National Youth Week draws to a close


As National Youth Week draws to a close I’d like to dedicate this post to all the fabulous young people around Australia who care about animals and their world.

Children love animals. They love watching them, patting them, talking to them, feeding them, almost everything about them.

From little things, big things grow - ah so true Paul Kelly, and that’s exactly why we work so hard to inspire, educate and entertain young people through our animal action education program. We believe that engaging children in the importance of animals and their world plays an important role in helping them to become compassionate, responsible adults. Ultimately if we want positive attitudes to animal welfare and conservation embedded in society we need to start with our children.

Produced by education specialists we are very proud of the IFAW Animal Action Education program. Each year we send the DVD teachers pack to hundreds of schools - from inner city Sydney to Alice Springs and even Christmas Island. Just like my colleague Lena in Russia, we love hearing back from the schools – whether it’s feedback from the teachers saying how much their children enjoyed learning about elephants or the wonderful drawings, poems and notes we receive from the children themselves.

What never ceases to amaze me is how much we can learn from children too. And we have been privileged to meet some extraordinary young animal welfare and conservation leaders. One of those, Olivia Todd, at the tender age of 10 has already helped rescue dozens of animals, raised money for animal causes and even started her own TV show to tell other young people about the importance of caring for animals and their world. We were so impressed with Olivia’s dedication and hard work that last year we awarded her the IFAW Animal Action Young Campaigner Award.

And now, not content with just having her own TV show Olivia and her brother Jake (15) are embarking on another exciting project - a feature film that marries documentary with animated family entertainment. The film will focus on the plights of several endangered species, including orangutans in Borneo, Bengal tigers, moon bears and elephants in India. And why does she want to do this?

“I really want to help animals so that no more can become extinct. They are such a valuable part of our lives and eco systems and once they are gone, that’s it, they can’t come back again.  I am hoping that through the movie, Jake and I can spread the word and let the world know how important animals are. They are so precious and valuable and together we can make a big difference!” Olivia Todd

Couldn’t have put it better myself.  There is no greater passion than that of children, clear of all cynicism, and with the pure belief that the world must and will change for the better and they are going to make it happen. And they don’t have to be a TV star or film maker, it is immensely re-energising to look at one of the drawings and think about the child that created it and what incredible potential lies ahead for that young person and the greater world.

Find out how you can join in through our Animal Action Education program and download the free education pack today.


Post a comment


Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Jan Hannah, Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project
Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project