Lemon-Aid: A little girl‘s stand for endangered animals
PHOTO: SIGNE LANGFORD
Pandas and Anya Audette-Sekdorian go way back—well, at least to the second grade, when the now nine-year-old did a project on the furry bamboo fiend and discovered it was an endangered species. From that point on she felt compelled to research other animals at risk and do what she could to help save them. Thankfully, pandas have since been taken off the endangered list. We’d like to think Anya had a little something to do with that.
For the past three years, Anya has entered the WWF’s Kids Run for Nature, a fund-raising fun run for the World Wildlife Fund, created by two 10-year-old kids from her Riverdale community, in Toronto, which now takes place at several locations across Canada. But, being something of a go-getter, Anya wasn’t content with merely asking people for sponsor money. Each time, she plastered her neighbourhood with handwritten signs complete with eye-catching pictures of tigers and giant hearts. And the day before the run, she set up a lemonade stand (with homemade awareness-raising banner) in her driveway, selling drinks and homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies to multiply her fundraising potential.
In just three hours, on a fortuitously hot Saturday morning this year, she poured 45 glasses of lemonade, sold 72 freshly baked cookies, and raised $98.75 for the WWF. The next day, she added an additional $10 (well, Mom did) to participate with her family in the 1K fun run.
Now that might seem like a modest sum in the face of a global environmental crisis. But the small and simple acts of philanthropy carried out by kids in driveways and schoolyards add up. Take the fun run: In its first two years alone it raised $25,000. And Anya’s initiative is proof that if you believe in a cause, put your heart into it—and have some Bristol Board and coloured markers—you can effect change, no matter how young you are.
On behalf of the pandas—and the blue whale, the Hector’s dolphin and the African Elephant—we salute this big-hearted environmentalist and are grateful we could get her to sit still long enough to answer a few questions.
Have you always been an animal-lover?
Yes. I grew up with Princess Leia the pug. I wish I could have a cat. but my mom’s allergicso I just play with the three cats my grandma has.
What’s your favourite animal?
Pandas! I have panda everything in my room: panda sheets, panda stuffies, panda PJs. Pandas are the mascot of the World Wildlife Fund. I’ve been to Toronto Zoo to see the pandas twice! They’re so cute.
Speaking of cute, tell us about that lemon dress you have on…
I got it at H&M and I’ve had it for three years. I’ve done my lemonade stand for three years too, but I just remembered about it this time and thought it would be perfect to wear.
Do you have a second favourite animal?
Zebras! But they’re not endangered.
What do you want to do when you grow up?
Well, it’s complicated. I want to be an explorer of nature, write nature books, take nature photos and make songs about nature, too, since I play piano.
We hear you make movies as well?
I made a film called Panda Dreams last year for TIFF Kids. We all got to go to see it at the Bell Lightbox cinema with my whole class. It was pretty awesome!
You listed all sorts of endangered animals on your lemonade stand sign; how come?
I thought if people knew about why I was doing the lemonade stand, then they might give more money, and not just stop because they’re thirsty. And I learned about all the different kinds of dolphins and tigers there are in the world, like the black and white Hector’s dolphin and amur tiger, so I wanted to put that information on the sign, too.
Did your strategy work?
Yeah, lots of people gave extra for the lemonade and cookies, some just gave money and didn’t even want a drink. One lady said she found $5 on the ground and then she looked up and saw my sign posted in the park and came right over to donate it!
What have you learned about endangered animals?
Most endangered animals are endangered because people keep chopping down trees and stuff, so they don’t have anywhere to live.
What can we do to help endangered animals and nature?
We should all recycle everything and not litter and take care of the garbage. And we should always turn the lights off when we leave a room and not let the water run when we brush our teeth, because we need to protect the earth for the animals, too.
What can other kids do to help endangered animals and nature?
Another way other kids could help raise money for WWF if they don’t like to run or sell lemonade, is to have a two-toonie party, like I did on my birthday. Instead of bringing a gift to the party, everyone brings two toonies: one for the kid, and the other for a charity they pick. I’m going to do it again when I turn 10 in August.
How does it feel to take action for a cause you’re so passionate about?
It feels good because there are so many animals I like, and I love nature. I hope some day soon there won’t be any endangered animals because people like me are helping WWF. I feel proud that other kids might follow me in what I am trying to do. I think WWF could use lots of help.
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This genius 10-year-old has discovered a way to prevent hot car deaths
PHOTO: NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION
With summer’s high temperatures just around the corner, a kid genius from Texas has created a new invention that will prevent kids from dying in hot cars.
Ten-year-old Bishop Curry V is a kid who loves dreaming up new devices and, when he heard about a family in his town whose six-month-old died in a hot car last summer, he was inspired to create something that would protect other children from being forgotten in the car. Bishop, who has a one-year-old sister and a father who is an engineer, came up with a tragedy-preventing device that attaches to a car seat where it can detect if a baby is inside. When a child is left in a hot vehicle, it blows cool air and alerts the parents and the authorities.
Each year, dozens of children die in hot cars, often because busy parents or caregivers who have so many things on their minds simply forget they’re in the back seat. Heat stroke, which occurs when there is prolonged exposure to high temperatures and raises the internal body temperature, can cause nausea, seizures, confusion, and eventually organ damage and death. And children and infants are particularly vulnerable to high temperatures.
Kids and Cars, an organization that documents the problem and raises awareness, says more than 800 children have died from heat stroke in hot cars since 1990. But Bishop is ready to change that.
The fifth-grader already has a provisional patent and a 3D model of his invention. His dad helped him start a Go Fund Me campaign for the life-saving device, which he has named Oasis, and the fundraising has already exceeded his $20,000 goal to pay for prototyping and finalizing the patent.
We can’t wait until this incredible invention hits store shelves and we’re excited to see what Bishop creates next!
How to a make Northern Lights mason jar lantern
Level of difficulty: Easy peasy
Age range: 3+
Kids can do all the steps involved, but it’s a fun craft for adults to do, too.
Safety first: Use an LED tealight for these.
The takeaway: Our mason jar lanterns are inspired by the magical Aurora Borealis of Canada’s north. It’s a great opportunity to talk to kids about nature while looking up at the night sky with lantern close by, of course. These are also perfect for a summer night outside.
coloured tissue paper
white glue or craft sealer like Mod Podge
a mason jar
an LED tealight
Tear your tissue paper into strips. There’s no right or wrong way to do this task, any size or shape will work.
Apply glue to the base of the outside of your jar and start affixing tissue paper. For the Northern Lights effect, work your way up with light to dark colours.
Once you reach the top, seal the tissue paper with a final coat of glue or Mod Podge. Don’t fret, it dries clear.
For a final touch, add a handle to your lantern. Twist two colours of pipe cleaner together and secure to the neck of the jar with a third piece. Twist all the ends to secure.
Plop in your LED tealight, head outside and watch the colours dance. Plus, it’s like a little portable campfire you can take to the park or the beach.