The children’s program Bring Back the Wild rolled through the Elk Valley this week with stops at schools in Fernie, Sparwood, and Elkford. Bring Back the Wild is a nationwide fundraising campaign put on by the Earth Rangers organisation in an effort to empower children to protect wild animals and their homes.
“It’s an award winning children’s charity, so we go to schools and community events and we educate about the importance of biodiversity and habitat loss, and we inspire them to bring back the wild,” said Shannon Reeb, Earth Ranger and Wildlife Biologist. “We have four different projects going on all across Canada with species that are endangered, and the money we raise goes towards the projects.”
The Earth Rangers sponsor a different group of animals through conservation projects each year and give kids the chance to get involved online. Reeb explained, “Students can go on our website and that’s how they get involved with Bring Back the Wild. They choose which animal they want to help protect and then they email friends and family members asking for donations to help support their animal.”
There are four animals Bring Back the Wild is working to protect this year; the polar bear, the Oregon spotted frog, the wood thrush, and the American badger.
Through their school outreach program, the Earth Rangers visits over 550 schools across Canada every year, however the Elk Valley isn’t normally a location they stop at. “This is our national tour and the only reason that we’re in the Kootenays is because of the generous support of Teck,” commented Reeb.
At each school, two Earth Rangers make an hour long presentation featuring live animal ambassadors, including Echo the barn owl, Crimson the tegu, and Linus the hawk.
“We find that bringing live animals works best because a lot of the time children don’t get the opportunity to actually see them up close,” said Reeb. “It helps a lot in spreading our message in saying this is what we’re all about and these are the animals we’re trying to help.”
She went on to say, “We’ve asked [the kids] before what their favourite parts were and of course it’s the animals and getting up close to them.”
Further information on Bring Back the Wild can be found at www.earthrangers.com.