Elephant Project combines preservation, economics

News Leader - On a quaint street in downtown Fernandina Beach, newcomer and world traveler M. Dane Waters is quietly gearing down from a career as a political consultant to a full-time job devoted to preserving elephants and their habitats half a world away.

Waters recalls two events in his home state of Alabama that would greatly influence this direction in life. He was a child when the Ringling Brothers Circus came to town, and he has never forgotten looking his first elephant in the eye. “I saw them being unloaded from the circus train and I felt this inexplicable bond,” Waters related. “There’s not a single other animal I feel this way about.” As an adult, Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign came through, and Waters’ first assignment as a volunteer was driving a limo. It was the beginning of a long association with Republican politics that took him to Washington, D.C. and abroad.

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