Tom Mullikin has been on several expeditions to the southernmost point of the Earth. Mullikin’s team conducted research on global warming and the effects on this ecosystem and wildlife.
Antarctica is the southernmost continent, which is almost entirely composed of a continental ice sheet. But this polar desert is home to an abundance of wildlife and endangered species. The effects of climate change in Antarctica is drastically apparent with higher temperatures there has been an increase in coastal erosion, specifically, over the past few years Larsen B and Wilikins Ice Shelves calved and the continent lost and will continue to lose square miles of land. As a result the natural habitat for these species and wildlife is dwindling.
Summer, 2015 - Thomas, Jr led Chelsea, Tom and friend Alan Williams on a hike in the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in the state of Arizona in the United States. It is contained within and managed by Grand Canyon National Park, the Kaibab National Forest, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, the Hualapai Tribal Nation, the Havasupai people and the Navajo Nation. President Theodore Roosevelt was a major proponent of preservation of the Grand Canyon area, and visited it on numerous occasions to hunt and enjoy the scenery.
The Grand Canyon is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and attains a depth of over a mile (6,093 feet or 1,857 meters). Nearly two billion years of Earth's geological history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted. While the specific geologic processes and timing that formed the Grand Canyon are the subject of debate by geologists, recent evidence suggests that the Colorado River established its course through the canyon at least 17 million years ago. Since that time, the Colorado River continued to erode and form the canyon to its present-day configuration.
For thousands of years, the area has been continuously inhabited by Native Americans who built settlements within the canyon and its many caves. The Pueblo people considered the Grand Canyon a holy site, and made pilgrimages to it. The first European known to have viewed the Grand Canyon was García López de Cárdenas from Spain, who arrived in 1540.
There are approximately 1,737 known species of vascular plants, 167 species of fungi, 64 species of moss and 195 species of lichen found in Grand Canyon National Park. This variety is largely due to the 8,000 foot (2,400 m) elevation change from the Colorado River up to the highest point on the North Rim. Grand Canyon boasts a dozen endemic plants (known only within the Park's boundaries) while only ten percent of the Park's flora is exotic. Sixty-three plants found here have been given special status by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Summer, 2015 - Chelsea and Tom climbed Mt Adams, Washington in Chelsea's first summit. Adams is a potentially active volcano in the Cascade Range. It is the second-highest mountain in the U.S. state of Washington, trailing only Mount Rainier. Adams is a member of the Cascade Volcanic Arc, and is one of the arc's largest volcanoes, located in a remote wilderness approximately 34 miles (55 km) east of Mount St. Helens. The Mount Adams Wilderness comprises the upper and western part of the volcano's cone. The eastern side of the mountain is part of the Yakama Nation.
Glaciers cover a total of 2.5% of Adams' surface but during the last ice age about 90% of the mountain was glaciated. Mount Adams has 209 perennial snow and ice features and 12 officially named glaciers. The total ice-covered area makes up 24 km2, while the area of actual named glaciers is 20 km2. Most of the largest remaining glaciers (including the Adams, Klickitat, Lyman, and White Salmon) originate from Adams' summit ice cap.
Native Americans in the area have composed many legends concerning the three "smoking mountains" that guard the Columbia River. According to the Bridge of the Gods tale, Wy'east (Mount Hood) and Pahto (Mount Adams; also called Paddo or Klickitat by native peoples) were the sons of the Great Spirit.
Summer, 2015 - Mount McKinley is the highest mountain peak in North America, with a summit elevation of 20,237 feet (6,168 m) above sea level. At some 18,000 feet (5,500 m), the base-to-peak rise is considered the largest of any mountain situated entirely above sea level. Measured by topographic prominence, it is the third most prominent peak after Mount Everest and Aconcagua. Thomas, Jr and Tom had a wonderful climb on the mountain with new friends and hope to make the summit on a later climb.
The Koyukon Athabaskan people who inhabit the area around McKinley referred to the peak as Dinale or Denali (the high one or the great one, respectively). In 1896, a gold prospector named it McKinley as political support for then-presidential candidate William McKinley, who became president the following year. The United States formally recognized the name Mount McKinley after President Wilson signed the Mount McKinley National Park Act of February 26, 1917.
The Galapagos Islands are considered a “living museum and showcase of evolution”. The Galapagos Islands are unique because they are the center of three major ocean currents, which have allowed for flora and fauna in contrasting environments to flourish and attract unique species to the area.
Global Eco Adventures President Tom Mullikin has been teaching and conducting research on a changing climate and the islands’ unique environment and fragile ecosystems.
Tom is an adjunct professor at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Galapagos Islands Campus on San Cristobal and just finished teaching a course on climate change to undergraduate students. During the course, the students heard from climate and messaging experts from Washington D.C., Major General of South Carolina National Guard, local residents, and Galapagos National Park experts. Through excursions to Kicker Rock, the Highlands and different beaches around the island of San Cristobal they were able to examine the robust wildlife, while learning about the severe effects that climate change may have on the area.
If you would like to help save the San Cristobal Island Tortoises, please click here:
GEA president and founder, Tom Mullikin has been in Alaska the last several days as a “NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPERT” for NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC’S ALASKA: DENALI TO PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND EXPEDITION.
Founded in 1888, National Geographic describes its National Geographic Expeditions as "spanning the globe” and “designed to reflect NG travelers' broad spectrum of interests."
Stay tuned for updates about National Geographic Expert Tom Mullikin’s expedition to Alaska.
@natgeotravel #natgeotravel #ngexpeditions!
ALASKA: DENALI TO PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND EXPEDITION – DAY 2
[National Geographic Expert Tom Mullikin’s update, Sept. 4, 2016]
The weather today was exceptional; the best I have ever enjoyed in Alaska – barely a cloud in the blue sky and the temperature in the low 60s (Fahrenheit). We spent the day traveling into the Denali National Park. Along the way, we saw grizzly bears, caribou, moose, fox and eagles. The park was alive with the sun and clear-skies highlighting Denali, the highest summit in North America and looking regal in the distance.
Having made multiple ascents on the grand dame of North America, I can say it was one of the most fantastic views of Denali I’ve ever seen. The contrast between yellow, red and brown tundra serving as the foreground for the snow covered mountain only highlighted the beauty of the "Great One."
The weather combined with the excitement of the guests served to create a positive, truly palpable energy. Kate Batten, our expedition leader, shared her extensive knowledge of the park, and her eagle eyesight enabled her to spot many of the local fauna while explaining the particulars of it all. I enjoyed delivering my first presentation during our lunch break where I introduced some of the climate changes and the associated challenges for Alaska and the global community.
The day ended with our arrival at the Denali Backcountry Lodge – nearly 90-miles-deep into the 6.2-million-acre park – with a wonderful dinner and toast for anniversaries including the 100th anniversary of the National Parks and birthdays. A spectacular day for all.
– Tom Mullikin is in Alaska for the next several days as a “NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPERT” for NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC’S “ALASKA: DENALI TO PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND EXPEDITION.” Founded in 1888, National Geographic describes its National Geographic Expeditions as "spanning the globe” and “designed to reflect NG travelers' broad spectrum of interests." Stay tuned for updates about National Geographic Expert Tom Mullikin’s expedition to Alaska. @natgeotravel #natgeotravel #ngexpeditions!
ALASKA: DENALI TO PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND EXPEDITION – DAY 3
[National Geographic Expert Tom Mullikin’s update, Sept. 5, 2016]
“Day-three of our NatGeo expedition was outstanding. We enjoyed a four-mile-hike to the top of Eagle Point where we witnessed a magnificent view of Denali. Our group climbed strong through the thick alders, over the tundra and up the side of this beautiful peak to get an incredible view of the "High One." With more than 450 flowering plants that bloom in greater Denali [the National Park] there was a great deal to view and discuss.
“Several other guests enjoyed a flight over Denali where they could see climbers camped on the mountain. Weather at altitude on the mountain was going to be a bit brisk last night at minus-20-degrees Fahrenheit with 10-mph winds. The guests were treated to aerial views of some of the 40 named (and hundreds of unnamed) glaciers in Denali National Park. Glaciers cover approximately 4,000 square kilometers (1,544 square miles) of the park.
"Glaciers store a large portion of the world's freshwater, an estimated 69 percent, and if melted would result in significant sea level rise. The temperature in Alaska has increased by three degrees Fahrenheit over the last 60 years and the area of Denali glaciers has decreased by eight percent from 1950 to 2010.
"Many of us spent the afternoon with either a history tour of the area or a botany tour with one of the resident experts. Kate Batten again proved to be an excellent tour leader keeping all of our guests engaged, involved and the informative tours and hikes running on time.
"After a wonderful reception and dinner, I enjoyed delivering a talk on a changing climate in Alaska as the "Canary in the Coal Mine." Many of our guests remained to discuss particular questions and issues. The presentation was opened-up to other guests staying in Denali National Park.
"It was a wonderful day in the Park combining the very best hiking, tours and meals and sharing our passion for this beautiful environment. Today was a reminder why National Geographic is the world leader in exciting and informative tours in Alaska and around the world."
ALASKA: DENALI TO PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND EXPEDITION – DAY 4
[National Geographic Expert Tom Mullikin’s update, Sept. 6, 2016]
“Our Alaska expedition was greeted with plenty of liquid sunshine today providing a marvelous contrast in which to view the various plants of Denali on our hikes. The NatGeo expedition guests participated in a wide variety of activities today while admiring the flora on the hillsides of Denali.
“The day ended with my second presentation on the significance of Denali in the broader consideration of global climate change. Several other guests of the National Park joined our talk and stayed for questions and answers following the presentation. We had guests from South Africa and Australia as well as two young physicians from Chicago. The ‘surgical’ examination began with a review of the measured receding activity of the glaciers of Denali and ended with a discussion of the relevance of these activities on the everyday life of our guests.
“Several guests were interested in some of our climbs and dives around the world. The photo below was taken during one of our dives under the ice in Antarctica where we discussed briefly the challenges and unique opportunities of ice diving.
“Many retired early following the talk to prepare for our early wake-up (5:00 a.m.) and departure from the Park for Talkeetna."
ALASKA: DENALI TO PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND EXPEDITION – DAY FIVE
[National Geographic Expert Tom Mullikin’s update, Sept. 7, 2016]
“We began the day early with a drive back through the Denali National Park. Along the way, we saw moose, grizzly bear, ptarmigan and a golden eagle. The ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) is Alaska’s state bird. Chosen by Alaska schoolchildren as a symbol of ‘the Great Land,’ the ptarmigan became the official state bird when Alaska became the 49th state in 1959. The willow ptarmigan is the largest of three ‘Arctic grouse’ found in Alaska, also including the rock and the white-tailed ptarmigan. Unlike other grouse, the male willow ptarmigan often assumes responsibility for the young, defending them against predators. The golden eagle is a very large raptor with broad wings, ranging from 26-to-40 inches in length and from five-feet-11-inches to seven-feet-eight-inches in wingspan.
“Following our ride out of the Denali, we boarded the Alaska Railroad for an incredible trip down to Talkeetna passing along beautiful rivers, seeing swans and the Alaska mountain range. Talkeetna, a beautiful climbing town, has become a summer stop for my son, Thomas, Jr., and me as we have prepared to ascend Denali. The folks in the town are very friendly and have a great deal of knowledge about the mountain and related activities.
“We finished our day with a wonderful meal in Talkeetna and great conversations about the beautiful environment in Alaska.”
[The photo is of Hurricane Gulch, a tributary of Alaska’s Chulitna River, enroute to Talkeetna.]
ALASKA: DENALI TO PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND EXPEDITION – DAY SIX
[National Geographic Expert Tom Mullikin’s update, Sept. 8, 2016]
“We began today with a hot breakfast at the lodge looking toward the majestic Denali. The clouds kept most of the mountain from full view, so we said goodbye to the ‘High One,’ and soon thereafter began our trek toward the Chugach Mountains and over to Girdwood.
“The Chugach Mountains are the northernmost of the several mountain ranges that make up the Pacific Coast Ranges. The range is about 250-miles-long and 60-miles-wide. The highest point of the Chugach Mountains is Mt. Marcus Baker at 13,094 feet.
As we approached Anchorage we visited the Iditarod Race Headquarters in Wasilla and met some of the beautiful Alaskan sled dogs [see photograph].
“We stopped at the Eagle River Nature Center for a picnic lunch and a visit to the State Park viewing center. While there I spoke with the Alaska Mountain Search and Rescue Company that was preparing to deploy to find an injured hiker in the mountains: A wonderful conversation with true patriots.
“We continued down the Seward Highway following ‘Turn Again Arm.’ The Seward Highway has been named one of America’s ‘Top 10 most picturesque country drives’ and one of the country’s ‘most unforgettable, must-see roads.’
“We arrived at the beautiful Alyeska Lodge. The Alyeska Ski Corporation was founded in 1954, and the first chairlift and day-lodge were opened in 1959 (the year Alaska became a state). The Roundhouse ski lodge and ski patrol station at the top of the mountain began construction in 1960. Still standing, the lodge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. As soon as we checked into our rooms, we went for a hike through the Chugach Mountain Range. The Chugach is a temperate rainforest in the pacific temperate rainforest regions, and it is inhabited by numerous bird, mammal and marine species, including a bald eagle population larger than that of the continental 48 states combined.
“Our day ended with a wonderful dinner overlooking the mountain.”
ALASKA: DENALI TO PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND EXPEDITION – DAY SEVEN
[National Geographic Expert Tom Mullikin’s update, Sept. 9, 2016]
“After a wonderful breakfast at the Alyeska Resort, we boarded our vans and made our way toward the Prince William Sound for a cruise. We passed Portage Glacier and drove through the tunnel enroute to Whittier, Alaska, where we would join a tour.
“Whittier was once part of the portage route of the Chugach people native to the area. The nearby Whittier glacier – and ultimately the town – was named for American poet John Greenleaf Whittier in 1915.
“In 1943, during the height of World War II, the United States Army constructed a military facility with a port – Camp Sullivan – which continued as an Army post through the early years of the Cold War until 1960. On March 28, 1964, Whittier was devastated by an earthquake which remains the largest U.S. earthquake, measuring 9.2 on the Richter scale, and caused tsunamis along the West Coast of the U.S.
“The tsunami that struck Whittier reached a height of 43 feet.
“In Whittier we boarded our cruise ship for a tour of Prince William Sound (also known as Prince William's Sound). Located on the South Coast of Alaska, Prince William Sound is on the east side of the Kenai Peninsula of the Gulf of Alaska. Chugach National Forest and Chugach Mountains surround Prince William Sound. We viewed several glaciers during our tour including the Surprise Glacier (see photo).
“Also near Prince William Sounds is Columbia Glacier, one of the largest glaciers along the Alaska coast. The Columbia Glacier descends 10,000 feet above sea level, and is considered the world’s fastest-moving glacier retreating 80-to-115 feet per day. The receding Columbia Glacier accounts for almost 50 percent of the ice loss in the Chugach Mountains.
“Enroute back to Whittier in Prince William Sound we were treated to the sight of a Humpback Whale, as well as bald eagles and the various other beautiful vistas and sounds of the area. Returning to the Alyeska Resort, we dressed for dinner; our final dinner together. During dinner our guests discussed the parts of the incredible experience they most liked. It has been another incredible – once in a lifetime – National Geographic expedition from Denali to the Prince William Sound.”
ALASKA: DENALI TO PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND EXPEDITION – FINAL DAY
[National Geographic Expert Tom Mullikin’s update, Sept. 9, 2016]
The final day of our National Geographic expedition in Alaska was
another beautiful day. We departed early from Alyeska Resort for the Alaska Wildlife and Conservation Center and a close up view of
porcupine, moose, elk, caribou, brown and black bear, wolves, foxes, muskoxen and wood bison. The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to conservation, education, and quality animal care. The center is located on about 700 acres at the southern edge of Turnagain Arm and the entrance to Portage Valley.
Our tour ended with another incredible picnic on the shores of
Turnagain Arm. We enjoyed the views of the clear water and the
Chugach mountains. The expedition leaders for our National Geographic Expedition again proved why they are the best in the world: Kate Batten, Cassie Schneider and Cameron Breslin were the best I have ever seen. No detail was too small and no issue too large - they accommodated all requests. (See the photo below curtesy of Rebecca Simor.)
From the majestic heights of Denali to the cool waters and glacier
views of Prince William Sound, the National Geographic expedition was organized, educational, and offered truly phenomenal views of some of the most amazing landscape in the world. I will miss the warm and interesting participants of an incredible trip. Until the next time, I leave you with this rainbow over Prince William's Sound and the beautiful Chugach Mountains.
I am now ready and eager to catch my red-eye flight back to South
Carolina so I can participate in the historic South Carolina State
Guard Hurricane Hike on Saturday morning.
Tom Mullikin led a small delegation to the northern most city of Barrow, Alaska to study first hand allegations of receding artic sea ice. The National Snow and Ice Data Center indicated that sea ice covered about 1.32 million square miles or 24 percent of the surface of the Artic Ocean. While visiting the area, Mullikin joined the Polar Bear Club by swimming in the Arctic Ocean off the coast near Barrow, Alaska. He also logged a National Geographic scuba dive in the Arctic Ocean. With this dive, Mullikin has logged dives in all of the world's oceans.
Tom and his son Thomas, Jr. (a Master Naturalist) traveled to the fabled Galapagos Islands in 2012 to study the exquisite flora and fauna and prepare for an upcoming educational expedition.
In the Galápagos, the first protective legislative action was in 1930 and supplemented in 1936. However, it was not until the late 1950s that positive action was taken to control and truly protect native flora and fauna. In 1959, the centenary year of Charles Darwin’s, The Origin of Species, the Ecuadorian government declared 97.5% of the archipelago's land area a national park. UNESCO recognized the islands in 1978 as a World Heritage Site and in 1985, as a biosphere reserve. In 1986, the 27,000 square miles of ocean surrounding the islands were declared a marine reserve, which is only second in size to Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Four years later, in 1990, the archipelago became a whale sanctuary.
Tom and Thomas toured the islands extensively and enjoyed diving with the marine life including the famed hammerhead sharks, which are often seen in the waters surrounding the islands.
In 2008, Tom Mullikin led his team on a scientific expedition to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. Mullikin’s team completed dives off the reef to study coral "bleaching" and to familiarize themselves with one of the richest and most diverse marine biospheres in the world. The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest reef system and is composed of over 2,900 individual reef and it has over 900 islands stretching for over 2,600 kilometers. This reef is home to more than 1,500 fish species and at least 330 species of ascidians on the reef system. During the expedition, Mullikin’s team studied this diverse wildlife. In the reef there have been thirty species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises that have been recorded in the Great Barrier Reef, six species of sea turtles that visit the reef in order to breed and 215 species of birds (including 22 species of seabirds and 32 species of shorebirds) visit the reef or nest on the islands.
Tom Mullikin led a delegation to explore the volcano Kilauea. Five volcanoes form the island of Hawaii, but Kilauea is the most active and is 300,000 to 600,000 years old. Kīlauea has a large, fairly recently formed caldera at its summit and two active rift zones, one extending 78 miles east and the other 22 mi west. Mullikin and his team have explored the active volcano from air and the sea. Today, at least 20 volcanoes are erupting at any one time, while in the 1990s roughly 60 volcanoes erupted each year. Scientists believe that more than 1500 have erupted in the past 10,000 years; and some estimate of young seafloor volcanoes exceeds a million. Kilauea by itself discharges between 8,000 and 30,000 metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each day.
In addition to his study of naturally occurring greenhouse gases, Mullikin took time to study the local reefs and marine life.
In 2010, after the eruption of the Iceland volcanic eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, Mullikin led his team to Iceland where he met with some of the world's foremost volcanologists and geologists to better understand the degree of naturally occurring greenhouse gases being emitted. This volcanic eruption will be remembered for causing enormous disruption to air travel across western and northern Europe in April 2010. Mullikin climbed to the peak of an adjacent summit where he and his team witnessed first hand the fury of the eruption which emitted an estimated 150×106 kg of CO2 per day.
No place on earth can give a more humbling sense of change than the famed Machu Picchu. Mullikin and his team climbed to the top of Machu Picchu to view first hand the winds of change and the progress of a once proud Inca power; here where the Inca Empire boasted its scientific, economic and literary advancements.
Machu Picchu is located in the Cusco Region of Peru, South America. Machu Piccu is located on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley, which is 50 miles northwest of Cusco.
Within the Peruvian Andes, Machu Picchu encompasses one of the most cherished sites of our past time – an Inca civilization. “City of the Incas” is considered one of the most familiar icons of the Inca civilization. Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca Emperor Pachacuti (1438-1478). The Incas The began building the "estate" around the year 1400, but abandoned it as an official site for the Inca rulers a century later at the time of the Spanish Conquest.
There is no more beautiful place in the United States for a winter expedition than the Boundary Water Region of northern Minnesota. Mullikin and his team have hosted seminars on global climate change coupled with dog sledding the scenic region.
The Boundary Waters is a region of wilderness that crosses from the United States into Canada between Ontario and Minnesota and west of Lake Superior. The Boundary Waters region is characterized by a major network of waterways and bogs within a glacially-carved landscape of Precambrian bedrock covered in thin soils and boreal forests.
Tom Mullikin has climbed many of the tallest peaks on earth. In 2010, he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. Mt. Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcanic mountain in Kilimanjaro National Park, Tanzania. It is the highest mountain in Africa and at 19, 341 feet above sea level it is the highest free-standing mountain in the world.
Mullikin has told the story of his vast expeditions and research on climate change through his award winning video documentaries, Climate Change: Global Problems, Global Solutions and The Whole Truth. He has authored Global Solutions: Demanding Total Accountability for Climate Change and Sportsman Environmentalist, and has been asked to appear on major broadcast networks to discuss his findings based on his unique experiences and extensive research on climate change.
Tom has led multiple trips to Namibia, Africa to study the Namib Desert - the world's oldest desert. The Namib Desert has been in existence for some 43 million years, remaining unchanged in its present form for the last 2 million years. Evidence of humans living in the Namib through time extends back to the early stone age era. The most documented of mankind's existence can still be seen today in the many rock paintings, stone circles, tools and pottery that have been discovered over the centuries. The most famous rock paintings are at Brandberg and Twyfelfontein. The Topnaar are a well-known clan of long-term residents of the Namib. Mullikin’s team studied the harsh environment of the Namib, which challenges both man and mammal alike. Carnivores are no exception and three of the larger species – black-backed jackal, brown hyena and spotted hyena have adapted to life in the desert. Spotted hyena live in the central and eastern regions, travelling in small groups where gemsbok, mountain zebra and occasionally Namib feral horses are taken. Black-backed jackals often scout the beaches in large groups for marine carrion, Cape fur seal pups and breeding birds. Brown hyena search for smaller items of food, usually alone and also take seal pups, eat insects and fruit as well gemsbok and springbok carcasses. Mountain zebra, chacma baboons, kudu, klipspringer, Cape fox, gerbils, steenbok and a healthy population of leopard are also resident.
Tom has visited with Zachi Nujoma, the son of the founding President of Namibia Sam Nujoma on one of their expeditions to Namibia. Their visit together was a remarkable experience, where they discussed visions for the future of the nation and environment.
Tom Mullikin has had the opportunity to conduct research during his scuba diving trips near Zanzibar. He was able to learn of the fragile ecosystem and the effects that global warming has had on this unique underwater environment.
Zanzibar is an archipelago made up of Zanzibar and Pemba Islands, and several islets. It is located in the Indian Ocean, about 25 miles from the Tanzanian coast. It is characterized by beautiful sandy beaches with fringing coral reefs, and the magic of historic Stone Town - said to be the only functioning ancient town in East Africa. Zanzibar is very rich in both flora and fauna.
A balloon flight across the famed Tarangire National Park can provide insight into the vast number of wild animals and the flora and fauna of the African bush. Mullikin led a team to the Tarangire to study the African outback. Tarangire National Park originates from the Tarangire River that crosses through the park, This river is the only source of water for wild animals during dry seasons and thousands of animals migrate to the Tarangire National Park from Manyara. The park is located to the south east of Lake Manyara and covers an area of approximately 1,100 square miles. The park is famous for its huge number of elephants and tree climbing lions. Zebra, wildebeest, waterbuck, giraffe and olive baboons habitat in this region. Also, interestingly, the swamps are the focus of the largest selection of breeding birds anywhere in the world – over 550 different species have been seen there.
Tom Mullikin served as an ABA – UNDP International Legal Resource Center Team Leader of a group of 52 attorneys from across the globe completing a comprehensive analysis report on the Republic of Fiji’s Mineral and Seabed Mining legislation. Mullikin, as Team Leader, worked closely with the ILRC, UNDP/Fiji, and local stakeholders. As the official liaison, he travelled to Fiji on two different occasions in order to gather information for the project and present the experts’ findings.
In September 2013, Mullikin went on his first trip to Fiji and met with UNDP/Fiji and local stakeholders. As the Team Leader, he wanted a better understanding of the legal landscape and realistic context of Fiji. Mullikin had separate meetings with the Mineral Development Technical Committee, which included the Ministry of Planning; Mineral Resources Department for Groundwater; and the Department of the Environment, Revenue and Customs Authority. Additionally, he met with the iTaukei Ministry and Board, the Mining and Quarry Council and an Advocacy Coordinator for the Social Empowerment and Education Program. The in-person meetings with all of the stakeholders that would be impacted by Fiji’s Mineral legislation proved to be a very important and an effective measure to understand the Fijian context, culture, and objectives. Mullikin’s meetings were an overwhelming success and tremendously supported the quality of the ILRC report and recommendations.
Mullikin visited Fiji for the second time at the beginning of April 2014 to present the experts’ recommendations on how to amend the Mineral and Seabed Mining legislation. The key participants included UNDP/Fiji and the Fiji Government’s Mineral Development Executive Committee (Permanent Secretary of Lands and Mineral Resources along with officials from the Department of Mining, Office of Attorney General, Ministry of iTaukei Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Fisheries and Forests, and other departments). Additionally, Mullikin was invited to participate in roundtable discussions following his presentation on the Four Pillars of Success. His presentation and other discussions focused on 1) Prudent, Efficient, and Sustainable Relationship with Nature; 2) Financial Security for Fiji; 3) Appellate Review - Transparency and Accountability; and 4) Public Participation. These roundtable discussions facilitated a forum that encouraged free flowing ideas and healthy atmosphere to determine the best avenue for Fiji.
Furthermore, while in Fiji, Mullikin explored various areas and indigenous villages. He had the opportunity to visit villages near the Salad Bowl of Fiji, an area that produces great amounts of fruits and vegetables for Fiji. The Salad Bowl is located in the Sigatoka Valley, near the Sigatoka River. During his expedition to tour the cannibal caves in the area, he had to cross the Sigatoka River. Mullikin learned that in 2012, a British couple raised money for the village to build a preschool. In an effort to help provide for the children, Mullikin met with the Chief from the Village of Toga to ask for his permission and blessing to contribute to the children in some way. The Chief of Toga granted them permission to donate funds to build a library for all reading levels of children that have to cross the river to go to school. This library will be named after Mullikin's loving wife and called the Virginia Ann Mullikin Library.