Mark Kuroski was just another acting hopeful sitting at a casting call in New York City when he saw an ad for actors needed to perform children’s music in South Korea.
Heck, thought the out-of-work La Crosse actor, why not South Korea.
“My brother’s wife was adopted as a child from South Korea and I always wanted to travel,” he said. “And a couple of my friends were already here as well.”
So a year ago he left for South Korea.
Now, he’s leaving South Korea for Borneo.
In much the same way he stumbled across the job in South Korea, Kuroski stumbled upon his latest adventure in Borneo.
“There was a global casting call to be a part of a reality 3-D movie in the jungles of Borneo sponsored by National Geographic. Over 200 applicants from across the globe applied,” he said. “I am one of three Americans and one of 16 young people from around the world who will be living in the jungles of Borneo for 100 days fighting deforestation and rescuing orangutans for release back into the wild.”
Kuroski said it was his acting that got him the gig with the DeforestACTION project.
“I’ve always been interested in the environment, but it was hard as an actor to find a way to help. I’m not a biology major. But being an actor, I’m not afraid of talking with people and talking about important topics.”
Kuroski made an audition video of himself running around the English Village.
“It was like a theme park but without rides,” he said, as he performed an original song about why he wanted to go to Borneo.
“I wanted to showcase my music and editing skills and my fun, outgoing personality. I’m really amazed how many people liked that song,” he said. “There’s a school in Australia ... they changed the words to make it their own. I never imagined that song I wrote would end up in Australia.”
Kuroski joins the project for 20 days beginning Sept. 10. That’s when they will set up camp and lay the groundwork, including setting up solar panels so they have power. Then the rainy season hits so they’ll leave and go back for 80 days beginning in February.
“We will be working with classrooms around the world to raise awareness of deforestation,” he said.
Classrooms will be able to follow along thanks to satellite imagery.
Michael Furdyk, co-founder and director of technology for TakingItGlobal, said schools can get a free teacher’s guide by going to the website at http://dfa.tigweb.org/schools. Furdyk said participation is free, and you can get an idea of how it will work from videos on the website.
Kuroski intends to come back to La Crosse between visits to Borneo and hopes he can enlist some local classes to participate and follow him, either through the website or through his Twitter postings.
The main job while they are there, he said, is to react to things that students see on the satellite imagery. Then they will report back on what they find.
And what will he do when he’s done saving the rain forest and rescuing an orangutan or two?
“I hope this will lead to something else,” he said. “Maybe I’ll end up in Australia.”