Karen Griffey Todd

Class of 1984 Written by Monica Hoel

It’s a tall tale.

When the City of Kingsport was building a carousel, they needed sponsors for the array animals that would soon be running in circles to the delight of young and old. When Karen Griffey Todd (’84) heard there was a giraffe that needed a sponsor, she was ready to step up.

On a trip to Africa in 2001 she fell in love with the long-necked creatures, and now she feels passionate about the real ones and the wooden one that delights children on Kingsport’s now-famous Carousel.

Rothschild the Giraffe stands tall on the Kingsport CarouselRothschild the Giraffe stands tall on the Kingsport Carousel“I will never forget the very first time I saw one in the wild in Tanzania. Then I started reading & learning about them & found that no one had really studied them that much. I was lucky enough to go back to Africa in 2014 to see them in Botswana, Zambia & Zimbabwe. They are already extinct in several African countries. The giraffe is now considered a “vulnerable” species for wildlife conservation with a few of the subspecies being endangered, including the Rothschild giraffe found in Kenya.”

In fact, Rothschild is the name Karen gave to her Carousel giraffe.  Hopefully, folks will give a second thought to the serious plight of Rothschild’s real ancestors as they take a turn for fun.

  • Karen Griffey Todd poses with Rothschild, the carousel giraffe she adopted.
    Karen Griffey Todd poses with Rothschild, the carousel giraffe she adopted.

“The giraffe is now considered a “vulnerable” species for wildlife conservation with a few of the subspecies being endangered, including the Rothschild giraffe found in Kenya.”

— Karen Griffey Todd, E&H ’84