| Raffle winner and her prize © Carol Rodgers
| Rainforest Rangers © Kelly Posey
| All Rainforest Rangers assembled © Kelly Posey
Led by librarian Kelly Posey, a student group at Blanco Vista Elementary in San Marcos, Texas, took their rainforest studies to heart last December and raised funds to help Rainforest Trust in its mission to protect tropical forests.
Last year, Posey, who has been working at Blanco Vista for three years, began holding bi-weekly meetings with a group of 25 environmentally-minded students in the library to learn more about the rainforest. The club, known as the Rainforest Rangers, is open to all schoolchildren from third to fifth grade upon completion of a rainforest-related science project.
After learning about the Amazon Rainforest and the destructive forces that threaten it, students felt the need to act. “The rainforest has so many wonderful animals. They need us, and we aren’t doing such a good job protecting them,” explained Ranger, Lilyen.
After coming to a decision, Posey helped the students search for an organization to partner with. After browsing Charity Navigator she chose the two highest scoring rainforest organizations as candidates and presented their respective websites to the Rangers. The decision was put to a vote and Rainforest Trust unanimously won.
“The deciding factor was really the mission statement. Rainforest Trust had a strong statement and that pulled us toward the organization,” said Posey.
To raise money Posey bought a life-sized stuffed bear and suggested the Rangers hold a raffle. The Rangers (led by Viviana, Allan, Jasmyne, Krystal, Omar, and Iris) embraced the idea and organized a week-long contest, selling $1 raffle tickets each morning to students, teachers, and parents. They successfully raised $131.
The winning ticket was held by Abby, a 4th grader at Blanco Vista.
“The raffle was a big success and a number of new students have joined the Rainforest Rangers since it finished,” said Posey. “I was impressed with the way students connected with the need for conservation and really took it to heart.”
“The Rainforest Rangers are a great example of the way we can all make a difference to protect rainforests. They represent the next generation of environmental leaders, and it’s fantastic to see how interested and committed they already are,” said Kevin McAleese, Conservation Outreach Manager for Rainforest Trust.
“The rainforest has thousands of animals that need to live. We can’t destroy it – it’s theirs. They were there first,” said Ranger Lizbeth.
Money raised by the Rainforest Rangers will be used to buy threatened acres and protect habitat for tropical species.