The Tampa Bay Rays' Mascot, Raymond has a "new best friend" visiting for Earth Day - Meloy, Jr. He is a fish, he represents the organization Rare, and he will be throwing out the first pitch tonight.
Meloy Jr. was kind enough to sit down (can fish sit?) for an interview before tonight's festivities begin!
Thanks for joining us Meloy! So tell us, what does Rare do for the environment?
Rare is a very rare conservation organization whose expertise is social marketing. We partner with local communities globally, inspiring regional pride in their distinctive cultures and natural resources to identify positive solutions that help both people and nature thrive.
To date, we have worked in over 56 countries and done more than 200 of these social marketing "pride" campaigns. And, because we work in partnership with the local communities to create solutions, they are committed to sustain results long after we leave.
Impact focused, we deliver tangible results that make a difference and we have a track record for this. In fact, we have a four-star Charity Navigator rating that speaks to the rigor of our work and our commitment to put dollars where they will make the most significant difference.
One recent example of this is in our fisheries work in the Philippines where we saw an average increase of 47% in fish abundance across twelve sites in just two years. This helps strengthen food and economic security for coastal communities and allows their natural resources to flourish at the same time.
What is you role in representing Rare?
I am Rare's Chief FINspiration Officer (check me out at rare.org under leadership)! Mascots like me are some of the many Rare social marketing tools used to celebrate regional pride in natural resources and foster deep community connections around the globe.
This is similar to how Raymond the Sea Dog catalyzes Rays and Tampa Bay pride. We mascots are not just cute... we have a lot of science behind our art.
What kind of fish are you, and why is that significant to Rare?
I am a proud panther grouper!! This is just one of the species that Rare is working to help rebound so that panther groupers and the coastal communities that depend on fishing and eating them (eeek) will have a long and happy future.
Because we do so much work with coastal communities, it felt only right that I be oFISHally recognized as a member of Rare's leadership team for all I do to energize and engage others.
Will you be avoiding DJ Kitty throughout the night?
I was hoping DJ Kitty might be a vegetarian, but if not Raymond promised he has my back. It's good to be friends with a Sea DOG.
What can we be doing to help your cause?
Keep the spirit of Rare alive in your region by celebrating your community and all that it has to offer, both in the rich cultures of the people and the natural resources that combine to make you distinctly proud to call it home.
To learn more about Rare and how you can support our efforts around the globe go to www.rare.org.
Did you undergo any preparation for tonight's festivities?
After the first pitch, Meloy Jr. will journey to meet some Tampa Bay fans, run in the Pepsi Challenge, spend time with Raymond on the field, pull a Fan Gram stunt, make an appearance on the Jumbotron and get Raymond's Major League Mascot tips in the locker room.
Thanks for taking the time, and good luck tonight Meloy!