Kids Helping Wildlife

For many adults, the Gulf oil disaster is like a nightmare from which they cannot wake. The images of oiled birds, struggling sea turtles and distraught fishermen have left many feeling sad and helpless. Yet, during one of our nation's darkest hours, children across the country demonstrated that hope is not lost, and that even the smallest person can make a difference.

As the National Wildlife Federation continues to work on the ground to be the voice of wildlife during this tragedy, we want to share these inspirational stories of kids lending their tiny hands and big hearts to help wildlife hurt by the oil spill.


The Best Birthday Ever!

Most kids have visions of loot for their birthdays. In April of 2010, however, a group of boys were side-tracked by thoughts of the Gulf oil spill.

Birthday money donated

In the midst of birthday planning, they decided to throw an unusual but uplifting party. It would be a group party - celebrating all four of their birthdays. But in lieu of gifts for their 13th birthdays, Walker, Wesley, Nathan and Ty’s invitation requested donations for National Wildlife Federation's “Gulf Oil Restoration Fund."

This generation of leaders is learning that there's power in numbers - the boys raised $1,538 for their worthy cause!

When life gives you lemons

After being sad for so many days about the Gulf oil spill, a Charles Barrett Elementary School student named Grace turned a simple lemonade stand into a beacon of hope for the people in her Alexandria, VA community.

With the help of her parents, Grace set up a stand to give away lemonade, apple juice, coffee, doughnuts, cookies, or snacks to anyone who made a minimum $5 donation to National Wildlife Federation.

Using Twitter and Facebook, Grace's little lemonade stand attracted people from all over the area. In addition to those who biked and walked over to deliver their donations, Grace's classmates brought their piggybanks and personal savings to donate. Even the principal from Grace's school and his family came to donate.

"So many people said they were feeling as we were--sad and not knowing what to do about it--and this gave them an outlet to do something positive," said Grace's mom. "We are so grateful for all that National Wildlife Federation is doing in the Gulf, and elsewhere, on behalf of wildlife."

Watch a video of Grace telling her story >>

Make "LemonAid"

Lizette and Mark Terrillion help the gulf animalsFearing for the pelicans and other wildlife affected by the oil spill, Louisiana siblings Mark and Lizette Terrillion turned to a popular childhood pastime to raise money for their protection. Through LemonAid for the Gulf, Mark and Lizette spent the summers of 2010 and 2011 selling lemonade, baked goods and t-shirts. 

Mark was motivated by  “the news reports that all the pelicans are being hurt by the oil. ..and since the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl, I think we can save the pelicans”. At $0.50 per cup, this dynamic duo has impressively raised over $18,000 for the cause!  

Their good work has caught the attention of many, including CNN’s Anderson Cooper, and inspired kids all over the South to join the fight and open lemonade stands of their own.  This July, NWF staff were treated to a visit from Mark and Lizette, who presented a portion of LemonAid for the Gulf’s proceeds to support our Gulf Oil Spill Restoration Fund. 

Flip-flop Friday

Olivia came up with the idea for Flip Flop Friday after her third grade teacher at Morris Brandon Elementary in Atlanta, GA, showed the class a news clip about the oil spill. With the help of her mom, Olivia used the internet to research ways to help and decided to raise money to donate to the National Wildlife Federation.

The next day Olivia approached her principal with an idea--allow students to wear flip flops to school for a donation of at least one dollar. When the principal gave her the green light, Olivia sprung into action, making posters, giving speeches over the announcements, and educating her fellow students about the spill and the animals that were being hurt. While Olivia's goal was to raise $500, her efforts brought in more than $900 from the students. With the generosity of a corporation that agreed to match Olivia's efforts, she raised a grand total of $1,840.

Every little bit helps

When fifth grade students at West Main Elementary in Ravenna, OH learned that fish, birds and other animals were being hurt by the oil spill, they immediately wanted to help. The 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. 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. 

Mowing for muck

While some kids may hate the chore of lawn mowing, seven-year-old Eddies loves it. Naturally, when Eddie learned about the “horrible oil spill” in the Gulf of Mexico, he decided to use his mowing skills for good in his Massachusetts neighborhood. With the help of his mom, Eddie put together a flyer asking people to donate to the National Wildlife Federation’s oil spill response efforts in exchange for mowing their lawn. To help their son raise as much money as possible, Eddie’s parents have rented a trailer to transport Eddie and his mower to and from his lawn mowing jobs. Under the close supervision of his parents, Eddie plans to mow lawns every Tuesday and Thursday until he reaches his goal of $1000.

You can read more about Eddie's fundraising efforts and see a video here >>  

A talent for fundraising

The Student Council Association of Thurgood Marshall Elementary School, located in Manassas, VA, recently held a fundraiser at the school's end-of-year talent show to support our efforts in the Gulf. The students decided to organize and run a concession stand at the event. When they counted the money, the students had raised $1,053 to donate to the National Wildlife Federation.

Walking for wildlife

On a beautiful Sunday in May, six-year old Anna Rose headed out to the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary with her parents and baby brother to take part in a "walking for wildlife" fundraiser--an idea Anna Rose came up with to help wildlife hurt by the oil spill. With several sponsors lined up, Anna Rose set out to see how many miles she could walk. Nine miles later, Anna Rose had raised $1,276 to donate to the National Wildlife Federation.

You can read more about Anna Rose's walk and see photos of her journey here >>

Thanks for Helping Us Help Wildlife!

Stories just like these are coming in every day from amazing people who want to help the wildlife impacted by the BP Oil Spill. Thank you so much for your support.


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Five Years and Counting, a report by the National Wildlife Federation