Meet the New Generation of Kids Who Are Fighting for Animals

These children and teenagers are raising awareness and funds to help endangered wildlife.

Michele C. Hollow
Published in
9 min readOct 3, 2019

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Taegen Yardley speaking at World Wildlife Day 2018 at the United Nations in Washington, D.C. All photos with permission from the families.

Kate Williams, age 9, believes there’s power that comes from an entire generation working together. The Texas native knows she can’t stop animal extinction alone. That’s why she’s teamed up with friends, teachers, family, and several major wildlife nonprofits to answer the question: “What can we do to help animals?”

She’s in good company. In Massachusetts, brothers Will and Matthew Gladstone, ages 14 and 11, co-founded Blue Feet Foundation to save the Blue-Footed Booby, whose population in the Galapagos Islands is declining.

In Vermont, Taegen Yardley, age 16, has been making wildlife documentaries for the past four years, earning the respect of the Audubon Society, National Geographic, and the United Nations. She was recently awarded Interpol’s “Fostering Partnerships in Conservation Award” by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge.

And Addison (Addy) Barrett, age 11, of Maryland, founded Gorilla Heroes to raise awareness and funds to protect endangered mountain gorillas. She has helped raise more than $7,000 for conservation groups such as the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and The Ellen Fund.

Their approaches are different. But they share a deep love for animals, a commitment to protecting them, and a strong belief that age should not be a barrier to taking action.

“We cannot wait to become the leaders of tomorrow,” Yardley explains. “We must act now. We all have the power to do something.”

Here are their stories:

Kate Williams

Kate Williams, co-author of ‘Let’s Go on Safari!,’ on the safari that inspired her to write her book.

The Texas native can recite a list of facts that are difficult for most of us to hear. “Did you know more than two million pangolins are killed every year for their scales?” she asks. “That 58 elephants are killed by poachers every single day? And that there are less than 8,000 cheetahs left in the wild?”

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Michele C. Hollow
Tenderly

I’m a journalist covering pets, wildlife, health, mental illness, and social justice.