Escape to Chimp Eden

Escape to Chimp Eden
Courtesy Animal Planet/Discovery Comm,

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Update from Appleton WI & Pierce Manufacturing

I've posted all my photos from my tours of the two Pierce Manufacturing, Inc. plants in the Appleton WI area on Facebook. I'll soon be updating my personal blog ( with the photos in case you're not a Facebook member. My sincere gratitude and appreciation to my host Chet for taking the time to patiently show me around, leaving 'nary a detailed untold.

More importantly, I had the opportunity to discuss our project with one of the sales managers, who informed me that Pierce/Oshkosh has an excellent company they work with in South Africa who might be able to work with us. Additionally, I was given the name and number of a key member of the Pierce P.R. and Marketing Department.

So we continue on our quest and hope that you will not only continue your support, but continue to reach out to garner more by inviting your FB friends to join us. When you do, do not lose sight of the fact that our efforts are not just to protect and save the animal life at Chimp Eden, but to save the lives and property of all those who dedicate their lives to these animals and live on the grounds of the Preserve.


Steve Greene

Steve's Pierce Photos on Facebook

Monday, September 21, 2009

"And Here Is Tonight's Headline..."

I first joined a volunteer fire department in 1977 when living in the greater Greensboro NC area. It was the Guilford College Fire Department and the chief was Chief Bobby T. Wilson. There were two subjects that Chief Wilson was a true expert on, the use of foam and chemical fire suppressant (Purple-K) and how to spec out a new piece of fire apparatus.

During the 3 1/2 years I was with the department, I was asked to provide my input on two pieces of apparatus. And the brand name that the chief insisted on was Pierce Manufacturing. Could we have purchased an "off-the-shelf" vehicle for less money? Sure we could. But it would not have had the time, quality, and manufacturing pride that a Pierce gives you. Simply put, if you want a run-of-the-mill piece of fire-apparatus, go buy the cheaper model. If you want the "Cadillac" of fire equipment, then Pierce is the one to turn to.

Today, I had the pleasure of visiting one of the Pierce Manufacturing plants in Appleton WI. My host was Chet. Chet is one of those people at Pierce that wears many hats. When an order comes in, he examines it and hands-off copies to the proper departments. He helps coordinate the client's wishes with the manufacturing process to assure that 6-11 months later, that customer is 100% satisfied with the delivery of the fire apparatus.
I'll be posting all the quick photos I took over on my personal blog ( but the most important aspect of my visit is not found in any of the pictures that I took. As we walked around the plant, Chet was showing me how the professional trucks are put together, from the basic frame to the finished product, ready for delivery. Every vehicle has a set of blueprints with all the details and the name of the ordering customer. In addition, on the front windshield, there is a simple piece of paper also with the customer name and the order number. In the latter part of our tour, as we passed several trucks that were not quite ready for delivery, I looked up to the windshield of one and saw that the customer was a gas/oil company located in South Africa! I did a double take and asked Chet, "Do you really manufacture and ship apparatus to South Africa?" "Sure," he replied. "We sell them all over the world, including China."
Now throughout the past ninety minutes I had been thinking about when and where would my opening come to bring up our cause to Chet. Where, in the tour of this massive manufacturing facility, would I have the chance to say, "Oh and by the way...." In the European language called Yiddish (a mixture of Hebrew, English, German, and French), we might have said that that moment was "bashert," or "fated." The main reason I am in Appleton is to lead High Holiday services to celebrate the Jewish New Year and Day of Atonement. During this period, we entreat the Lord above to forgive our sins of the past year and promise us a healthy and happy new year and to grant our important requests. One might say that He just may have been listening to me. For this display on this engine that it was being shipped to South Africa provided me with the perfect opening to bring up the matter with Chet.
He listened attentively and acknowledged that on tomorrow's visit, he will hopefully have the contact information we will need to approach the marketing and public relations department with our request. I could not have asked for more.
And that goes for the tour as well. Chet didn't spare any space or any details. Well, there was one, the R&D area (Research & Development) and I could certainly understand why. Yet even without seeing that room, it was easy to see why Pierce was and is the leader in custom fire apparatus. The innovations that have been made in the last thirty-two years involving apparatus handling and safety, firefighting ability, storage and accessibility, water flow management and so much more, are all that an old-time snot-nosed, belly-crawling, nozzle-jockey like me, could ever ask for.
As we walked down "Innovation Alley" towards the end of our tour, I look at each feature and quickly flashed back to a memory of an incident that I had faced and how this innovation would have affected or helped my fellow firefighters and me. Almost any one of them might have changed the way we responded, the ride to or from a call, or any of several other factors, "back in the day." And, I learned that Pierce has opened a plant in Bradenton FL.
Was that it? Am I upset and disappointed that all I may get out of this is a contact name to contact for our cause to help Chimp Eden? Absolutely not! Thanks to my wonderful local contact Jeff, who set-up the tours and to Chet, my personal Pierce "tour-guide," I was able to bring explain our cause to a very responsible member of the Pierce team and will look forward to whatever information he will provide. After that, it will be a "full-court" press, to responsibly and respectfully present our cause to the right people at the right time.
So what else is there? Tomorrow or Wednesday, Chet will be taking me over to the second site, where the aerials, rescue trucks, and ARFF's (Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting) apparatus are all fabricated. What comes after that? The satisfaction that after these thirty or so years, I finally made it to the ultimate "candy store."
'Til Next Time...

The First Step....

It's about 11:00 CDT here in Appleton, WI. I have enjoyed a very pleasant weekend with my hosts here for the Jewish High Holidays. But I just got off the phone with my contact at the fire apparatus manufacturer and we have confirmed a meeting time this afternoon at 2:30 PM.

To be honest, I was not expecting to head over there this afternoon, my first free day here since I arrived last Thursday evening. Today was supposed to be my "R&R" (relax and recuperate) day after leading services since Friday night. However, with my contact saying to me, "Well I should be open at 2:30 this afternoon. How does that sound?" I had little choice, but to accept his invitation and time.

With that in mind, I am not sure whether this afternoon will be the right time to make my pitch. I/we might be better off if I use this afternoon to feel out my contact about our concept and then make a formal presentation on my second tour day. The last thing I wish to do is alienate the company from the get-go and guaranty that our pitch will fail.

So keep your eyes sharp for another update to this blog later this afternoon or evening, if you're on the East Coast if the U.S. If you're in another country, stay tuned to Facebook and you will see any new and important information there.

Remember, don't stop! Keep recruiting! Every member helps!

'Til next time...

Monday, September 14, 2009

"Location, Location, Location...."

A quick entry here. If you've been trying to join our cause on Facebook, you'll find it here:

"Help Save 'Chimp Eden' From Fire"

Look, it's never too late to leave a comment here on the blog or to join our Facebook cause. Every comment, every member, every contact is worth gold to the our effort. My tours are scheduled for next week. During that time, I will be speaking with representatives of the manufacturer and explain our efforts and the people behind it.

While we are all terribly disappointed that Animal Planet (and its parent company, Discovery Channels, Inc.) made the decision not to renew "Escape to Chimp Eden," for a third season. Thousands of letters and emails have been sent, but there is little likelihood that DCI will change its mind. Remember, television networks have little concern for content and concern; their prime motivation is how much money they can make off of a show.

Be that as it may, we the men and women around the world, who not only fell in love with the residents of CE, but have become devoted to Phillip's and Eugene's efforts, will continue to support their efforts, as well as use every cyber-avenue available to us, to keep in touch with the goings on of Jaio, Amadeus, Cozi and the rest of the brood at our favorite preserve.

So if you have not commented here yet or you have not joined the cause on Facebook, do it now! It only takes a few moments and they are both absolutely free! You see, we're not asking for money, we're just asking for you!

Just remember your basic math: As of this moment, we have 318 members. If all of us each brought in two more members, and they brought two more members, do you realize how many we would have by the time of my meeting next week? We'd have...uh..uh..ok, I'm too old to remember that kind of math. But trust me, we would have a lot!

Thanks again,

Till next time...

Friday, September 4, 2009

No Words are Necessary

If you really want to know what this blog and effort are all about, just take a peek at this video we have posted at YouTube:

Then imagine is you lived somewhere like this, knowing that the nearest fire brigade (fire department) was a mere four hours away!!

And please keep in mind that it was just about a year ago when, while conducting a practice drill with the workers, the assistant director of Chimp Eden, Johann, was driving that same truck that you see in this video. Climbing one of the hilly mounds, he lost traction and the truck overturned, pinning Johann inside, costing him his life.

If you honor and respect the work and efforts of Jane Goodall and those who work with her, such as Eugene Cussons, Phlip Cronje, and the entire staff of both Chimp Eden and the Jane Goodall Preserve, please post a comment here or join our cause at Facebook.

Til next time...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

New Trip Details

"This just in from the newsroom..."

I received an email from my client in Wisconsin yesterday that advised me that I will be attending a two-day visit to the fire apparatus manufacturing plant during my upcoming visit to Appleton, next month. This will provide me with an expanded opportunity to present our case to this manufacturer and secure an appropriate piece of firefighting equipment for Chimp Eden.
As of late this morning, we had just under 300 members joining the cause on Facebook. But that is no where near enough to convince a company as large as this one and its parent, that there is excellent support to this cause.
So please, keep up the recruiting. Invite whomever you can and if we haven't heard from them if a few days, please follow-up with a quick email to them. Remember the idiom about the"squeaky wheel."
Till next time...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Where Are They Now?

If you've ever watched "E! Entertainment Television," you have probably seen their popular shows like, "The Brady Bunch - Where Are They Now," or "Grease-Where Are They Now," and so on. So here I am, asking the same kind of question, but with a slightly different curve.

You see, even with the all the efforts of nearly 300 members on our Facebook cause, our numbers are truly low, relatively speaking. While the international support has been amazing, I'm wondering, where are the domestic U.S. "Escape To Chimp Eden" viewers? How many are we talking about? Take a look at the numbers here from an April 2008 article in Media Life Magazine:

Now I'm not talking about the 94 million subscribers. But the article does mention an average of over 1/2 millions viewers during prime-time (usually defined as 8 PM-11:00 PM, local time). With "Escape" having been broadcast at both the 9 PM and 10 PM slots, in the U.S. (first-run, not repeats) the numbers should be close that that Nielsen measurement of 500,000.

Now the target audience is women 18-49 and 25-54. Why women? Because for all the "nature" of the story, there's still a strong emotional bond to these stories. Just look at the comments on our Facebook page or remember how we ALL (women AND men) felt with the passing of Abu. Look, that's the TV business. No matter which country you're in, it's all about ratings and selling advertisements to make money. However, that doesn't me that our project is doomed without those numbers.

However, what is indeed important to remember is that there are hundreds of thousands of loyal, dedicated viewers of "Escape to Chimp Eden," who have no idea as to what we're doing and/or why? Thus, the question we need to ask ourselves is, "How do we get our message out to those viewers?" (Let's also bear in mind that in all likelihood, most of those viewers are not members of Facebook. So what do we do?

First, if one or two of you are as well versed over at MySpace as you are in Facebook, how about creating a cause page over there? Does MySpace even have causes? I don't know.

Second, I have searched DCI's "Animal Planet" web page. But I have not been able to find a strong enough location to post our cause. I am certain that any number of you are much more familiar with the web site that I am and again, I invite your help, to either do it yourself or just bring me up-to-speed and let me know where to go and I'll do the posting myself.

Third, I'm open to suggestions. We're all concerned about seeing another season of "Escape," and as of late last week, I received word that there is no firm decision and discussions are ongoing. But whether or not the show returns, the danger of fire will remain as long as the Preserve exists. And Heaven forbid it does not return, our efforts, our concerns, and our love for the chimps, Eugene, Philip, Ms. Goodall, and all the staff, are not dependent on the show being broadcast. Our efforts are for the location and work being done to preserve these innocent victims.

So please, keep spreading the word and scratching your heads for new ideas on just how to spread the word. If you take your own initiative, please just let me know so I can visit and verify.

You're the best - there's no doubt about it.

Till next time...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Struggle Continues...

Earlier this week, my wife and I returned from our cruise to Alaska. Although we did not see as much of Alaska's beautiful wildlife on this trip as we did two years, almost any wildlife that you see there is amazing.

We did get to see several whales and a couple of otters. Boy, are they characters! However, seeing the whales reminded me of a valuable lesson. Just a couple of decades ago, several species of our beautiful whales were close to extinction. It was such a critical time that even the 4th "Star Trek" motion picture used the theme of the disappearing humpback whales as the key aspect of the main story! Yet, through education and negotiation, most of the nations where these whales swam in their waters, agreed to a whale hunting ban. Back then, there were approximately 5,000-6,000 whales. Today, nearly 20 years later, there is an estimated population of 60,000! So what does this have to do with our efforts?

The whales were spread out all over the world. Yet, through proper education and negotiation, those countries were convinced to make a change. And while many of us support a plethora of wildlife causes, our singular cause here, is to protect the humans and animals at just one, wonderful location, Chimp Eden at the Jane Goodall Institute.

As I remarked in the previous posting, I brought our cause to Facebook and as of this morning, we have 55 members there. Additionally, I have been in touch with Sue Slotar, the Executive Director of the Institute, to see if our story and/or blog, could be included in the "JGI News & Headlines" section of the new web site. And if you haven't visited the new website, you really owe it to yourself to do so! (

At Facebook, we currently have 55 members who have joined our cause there. And this morning, I charged them with their individual responsibility to recruit just two more members, each. By tonight, that would be approximately 165 members. And if each of them recruit two members...well you see what the algorithm could do.

Now imagine that at my meeting in September, I am able to show the manufacturer that there are thousands of people from around the world, who want to voice their feelings that the people and chimps at Chimp Eden in particular and the Jane Goodall Institute, as a whole. And I can prove those numbers through Facebook and the comments on this blog.

The only problem with this, is that while we're gaining numbers on Facebook (yet nowhere near the numbers we truly need), there are only a couple of comments registered on this blog. Yet I know through the site managing software, that there are plenty more visitors who stop by, yet for whatever reason, fail to leave a comment, even if it's just, "Well said," or "I agree."

I am not asking you to write a complete blog article, just a simple comment will suffice. Of course, if you do come here, you are obligated, just as the Facebook members are, to recruit at least two additional visitors and explain to them, that it is, in turn, each of their responsibility, to recruit two visitors, etc.

If you all do this, imagine the numbers we will reach! Imagine if I am able to demonstrate to the manufacturer that I have hundreds, no thousands or tens-of-thousands of supporters, who read this blog and believe in our mission. It gives me goose bumps just to think of it.

So please, if you stop my here, just leave a comment. Short or long, it doesn't matter. Just say something! Thank you!

Till next time...

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Update...Sort of

Hello all. I wanted to get this post out before we left for our vacation later this week. I know it sounds like I am constantly bitching and moaning, but, well, I am. I have a major presentation to make to this manufacturer and if I cannot manage to garner even a hundred supporters for the cause, and we're not even asking for a penny, then what kind of believability will I bring to the presentation, other than being a laughing stock.

For the last couple of weeks, I have really put a great deal of energy into promoting our cause on Facebook. From just my own creation of the interest group, "Help Save Chimp Eden From Fire," we've gained 45 members.

Now as good as that sounds, honestly, it sucks! The "cause" has been posted on Animal Planet's Facebook "wall" and I have even become friends with Philip. In my message asking him to add me as a friend, I explained what we are trying to do and why. While he did add me to his friend's list, there was no additional message of any kind.

The other problem is that there few if any emails or comments on the blog. So perhaps, on a good day, if the wind is blowing the right way, we may, may...have close to 100 "sponsors," people that actually give a damn about the jobs that the great Jane Goodall, Philip, Eugene, and all the crew of Chimp Eden, do. For to me, if you follow this blog, or read about our cause on Facebook and do nothing, you're no different than the poachers, the bush-meat hunters, and the enablers and abusers of chimps and other animals. And I'll bet that many of you, who read this blog or have read our cause on Facebook, have a dog or cat, a bird or a boa.

I'm not asking you for money. This isn't a telethon to raise money for Stevie's kids (although...nevermind...a different time and place). This is a crusade to help you understand what fire can do. And I'll wager that many of you have personally experienced the effects of a fire, either personally or through a family member or acquaintance. I was a firefighter for eight years. Believe me, I don't have to be on a preserve in South Africa to know about fire, what it does and its after effects. Add to that the human toll that fire takes, whether on the fireground itself, after the fight, or even in practice, as so terribly happened to Johann at Chimp Eden, there is no reason why hundreds, if not thousands or even tens of thousands of signs of support (SOS) are not coming in right now.

Listen, we both know that I could have set up both this blog and the Facebook cause to collect money and tell you that you can "trust me" to bring this money to the meeting. But you don't know me from Adam! Why then, would you even consider making a cash contribution to someone you do not know?

I mentioned on my recent post on the Facebook "cause wall" that perhaps some of you, the reader, know a better way or a different way, to advertise this blog or our Facebook cause. You don't need to ask me for permission, just POST IT!!!!! All I ask is you let us ALL know what you have done and where. This way, we can all share in the experience as we nurture and "grow" our cause. Remember, this is a free and simple way for you to help make this world a better place.

I'm off on vacation for a couple of weeks. I'll be trying to check in as we find Internet cafes and the like. So remain vigilant and dedicated to our goal. Light a candle in memory of Johann and in your prayers, tell him we are trying very hard to honor his work, his dedication, and his ultimate sacrifice to Chimp Eden.

Till next time...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mixed Messages

I must admit that I am less sure about this effort, or at least, anyone else's effort, than ever before. Now it
may well be my own fault for dropping the ball last summer. I worked up a frenzy
for this cause and then, for lack of a better phrase, walked away from it. With
that in mind, I've tried to re-energize the campaign and made a new commitment, publicly, to make a
stronger effort and hopefully, see it through its success.

So why am I
down? Because for whatever reason, the message is falling, for the most part, on
deaf ears. There are but a couple of comments on this blog. I've become more
involved with Facebook, not only
by posting our information in my own profile, but by creating a Facebook "cause," of the same title as
this blog. No, I still refuse to ask for donations. All I do ask for is pubic
support. That support can be in the form of emails to me directly, comments on
the blog or on the "cause" wall and people who are recruited and "join" the

Beyond that, all I ask is to talk it up with your own friends, be
they on Facebook, MySpace, or even on a poster on the wall
of the Post Office. But understand, without the ability to demonstrate to a
manufacturer, massive public and fan support for the issue, they'll will simply
say, "No thanks, Steve," and we're dead in the water. Why should they care, if
the public doesn't?

Add to the new commitment mentioned above is the fact that
this September, I have learned that I will have the definite opportunity to meet with one of the U.S.'s
premier fire apparatus manufacturers. But what good will if do if the interest
and support isn't there?

As computer-familiar as I am, able to build one
from scratch, update, memory, processor chips, install or remove components, and
use almost any software off the shelf, I know little of marketing a "cause" to
the public, especially to a very narrowly focused target audience. Thus if you
are more experienced, please feel free to assist and provide me with directions,
instructions, and advice.

We also need to reach the viewers and fans of
Animal Planet's "Escape to Chimp Eden." So if any of you have connections there
or are well versed in posting to the fan boards and/or discussions, again, I'll
bow to your prowess. Feel free to get our message out there, where I believe, it
will do the most good.

Let's be frank, without "all 'youse' guys," this effort will be a
flop. And as a former firefighter, I'm having a tough time accepting that
Johann's passing will have been in vain.

Thank you.

Till next

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Wisconsin is a go!

I received an email from my client in Wisconsin that has confirmed my trip there in September and will allow me to stay the twelve days between the two holidays. This extra time off will allow me the opportunity to meet with one, if not two major manufacturers of fire apparatus during the week that I'm relaxing.

So now, more than ever, we need the grass roots support that I can show to them the interest we have managed to create to support the concept of providing professional firefighting apparatus to Chimp Eden.

I nominate Cozi for Honorary Chief!

Till next time....

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Expanding Our Effort

Recently, I have begun using "Facebook" more and more. The primary reason is that I have been able to find numerous friends and associates from college, hobbies, and past employment. So I thought, where better to create a "cause" that could be seen by the whole wide world. Thus was created the, "Help Save "Chimp Eden" From Fire," official cause on Facebook.

To find it and join up, just search causes on Facebook for the name, or send me a note with your email and I'll send you an invitation to join. The goal, of course, is to bring this cause to as many people as possible and rally their support through emails and postings. The more we have, the more "ammunition" I will have for a meeting that is planned for this September with a major apparatus manufacturer.

So c'mon aboard!


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Your Help Still Needed!!!

As I stated yesterday, I will, hopefully, be making a face-to-face appeal to a major fire apparatus manufacturer, for a professional brush truck for Chimp Eden. What I would like to do is bring anything I can that will help underscore the need for this equipment.

So, here is what I need from loyal show fans, blog readers, etc:

1. I need as many emails and/or blog comments as we can muster. I want to be able to demonstrate to Pierce the amount of support and interest we have in this very important project.

2. If anyone has the episode with the big fire on it, I would respectfully request either a copy of that segment or to let me know if it is available on DVD for me to take with me.

3. If you have any promotional material regarding Chimp Eden itself or the Jane Goodall Institute in general, to please either scan and email me or again, please direct me to where I can get a hold of it.

4. Anything else that you can think of that will help the cause.

5. To please share this message/blog with as many people/fans that care about Chimp Eden and the Institute as we do.

I did receive a kind note from Susan Slotar, the Executive Director of the Institute. She was passing my initial email to her, on to Eugene, so that we will know if there have been any additions to their firefighting capabilities that may not have been publicly acknowledged. So I am awaiting either an email from Eugene or through Susan.

So thank you for your interest and hopefully, your support.

Till next time,


Friday, May 29, 2009

A long, long time ago...

I apologize to any followers of this blog who were reading it to follow my efforts to secure a real piece of fire apparatus for Chimp Eden. After all the letters were sent and the phone calls were made, all without a single response, I concluded that my effort was a failure.

Thanks to a twist of fate, I may actually have another opportunity to approach one of the major manufacturers this coming fall (in the US). Several years ago, I was retained by a synagogue in Appleton, WI to lead their High Holiday services. I did so for four consecutive years. Located in Appleton, is Pierce Manufacturing, a division of Oshkosh.

There is a ten-day period between the first High Holiday and the second. Usually, I would fly home in-between those days, this not having enough time to make a trip to the factory. However this year, I have decided to stay in the area for the ten days. Additionally, the person who called me for this ear, has a very good friend who, I believe is in management at the facility and who has volunteered to give me a complete tour when I am up there. This will provide me with an opportunity to approach them in person and explain the need.

I have just sent an email to Sue Slotar at the Jane Goodall Preserve where Chimp Eden is located to determine if they have upgraded the fire apparatus since last summer. This way, I can be honest and truthful regarding the need for a new truck.

Again, my sincere apologies for having allowed the blog to languish so long. I will update is between now and then, as necessary.

PLEASE....if you do read the blog, please leave a comment. One of the best tools for me to use in my presentation is support from other viewers, as well.

Till next time...

Pierce Brush Truck

Pierce Brush Truck
Pierce Brush Truck