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Local Business Owner Aims to Preserves Nature

Cindy Galvin aims to help capture rare and beautiful moments of nature with the U.K.-based ARKive project.

ARKive — a U.K. based charity that aims to create a photographic and video record of life on Earth — has come a long way since its launch in 2003, in part thanks to dedicated volunteers like Winnetka resident Cindy Galvin.

ARKive is a website featuring photos and videos of endangered animals, with 100,000 images and clips and 15,000 endangered species. The website is used by people all over the world in 160 countries, from students in classrooms to curious nature-lovers. And it has some powerful names behind it — including the Discovery Channel, Google Earth and His Royal Highness Prince Phillip.

"You could get on there forever," Galvin said of the website. "It's amazing. There's no bricks or mortar location — it's all done with downloading information and all of the content...are lent to the Archive. It's quite a way to promote nature and conservation with pretty little cost."

Galvin owns the Maze Home Store in Winnetka, and has worked with non-profits since she was 25.

"I've been on the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago since I was 25," she said. "And I've been on other boards here or there, but [ARKive] is the one that really touches my heart."

Galvin was introduced to ARKive through Kim Stewart, a former Winnetka resident. Galvin was Kim's Sorority Mother when they were students at Northwestern University.

"She's a phenomenal woman," Galvin said of her friend. "This has been her quest for at least 10 years."

Galvin explained that she was visiting Stewart at her home in Scotland when Kim asked her for help launching ARKive in the United States.

"She said, 'I've been [in Scotland] for twenty years, I've lost most of my friends, I don't have any contacts,'" Galvin explained. "I said, 'Kim, I will help you' — that's what old friends do."

ARKive will be hosting its second fundraiser — called "Fill the ARK in Illinois — at the Racquet Club in Chicago on May 20, and are hoping to raise over $100,000 for the non-profit.That money will go toward documenting species. The gala will feature talks from reknown oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle and National Geographic Editor Kathy Moran.

"It's really pretty reasonable to photograph and document at about $1,000 a species," she said. "It's not like building a wing of a hospital, it's great!"

Those interested in learning more about attending the gala can call (630) 752-9661 or email lisa@lwcoinc.com with the subject line "Fill the ARK in Illinois". To check out the ARKive's photos and videos, visit their website here.

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