Good People Doing Good Things — Today’s Youth

My friend rawgod had an idea for this week’s ‘good people’ post that I am pondering, but simply have not had time to pull it together yet, so perhaps next week.  No, I won’t give you a hint, for then you’ll pester me.  But what I do have for you today are some kids who are taking more than their share of responsibility for the wildlife on our planet.  These four have been hailed as ‘eco-heroes’ by the Sierra Club and I think you’ll see why.

Dessi-2Desmond Sieburth, nicknamed Dessi, lives in Pasadena, California.  Sieburth, a young bird conservationist, explains, “I got into birding when I was eight years old, after making a bird feeder.” Sieburth’s frequent birding expeditions soon led him to the unfortunate truth that populations of many types of birds are declining, thanks to factors including deforestation. So, he decided to help. To start, he made nesting boxes for the western bluebird, which typically make their nests in dead tree cavities—and he has been building and monitoring his homemade nesting boxes ever since. Last year, 21 boxes produced 163 fledglings.

In an effort to further preserve and create bird habitats, especially in urban settings, and to educate others about helping birds, Sieburth created an organization called Protecting Our Birds. He says that teaching Californians about the threatened and endangered birds right in their backyards—such as the California condor—is his passion. “Microtrash, lead ammunition, and habituation are the main threats to the California condors.”

DessiSieburth, who joined the Pasadena Audubon Society at age eight, also contributes to several Audubon newsletters. He regularly leads bird walks for kids and adults, and has presented on bird habitats before Audubon chapters, schools, and libraries, reaching close to 1,000 people. And, over three years of participating in Audubon’s “Big Photo Day”—an annual event that calls on birders to photograph as many species of birds as they can in a day, with each photo fetching a donation—he has raised more than $1,500 to protect a local watershed and wildlife corridor. The American Birding Association named Sieburth 2015’s Young Birder of the Year for his tireless efforts.

Sieburth’s plan for the future is to expand his conservation efforts globally—he already uses his Protecting Our Birds website to emphasize the importance of supporting bird-habitat-friendly coffee plantations in South and Central America. It was hardly a surprise to learn that when he grows up, he wants to be an ornithologist.   His website is amazing … you really should take a minute to check it out!

Isabella-WillowIsabella and Willow Poschman are 12-year-old twins who are out to save the endangered species of the world.  They have been involved in animal conservation ever since second grade, when they saw a film called “The Elephant in the Room.” Isabella promptly wrote letters to President Barack Obama, President Xi of China, and President Kenyatta of Kenya, urging leaders to do whatever they could to end the ivory trade. Since then, the twins have gathered signatures for an online petition version of that letter—signed by children in almost all 50 states and in more than 60 countries—and founded Kids Saving Elephants. Their organization not only educates kids and adults around the world about the plight of African elephants, but also raises funds to help fight the ivory trade. Isabella and Willow have also raised thousands of dollars by selling handmade elephant greeting cards, as well as lemonade and cookies, at the Aspen Music Festival, and throughout summers at the Aspen Saturday Market.Willow-letterSome of the twins’ most recent actions include sending letters to the Wall Street Journal and to Elle Décor magazine—one was published in Elle Décor’s September 2016 issue— beseeching editors to not feature elephant tusks and other endangered species in their spreads. Alongside a visiting conservationist from Kenya, they also recently presented to 120 of their fellow students at Aspen Middle School. Isabella and Willow now plan to hone this presentation and make it available online to schoolkids around the world. They also continue to fundraise via their elephant cards, which they plan to start selling online and at a couple of local stores.

Willow, who is currently an intern at a wildlife rehabilitation center in Silt, Colorado, as part of a sixth-grade mentorship program, plans to be a big-cat scientist when she grows up. This is according to the twins’ mom, Maureen, who adds, “Willow may become a best-selling author first, in order to help fund her wildlife conservation efforts.” Maureen says Isabella “wants to become a Broadway actress.”

Hannah-TestaAt age 12, Hannah Testa founded Hannah4Change to fight for issues that affect the planet and all of its animals. One of her most successful fundraisers—a movie night that attracted more than 300 guests and raised several thousand dollars for the nonprofit Save the Horses—led to the then-10-year-old Testa being featured on CBS News. She has since presented to thousands of children and adults (including Georgia governor Nathan Deal) on one of the biggest threats to wildlife—plastic pollution—and practical ways residents can reduce their “plastic footprint.” She has also made videos outlining the need to protect some of her other favorite animals, orcas and rhinos, and has presented at rallies and protests in the name of saving orcas. Additionally, Testa sells homemade cookies, through which she has raised $1,500 for elephant conservation.

Hannah-2Testa says her current mission is to make her native Forsyth County “the greenest county in Georgia, through education and awareness. This includes educating businesses as well as schools to become more green by using less single-use plastic products and to recycle as much as possible.” When this jack-of-all-trades conservationist grows up, she says she is interested in “working for the UN, where I can be in a position to truly make a difference in this world.”

In light of recent rolling back of environmental regulations here in the U.S., I worry about the future of this planet.  But with kids like Dessi, Isabella, Willow and Hannah, maybe … just maybe there is hope yet.  I applaud these four young people, and all the rest whom I haven’t yet discovered.

44 thoughts on “Good People Doing Good Things — Today’s Youth

          • As much as I would ove to, I don’t know how you do what you do. How many jours a day do you slave, how many sites a day do you surf, how many posts a day end up in your recycle bin unused?
            I know I don’t have the energy for all that. Maybe Miss Goose could write it for us, she sees what it is you do.

            In tune with the discoverers of the Americas, I think that honour goes to the first person to cross the Bering Isthmus howevrr long ago that was. I don’t think they were numbering years yet, lol.

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            • Ahhhh … Miss Goose is an artiste, but not a writer. I think that I shall try my hand at it after all, for tonight I feel as a soldier who has just come through a long battle, scarred and injured, but still ready to keep on fighting. Maybe I’m not a hero, but … I’m a fighter. And I try, which is more than I can say about 95% or this nation who either fall for the idiocy, join it, or turn a blind eye to it. Sigh. I shall try, and I will send it for your perusal before I post it, for I do not trust myself … I am not used to tooting my own horn and it is rusty.


  1. Pingback: Good People Doing Good Things — Today’s Youth – Timeless Wisdoms

    • Thank you, and Welcome! Yes, these kids are truly an inspiration. I do a ‘good people’ post every Wednesday morning, for the rest of my week is pretty much political, and we need sometimes to step back and be reminded that there is a lot of good in the world if we will just open our eyes and our hearts to it! Thanks again!

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  2. It is inspiring to see kids speaking up for our wild animals and natural world in general. They are a healthy antidote to the general malaise affecting most of the population. Hopefully these kids are immune to whatever disease is affecting humanity and making it uncaring, selfish and greedy for conquering with economic machinations and political deviances.

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  3. “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Dr. Jane Goodall. I loudly applaud these magnificent young people and the differences they are making. Their awareness and activity gives us hope that the coming generations will succeed, where we have so miserably failed. They remind me of the mission of Dr. Goodall’s Roots & Shoots program for youth…”To inspire each individual to take action to make the world a better place for people, other animals, and the environment.” Thank-you for sharing their stories!

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    • Ah yes … Dr. Goodall was indeed an inspiration for us all! As are these kids! I agree … hopefully they will succeed where we have failed. They and others like them are our only hope for a future. Glad you liked this one!


  4. Remarkable young people, to be sure. Another reason for the decline of the bird population (which is very obvious in our part of the world) is the use of pesticides which kill the bugs the birds need to live on! We just don’t seem to get the hang of it. These kids know better than we do! Many thanks for this always inspiring post!

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  5. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    I hope this inspiring post from Jill Dennison will kick start your day with a sense of purpose. Jill shares the stories of young people making heroic efforts to save endangered species and the environment, raising money, communicating to world leaders and the media. They are an example of the majority of teenagers who do so much good, but don’t get the headlines. Please head over to Jill’s and spread their efforts as far and wide as you can.. and please leave your comments on her blog. Thanks Sally

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