Olivia and Carter Ries are working very hard to do what they can save animals for one more generation.
The young siblings are a mere 8 ½ and 10 years old, respectively, but they know they want to help animals who are threatened or endangered.
With the help of their dad, Jim, they formed an organization called One More Generation, or OMG for short, in 2009, and achieved 501(c)(3) status from the IRS last year.
Seabirds, cheetahs, whales, turtles, even rattlesnakes are just some of the animals the Ries kids and their friends are helping to save.
They have worked very hard in their native Georgia to ask citizens to reconsider the annual “Rattlesnake Round-up,” a contest that pays a bounty for every rattlesnake brought in. Each year, thousands of snakes are killed, often in rather horrible ways.
The children have collected over 1,200 signatures on a petition to lobby for the modification of a law on the Georgia books that specifically states venomous animals will not be protected. Jim says when the children were asking for signatures, 9 out of 10 people would say “I hate snakes” or “I know someone who was bitten,” so they declined to sign.
Not to be discouraged, the kids would explain that, many times, the snake hunters pour gasoline down the burrows of the gopher tortoise to drive out the snakes who have taken over the holes. The tortoise, who may still live in the hole, then dies as well. Jim explained that the kids were then able to turn around about 75% of these same people and they signed the petition.
Even at their young ages, Carter and Olivia have taken part in some very important events including meeting with their state legislators, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Center for Biological Diversity, numerous professors and other protection organizations.
It all started very simply when Olivia and Carter decided they wanted to help save cheetahs several years ago. Now, they have expanded their sites to helping not just animals but they are also working on getting plastic grocery bags banned in their community. The issue they have with these bags is that the bags are swallowed by sea birds and sea turtles. These animals think the plastic bags are jellyfish and try to eat them. The bags then get stuck in their throats and many of the animals slowly choke to death because their digestive tracks are blocked. It is estimated 40% of the animals will die as a result.
The ban would help prevent these deaths as well as help diminish the trash. Jim says almost all plastic bags are only used one time and then thrown away.
Now the children are working to raise $475,000 to commission an environmental impact study on the plastic bags.
These kids and their dad are full-on involved in helping make a real impact on our animals and the world they live in. Check out all the great organizations and causes they are involved with on their website at www.onemoregeneration.org.]]>