Every Little Bit Helps

Ohio elementary school students raise money to help wildlife hurt by oil spill

06-04-2010 // Aislinn Maestas
Students at West Main Elementary School

As the BP oil spill disaster continues to grow in the Gulf of Mexico, some may see the problem as too big or too far away to help. That was not the case at West Main Elementary in Ravenna, OH.

When a fifth grade student at the school learned that fish, birds and other animals were being hurt by the oil spill, he approached a teacher at his school for ideas on how he could help. The teacher, Patty Daniels, knew just where to look for ideas.

“I went straight to the Ranger Rick website,” Daniels said. “The site is a great resource for my students to learn about animals. On the Ranger Rick page, I came upon NWF’s questions and answers about how kids could help with the oil spill. This was a great resource to all of us and we agreed to come up with a plan to collect money to help the animals.”

The teachers and students decided to sell paper cutouts of turtles for 25 cents, with a goal to raise $75.00. As word spread about the fifth graders’ efforts, others joined in. Another class decided to sell ice pops for a quarter, making posters and asking kids to donate over the school announcements.

“It made me feel good that I was helping animals, including turtles, to survive the oil spill,” said Tyler, the fifth grader who led the fundraising effort. “Every little bit helps!”

When all the money raised was counted, teachers and students were ecstatic to learn they had collected more than $300 to send to National Wildlife Federation. Each turtle that was sold was put on the wall with the name of the student that made the donation. For a school with a 75 percent poverty rate, teachers at the school were moved by the student’s generosity.

"It was inspirational to see children that are disadvantaged care so deeply that they put the animals in front of themselves, forfeiting ice cream and popcorn to donate their quarters!” said Mrs. Arlequeeuw, a second grade teacher.

For other students who want to help out, Tyler has a simple message: "If you find out that something bad happened to animals, ask a teacher to help you start a fund raiser then turn the money in to help the animals."

National Wildlife Federation has been on the scene of the BP oil spill disaster since it began, working day and night to be the voice of wildlife. You can help support our work by donating to our Gulf Oil Spill Restoration Fund, by making a Leadership Gift , or donating via your mobile phone.  As Tyler said, every little bit helps.
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