Elephant Fair: Theo Taylor

9-year-old Theo Taylor is a little man with a mission. You might ask, how can someone who just finished year 4 (3rd Grade for those of us in the US) be on a mission? Yet, Theo has rallied his friends, family, and community all for elephants with his Save The Elephant Fair. Held in his family’s beautiful garden, over 120 guests enjoyed face painting, temporary tattoos, a bake sale, games, and more, with all of the proceeds going to support elephant conservation charities, including the International Elephant Foundation. Only his first time coordinating such an event, it was wildly successful raising approximately £1,600.

Theo is an animal lover and that love has inspired him to fight for endangered species. At home, he cares for his 2 year-old Cockerpoo, Holly, and two fish, Goldy and Spotty. But a family trip to Thailand over Easter break truly changed his focus. “We walked with elephants, fed them, washed them (and got sprayed and were with them for the whole day), ” Theo recalls. “Elephants are fascinating, big, gentle and incredibly clever and I’ve always admired them as they are such beautiful creatures.”

Coming back home to the UK, Theo knew he had to get involved. He rallied his community, advertising the Elephant Fair at local schools and to his neighbors with a leaflet he designed. His mum, Mandy Taylor, created a closed Facebook event too. At the event itself Theo’s creativity was on full display as he made Harry Potter wands to sell (because “everyone likes Harry Potter, including me!”) and sold canvas paintings of elephants he also painted himself.

Theo’s success in spreading his love for elephants and the need for conservation is a testament to the impact just one person can make when inspired. He told us that one of his favorite things about elephants is that “They look after their families,” and clearly to Theo elephants are now part of his family.

Neeharika Bandlapalli Conservation Video

Jude Fidel: Profile of A Young Conservationist

You are never too young to care about wildlife!

10-year-old Jude Fidel of Vermont is the perfect example. Even though he’s only in 5th grade, Jude has been going out of his way to spread his love for elephants to everyone who will listen…

Jude plays his ukulele and sing songs as a street performer to raise money for elephant conservation! When asked how he became so dedicated to elephants, Jude recounts how an elephant once helped him, “When I was three years old, I got into an accident on New Year’s Eve. I was rushed to the hospital for stitches and immediately the nurse gave me a stuffed elephant. I named him Peanut and he has always been one of my favorite stuffed animals.”

From his love for Peanut, Jude learned about the threats facing elephants and that if we don’t do something, they could go extinct. This inspired him to action. With a friend, he started a smoothie stand in his small town and raised over $500 to support a ban on ivory sales. They were so passionate about their cause, Jude and his friend marched in Burlington, Vermont in favor of the ivory ban and actually made it on the local news!

Now Jude can be found performing on Church Street in Burlington, Vermont, singing everything from The Eagle’s “Hotel California” to Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida” to “Riptide” by Vance Joy. As you can imagine, he draws quite a crowd. With a humble sign, simply stating “All tips are donated to the benefit of elephants’ survival” people of all ages drop donations into his ukulele case.

Thankfully Jude’s parents are 100% supportive of his passions. They even took a trip to Laos recently where Jude was able to meet elephants in person, feel their skin, and stand next to the giants he loves. There’s little doubt this experience will inspire Jude to keep up his good work for elephants, because as Jude says, “you can’t not love them.”

Save the Elephants

Public Service Announcement by 3rd Graders: Jack, Moriah, Skylar, Kyra and Maria

Inspiring Future Conservationists

#ConserveWhatYouLove, Anna & Emma

Doing conservation work it becomes clear that people are inspired to help elephants out of love.  While we all see thousands of images a day on television and online, those images rarely inspire us to act; there is usually a personal experience that motivates.  This is exactly the case with two 5th graders, Anna Everhart and Emma Stefanou of Manor Intermediate School in Honeoye Falls, New York.

Anna and Emma talked to keepers at Seneca Park Zoo and immediately wanted to do something to help elephants.  When their teacher Mrs. Vitale gave their class an opportunity to do passion projects, the girls knew exactly what they wanted to do: How to Stop Elephant Poaching.  The girls produced an anti-poaching brochure and gave a speech including a power point presentation to help teach their fellow students about the importance of elephant conservation and not buying ivory.  But they didn’t stop with merely educating their peers, for two days Anna and Emma stood at a table in the front lobby of their school and collected donations for IEF, giving away colored elephant charms to donors.

Seeing and learning about elephant in person can be a life-chainging experience.  We only fight to conserve what we love, and we can only love what we learn about.  Elephants in human care serve as ambassadors, educating about the plights of their wild counterparts.  Thank you to Anna, Emma, and Seneca Park Zoo for all you do to #ConserveWhatYouLove.

Students at Francis Case Elementary

Francis Case Students Help Save Baby Elephants

Students at Francis Case Elementary learned about EEHV, a herpes virus that is the leading cause of death in Asian elephants less than two years of age. The children decided to collect coins and within a record amount of time they had almost $200. This was sent to Johns Hopkins Medical Hospital (via the International Elephant Foundation) to help to achieve a cure to protect the baby elephants from dying. In an effort to thank the students for their donation, The International Elephant Foundation CEO, Deborah Olson, sent the students a painting done by an elephant at the Fort Worth Zoo. Thank you to all of the students for their support!”

Calli of Bermidji, MN

Calli of Bermidji, MN Educates Community On Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus

After meeting IEF Board Member/Owner of Have Trunk Will Travel, Gary Johnson, and learning about the Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus (EEHV), 14-year old Calli of Bermidji, MN decided to help educate others in her community on the deadly affects of EEHV on young elephants. Calli created a poster outlining EEHV and submitted it to her county fair where she was awarded a blue ribbon and the opportunity to submit her poster in the Minnesota State Fair. Congratulations Calli and thank you for your support!

Elephant Conservation to the Classroom

Bringing Elephant Conservation to the Classroom

Harry Peachey, IEF Board Member and Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Elephant Manager and Head Keeper of Pachyderms, realizes the importance of educating even the youngest elephant lovers about conservation. Harry recently visited Burbank Early Childhood Center where he shared elephant facts and touched on elephant conservation with the preschool children.

Fifth-Grade Boys Raise Money to help Save the Endangered Asian Elephant

Azle, Texas (June 7, 2011) – Alex Rines and Vinnie Christiano, best friends and fifth graders at Lindbergh Elementary in Kenmore, NY, have led an effort to raise $500 for elephant conservation.

The International Elephant Foundation (IEF) today announced that matching funds that will increase this contribution at least tenfold are pouring in. The final tally will be announced on Wednesday, June 8th at 2:15 EST, when the fifth graders of Lindbergh Elementary will present their donation via Skype to IEF board member Daryl Hoffman and his elephant staff of the Houston Zoo.

“We are very proud of our boys for leading this fundraiser for a cause so worthy and we believe in as moms! It’s an honor to know our children care about things other than the TV, hand held video games, and such. They definitely know there are people, places and animals that need help and they are determined to make a difference!” said Denise Rines.

“Through bake sales and other activities and with their classmates this has become a big effort in their school, and their fifth grade teacher would like this to be a learning experience about conservation and philanthropy that these kids can carry on to adulthood.”

In partnership with the International Elephant Foundation, the leading non-profit organization dedicated to funding elephant conservation and research programs around the world, Alex, Vinnie and their fellow students decided their contribution could do the most good by supporting research into Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV).

“We are so impressed with Alex and Vinnie,” said International Elephant Foundation (IEF) Executive Director Deborah Olson. “Elephants need people to help them, and these boys deserve recognition for their efforts.”