Carter Roberts, President of the World Wildlife Fund took time out of his schedule to Skype with second grade Friends Academy students of Brigid Conlon and Alyson Gangi in early June. Roberts learned about the students and their work for the WWF from Sallie Barker, who had been reading to the class and leading an ongoing discussion about heroes.
After reading the book “Olivia’s Birds” based on the true story of an eleven year-old who donates her paintings to support the Audubon Society’s rescue efforts in the Gulf of Mexico following the oil spill there, second graders told Mrs. Barker about their own efforts saving animals. Seems the entire class had been working with the WWF raising funds throughout the school year to adopt a baby panda and a sloth. “They have plans to continue their efforts next year as well,” she said.
When Mrs. Barker heard the students’ story she contacted Mr. Roberts about the intrepid second graders. Roberts agreed to a Skype session and eventually recorded part of it to share with members of the World Wildlife Fund’s Board of Trustees.
“Thanks for inviting me to join you,” said Mr. Roberts, commending the students (some with faces painted to resemble animals) on their work. The students asked Mr. Roberts about his job as president of the WWF and learned about his love for birds, his life as a child in the woods behind his boyhood home, and the day-to-day responsibilities of his WWF job. His favorite place in the world is Bhutan. “The rhododendrons grow 100 feet tall and the culture venerates all living things,” he said. “It is one of the most beautiful places on earth and I hope you are able to see it some day.”
Before signing off, Roberts thanked the children for the work they are doing to help raise awareness for endangered animals. “What you are doing is incredibly important,” he said. “For the rest of your lives, the decisions you make will have a huge effect on the future. The actions you take matter.”