Lit­tle boy, Big­heart

Five-year-old Brody Holmes pledges to save the po­lar bears

The Compass - - NEWS - BYMELISSA JENK­INS SPE­CIAL TO THE COM­PASS

While many chil­dren are sit­ting in front of their com­puter screens or their game con­soles, Brody Holmes of Shearstown, who just turned five years-of-age, has been reach­ing out to the com­mu­nity and his school to help the en­vi­ron­ment and try to save an en­dan­gered species.

Brody’s mom, Amanda Holmes, said his in­ter­est in help­ing an­i­mals and the ecosys­tem be­gan af­ter see­ing a com­mer­cial on a pop­u­lar youth tele­vi­sion chan­nel for “Earth Rangers.”

Ac­cord­ing to the web­site (www.earth­rangers.org) the Earth Rangers, also known as the Kid’s Con­ser­va­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion, is a not-for-profit group from On­tario that pro­motes en­vi­ron­men­tal aware­ness and the sus­tain­abil­ity of ecosys­tems.

Af­ter some re­search, and sig­nif­i­cant in­flu­ence from Brody, Amanda agreed for him to sign up for the Earth Rangers pro­ject “bring back the wild.” It in­volves pick­ing an en­dan­gered an­i­mal and fundrais­ing through ecofriendly ini­tia­tives to help con­serve their habi­tat.

Brody chose the po­lar bear be­cause it was his favourite an­i­mal, he told The Com­pass re­cently.

His teacher at the Acad­emy for Math­e­mat­ics and English, Lori Boone, is one of his big­gest sup­port­ers.

“When (Brody) came to school he told me all about po­lar bears, how he loved them and wanted to save them,” she ex­claimed. “Be­cause Earth Day was April 22, I de­cided we would in­cor­po­rate an earth theme at school.”

For the en­tire month of April, Lori taught the chil­dren in Brody’s class about earth-friendly ini­tia­tives like rid­ing their bikes and turn­ing off the tele­vi­sion when leav­ing a room.

Lori wanted to in­clude the stu­dents in a way they would un­der­stand and get ex­cited, so she found songs, crafts, sto­ries and games that in­cluded the po­lar bear so it would be age ap­pro­pri­ate for three- and fouryear-olds.

They also learned about the im­por­tance of re­cy­cling, which was a very im­por­tant part of Brody’s fundrais­ing cam­paign.

Re­cy­cling events

Amanda set up an ac­count with the re­cy­cling de­pot in Bay Roberts and any­one who wanted to do­nate to his cause could drop off re­cy­clables, and the money would go to the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

On April 23, the school hosted a “re­cy­cling blitz” for Brody where 12 stu­dents and three adults brought their own re­cy­clables from home.

Amanda and her hus­band, Christopher, bought a cake shaped like a po­lar bear for the school to cel­e­brate the oc­ca­sion.

While Lori brought out the cake, the stu­dents were cheer­ing, “Save the po­lar bears.”

Brody col­lected 17 full bags of re­cy­clables at the school, sur­pass­ing his ob­jec­tive of 300 bot­tles and cans. Un­der­stand­ing the cause The school’s owner and op­er­a­tor, Karen Attwood, along with his teacher, said Brody has been a stu­dent at the acad­emy since he was two, and they have seen him grow from a shy lit­tle boy into a pas­sion­ate, un­der­stand­ing child.

Brody re­ally does un­der­stand his ini­tia­tive, and demon­strated it by telling his friends at school the rea­son why the po­lar bears are in trou­ble.

“Po­lar bears live on the ice. The ice is melt­ing and they can’t stay,” he ex­plained, men­tion­ing they make their way into com­mu­ni­ties search­ing for food. “That can be danger­ous.”

Amanda said she would con­tinue to sup­port him in his fundrais­ing ef­forts as long as he is pas­sion­ate about it, adding the hard work that has gone into it so far has paid off.

The money raised with a bingo event and a pre­vi­ous re­cy­cling drive has sur­passed Brody’s $250 goal by al­most $1,000.

Con­tin­u­ing Brody’s dream

Lori said the stu­dents in Brody’s class were very re­spon­sive to the sav­ing the earth cause, and were very in­volved in all ac­tiv­i­ties she planned, es­pe­cially “po­lar bear day,” a day she cre­ated to sup­port Brody’s en­deav­our where the kids dressed in white and made po­lar bear masks. The school hopes to grow the event. “I think we are go­ing to con­tinue with this each year, find out which an­i­mal is be­ing spon­sored, and con­tinue it for­ward with the acad­emy,” she sug­gested.

Fifty per cent of the funds raised goes to­wards pro­tect­ing an­i­mal habi­tats across Canada and the other 50 per cent sup­ports ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams to teach more kids about the cri­sis fac­ing wild an­i­mals and their de­plet­ing ecosys­tems.

melissa.jenk­ins@tc.tc

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