals and landscapes hang throughout her homes.
Ellen’s lifelong love and respect for all creatures has created a strong commitment to saving the natural habitats crucial for their survival. She has proven this commitment through her tireless support of NWF as a member of its President’s Advisory Council, and a Co-Chair of the Leadership Committee for the 75th Anniversary Gala and 2010-2011 National Conservation Achievement Awards. Her volunteer leadership has proven both effective and inspirational to those around her and proven her as an invaluable resource in NWF’s efforts to protect and conserve our environment.