Author Mark Yokoyama aims for global audience – Fundraising drive for wildlife guide

POSTED: 03/5/13 1:21 PM

Grand Case – March 4, 2013 – Author Mark Yokoyama’s The Incomplete Guide to the Wildlife of Saint Martin has brought St. Martin’s unique fauna to thousands, both in print and online. Now, with a totally-updated new edition almost complete, he has launched two different fundraising campaigns–one to make the guide more affordable, and another to bring it to schools, libraries and other institutions on the island and in the Caribbean.

The Incomplete Guide to the Wildlife of Saint Martin is a full-color wildlife guide with over 400 photos of animals from St. Martin/St. Maarten. It covers everything from bats, birds and lizards to insects, spiders and snails, including a number of species that are found nowhere else in the world.

Unlike most wildlife guides, Yokoyama’s book places wildlife in a historical and cultural context unique to the island. According to Yokoyama, “If a wildlife guide covers the biology of the animals without explaining how the Pink Bollworm helped kill St. Martin’s cotton industry or why people don’t eat the Jumbie Crab, then it’s only telling half of the story.”

The first fundraising project, which is running through March 25th on the website Kickstarter, raised over $3,000 within the first two days of launching. “The Kickstarter project is great because backers get rewards, like a copy of the book, but they’re also financing a print run that will make it more affordable on the island.” says Yokoyama.
“It’s exciting to see people from the U.S., Europe and the Caribbean come together to make this happen.” Funding the project on Kickstarter means people who want to support it can do so from anywhere in the world at kickstarter.com, and it’s currently one of the Kickstarter Staff Picks in the publishing category.

The second project, to subsidize copies of the book for schools, libraries and other institutions is also already underway. “Kids are naturally interested in wildlife, and they’re also going to be responsible for taking care of this island in the future,” says Yokoyama, “I hope every child on the island gets a chance to read this book, and I think that with the help of individuals, businesses and the local government, this is totally possible.”

The book is also a way to showcase St. Martin/St. Maarten as a destination for the growing number of eco-tourists eager to experience the natural world on their vacations. By some estimates, eco-tourism is poised to double between 2000 and 2020 and represents an ever-increasing opportunity for creating jobs and economic growth on the island in a way that preserves its natural heritage.

The website for the guide is at http://www.sxmwildlife.com. The entire first edition of the guide can be downloaded on the site for free. Site visitors can also learn more about the fundraising projects and how to participate. The Kickstarter project page is at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/420840503/the-incomplete-guide-to-the-wildlife-of-saint-mart

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