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Obi calls on community to help

Obi McDonald-Saint is gearing up for the Ride for the Rainforest Cycling Challenge in late February.
Obi McDonald-Saint is gearing up for the Ride for the Rainforest Cycling Challenge in late February.

Mullumbimby’s Obi McDonald-Saint is one of nine Australian cyclists heading to Sri Lanka at the end of February for the 300km Ride for the Rainforest Cycle Challenge, organised by Rainforest Rescue.


And he is calling on the local community to ‘help him help Sri Lanka’s last remaining viable rainforest – the Sinharaja Reserve’.


Mr McDonald-Saint is trying to raise more than $6000 for Rainforest Rescue’s important work planting trees throughout Sri Lanka and around $4000 to pay for his trip.


“The Sinharaja Reserve is a biodiversity hotspot and one of the more important and most threatened eco-systems in Sri Lanka,” he said.


“It would be tragic for it to disappear.”


Rainforest Rescue’s CEO, Kelvin Davies, said the project involved planting a forest, or buffer zone, right around the Sinharaja Reserve that would provide better resources for local people such as palm trees for sugar, trees for firewood, food and other products and greater protection to the reserve at the same time.


Krista Bernard, who works at Rainforest Rescue in Mullumbimby, came up with the idea to combine cycling with raising money for Rainforest Rescue projects in Sri Lanka.


“Ms Bernard is a veteran of epic cycling journeys and she will lead the Sri Lankan adventure, drawing on her impressive experience cycling from London to the Himalayas and Indonesia to Egypt,” Mr Davies said.


The 12-day adventure will take the cyclists from Kandy in central Sri Lanka, to Galle in the south-west. There are five days of cycling planned covering 50km to 80km per day and a support van will be on hand if needed.


Mr McDonald-Saint has set up a blog at www.obi.ms with more information about the group’s itinerary and details on how to make a donation.


“Donations are fully tax-deductible and every donation helps and is greatly appreciated,” he said.


He is also encouraging businesses to support him and is offering logo placement on his blog for donations greater than $200.


As well as a keen cyclist and supporter of Rainforest Rescue, Mr McDonald-Saint heads up a couple of local businesses, Mullum Mac and Byron Host, and is a local comedian.


 To help with fundraising he is planning a comedy night on Thursday, February 3, at 8pm at the Courthouse Hotel where local comics and MC Mandy Nolan will perform.


There will also be a mini-auction where items donated by the community will be auctioned to raise money for the campaign.


This Sunday Mr McDonald-Saint will be interviewed by Des of Colours of Byron on Bay FM.


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