Be Kind To Animals Kids

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1996:

DENVER––Kendra Thirlwell, age
nine, of Louisville, Kentucky, was on
August 21 named the American Humane
Association “Be Kind To Animals Kid” for
1996. Volunteering for two years at the
Enviro Pet adoption shelter operated by the
Kentucky Humane Society, Thirlwell one
year ago began broadcasting a three-minute
pet-of-the-week spot on Creature Feature, a
Louisville-based radio talk show. She also
organized an aluminum can drive at her
school that brought in 15,000 cans, netting
$500 toward the cost of a new KHS shelter.
Other finalists included Kayla
Capper, 11, of San Anselmo, California,
founder of an activist group called Preventing
Animal Testing, Cruelty, and Hunting;

Allan Seibert, 10, of Mobile, Alabama,
who petitioned for stronger anti-cruelty laws;
Bonnie Marie Holt, 12, of Clarinda, Iowa,
who volunteers at her local shelter and takes
pets to a nearby nursing home for companionship
hours; Maggie Nott, 10, of Boise,
Idaho, who raised $475 for her local shelter
and developed an educational program on
“Why Animals End Up at Shelters”; and
Jennifer Leichty, 12, who saved and adopted
a kitten who was being kicked and beaten by
a street gang, at cost of being beaten herself.
Justin Barker, 14, of Elk Grove,
California, may become a 1997 nominee for
his efforts to relocate two 18-year-old bears,
Ursula and Brutus, from the defunct Royer
Park Zoo in Roseville to the Folsom Zoo.
The Royer Park Zoo was virtually destroyed
by flooding in 1986 and never rebuilt, but the
bears stayed, fed but otherwise forgotten,
until Barker found them about a year ago.
Contacting numerous other zoos and sanctuaries,
he persuaded the Folsom Zoo to take
them and Roseville to put up $30,000 toward
the estimated $500,000 cost of putting them
in a world-class exhibit. Barker has raised
another $3,000 himself. Folsom voters will
decide in November whether to approve a
bond issue to raise the rest.
Keesha Thomas, 18, of Ypsilanti,
Michigan, performed two unusual acts of
courage for animals––and people––on June
24 in Ann Arbor. Thomas, a volunteer intervention
worker in a neighborhood anti-child
abuse project and active member of her local
Black Student Union, first went to the aid of
a youth and his dog who had been sprayed
with a chemical irritant by police during a
brawl between Ku Klux Klan members and
counter-demonstrators. Then she used her
own body to shield an unidentified Klansman
from a mob who beat him with sticks from
protest signs, then stomped him when he fell.
Andrew Stanaway, 13, of Birkenhead,
New Zealand, the youngest member of
the New Zealand Herpetological Society,
contributed to the tradition of children succeeding
where adults have failed on endangered
species issues, winning an August 23
pledge from conservation minister Simon
Upton that the nation’s Wildlife Act will be
extended to protect two kinds of forest gecko
and two types of skink––a goal eluding the
NZHS since 1981. All other lizards native to
New Zealand were already protected.
Unfortunately, Upton’s announcement
sparked a collecting frenzy in the skinks’ primary
habitat, as dealers rushed to build their
stock before the imposition of a capture ban.
In a similar lobbying effort, students
from the New Country School in Le
Sueur, Minnesota, back on February 7 convinced
the House Environment and Natural
Resources Committee to allocate $78,000 for
research into reasons behind frog deformities
and disappearances.
Science teacher Brewster Bartlett,
of Pinkerton Academy in Derry, New
Hampshire, in 1993 pioneered the combination
of student legwork and online communications
with the Dr. Splatt project, an ongoing
roadkill census that has exponentially
multiplied the data available on how animals
interact with cars. Bartlett is now recruiting
classrooms to participate for 1997 at
The Bartlett approach is now emulated
by Project ButterflyNet, coordinated by
Alan Lambourne in Somerset, England, in
which grade schoolers across Europe monitor
rare and endangered butterflies.
Classroom conservation projects
are almost routine at 116-student Pescadero
High School in northern California, where
over the past five years students rediscovered
a coho salmon run last seen 10 years before;
built nesting boxes for wood ducks; helped
state biologists map habitat of the California
red-legged frog, a candidate for endangered
species listing; and helped to restore trout
habitat in Pescadero Creek. The work is
supervised by science teacher Steve Maskel.
Fourth graders in Carol Eames’
class at Wolford Elementary School in Black
Forest, Colorado, made headlines with a
compassion project when a bake sale they
held last April to raise the cost of surgery for
their classroom mascot, Waldo, struck the
fancy of the Colorado Springs G a z e t t e
T e l e g r a p h . Waldo, a Siamese silver ferret,
had developed pancreatic tumors. The students
insisted on covering the expense
because the ferret was their pet––and, Eames
said, they insisted on earning it, rather than
just asking for contributions.
The World Book Encyclopedia’s
Classroom Research Project reports that
seven of the 10 most accessed subject headings
in 1995 were animals, down from eight
out of 10 in 1985. Favorites both years were
Dog, Cat, Snake, Horse, and Fish. Bird
and Elephant, as well as the generic Animal,
dropped off the list; new favorites were
Dinosaur and Whale.
The True Nature Network o f f e r s
its videos to school libraries free of charge.
For details, librarians may contact TTNN at
POB 20672, Columbus Circle Stn., New
York, NY 10023-1487; 212-581-1120; or

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