Do you let your Children Act for Wildlife?

wildlife conservationIf, during play time, your child expresses a desire to help an endangered species, remember that children can inspire great action if given the opportunity.

Last week Miss Possum and I were playing wombats and whilst learning about their burrows, Miss Possum spied a picture of Australia. She pointed to a small shaded area in the north of Australia and asked if wombats live there too. I said they did but that they might not for long because there’s not many left. I explained that the Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat was close to being extinct.

Big words for a four year old but important words.

Northern Hairy Nosed WombatImage credit

When she replied, ‘Mum, we must save them,’ I knew that I shouldn’t ignore this opportunity. Like the dead sea turtle we found, I didn’t shade her eyes from the truth.

I understand that many of us don’t want to spread doom and gloom to our child but I have seen many children hear sad stories about animals and rather than getting upset, they turn it into an opportunity to help. It shows that our children have empathy and initiative.

Many children, however, don’t know how to help, so brainstorming ways to help together is a great starting point. Letting your child pick the way they would like to help the animal is an important opportunity for them to take ownership of their ideas.

And so started the conversation about helping wombats.  After thinking about ways she could help save wombats, Miss Possum decided she wanted to write a letter. She didn’t understand who she was going to write to, so we had a brief discussion about what a government is and how they might be able to help.  Miss Possum wrote to Tony Burke, Environmental Minister for Australia.

Children helping Animals

Here’s her letter to Tony Burke about saving the wombats.  It might be an innocent little letter from a four year old but if every child wrote a letter, there would be thousands of reasons to save the environment our wildlife lives in.

wombat conservation

 How to help your child write a letter to the government?

  • Find out your state and or national environment minister and get their address.
  • Ask your child what they want to say to the government before starting to write.
  • Make writing easy for your child by helping them with their letters and words. This isn’t the time to get them frustrated about their writing; you want their thoughts to flow out onto the paper.
  • For older children, ask them questions about what the government should do to save the wildlife habitat in question.
  • Praise them for having the initiative to create change.
  • Think of other ways to help save wildlife.

Why not write a letter yourself and show your child that animals and the environment are important to you too?

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  1. kirri says

    It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with stories of endangered or sick animals, but to reframe it into an empowering act for your kids – Go Miss Possum!

    • Penny says

      Go Miss Possum indeed. I’m so glad she is coming up with action herself. Even if she didn’t, I think I’d model it for her. You are right, sometimes we get so overwhelmed about the environment that we give up and don’t both but that’s what we shouldn’t be doing. If something affects us, we really need to act on it.

    • Penny says

      Thank you so much Julie. It was so nice to see that passion spring from her. I want a child who is passionate and acts for what she believes in, so right now I’m a very proud mummy. :)

  2. says

    Agree. We did something similar here in the UK, and my daughter organised a fund raising event for the local animal rescue shelter.

    • Penny says

      So, so nice to see a bloke ( do I sound like an Aussie now?) around the place. Thank you for visiting and commenting. I love that your daughter organised a fund raising event. That’s wonderful and inspirational! Perhaps Miss Possum will go on to do what your daughter did!

  3. says

    Oh this completely melted my heart. What a beautiful and caring daughter you have who is also very smart. I think it is SO important that we make children aware of their environment and allow them to help make improvements. Such a gorgeous letter. Who could not listen and act on that?

    • Penny says

      I hope they do listen to it. I heard somewhere (but I’m not sure if it’s accurate) that one letter accounts for 100 of the public that feels the same way but won’t write. If that’s true, then your making more of a difference than you think. If not, at least your still standing up for what you believe is right.

  4. says

    What an inspirational post Penny!! Miss Poss is learning such valuable lessons from you and i have no doubt that one day she will be making abig difference in the world of wildlife. So sweet that she took the time to write her letter…no way that could be ignored!!

    • Penny says

      It was cute wasn’t it. Her own words too. I just hope she grows up with a passion to stand up for what she believes in. She doesn’t need to be the next Tim Flannery to make a difference. She can do it by being who she is but acting to help create change.

  5. says

    A fantastic message. When I taught year one (before I was a mom) we studied the world’s rainforest and always did a study of why the rainforests were disappearing and what we could do to help. And each year, students did extra “chores” around the home to earn coins. We collected the money and “bought” acreage in the rainforest. It was so meaningful and rewarding. This year, we are collecting money in our classroom to save the elephants! Your post is very timely! :)

  6. Danya Banya says

    I bet a letter like that would do more to persuade a Minister than a letter from an adult. And so empowering for your daughter too!

  7. Deb @ Aspiring Mum says

    I think it’s so important to encourage compassion (for both people and the environment) in our children from an early age. It would be great if she gets a reply from Tony Burke :)

  8. says

    Imagine when Mr. Burke opens that letter… I hope he sees it for what it is and is moved by Miss Possum’s plight. You are right, it may just be a small act but a lot of small acts make towards some pretty significant change!

    • Penny says

      Thanks Bek, I hope so. The other day she told me that she wanted to be a presenter on the dolphin show so that she could tell people all about dolphins. So nice to hear that but if she changes her mind, that’s okay. It’s nice to know that she loves animals.

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