Little warrior’s crafty new way to help wildlife
HE may be small, but Owen Harris’s mammoth efforts to raise money for wildlife conservation are nothing but mighty.
The five-year-old Yeppoon boy, who was last year named Australia Zoo’s Visionary Wildlife Warrior, has taken a hand to arts and crafts to help his cause.
With mum Bluey and dad Paul’s help, Owen has been hard at work creating a range of merchandise to sell – with 100 per cent of the profits to be donated to the zoo’s Wildlife Hospital.
“We’ve had quite a few people help us. We make turtle bracelets and key rings, that was what we started with. Now we’re making shirts and hats,” said Mrs Harris.
While the Sacred Heart Primary School student hoped to raise “a million and ten thousand dollars,” mum was able to negotiate and instead settled on a $5000 goal.
“If you combine last year’s [fundraising] efforts with this year’s efforts, we’ve already raised over $10,000.”
Fortunately, it seems Owen is not the only one who shares a passion for conservation, as many local businesses are now selling his merchandise.
“Intersport in Yeppoon had reached out to us; they’re now selling the bracelets and keyrings there. Toyworld in Rockhampton are really helping us as well.”
A Yeppoon newsagency and KNL Snack Shack have also joined the mission, displaying donation tins on site.
“Everyone’s really starting to come on board and really wanting to help. I think they see a little kid wanting to make a difference and so passionate, they just really want to support him,” said Mrs Harris.
While Owen’s focus for now remains firmly on fundraising, he hopes to one day work alongside the Irwin family at Australia Zoo, and even join Robert Irwin on a croc hunting expedition.
“I just love him so much, he’s my favourite friend. I love his passion and that he loves to help wildlife because animals can’t protect themselves, so we need to protect them.”
“I’d really love to work with Rhinos, cheetahs and also the cuddly lemurs,” he said.
To date, Owen’s impressive efforts have so far raised just under $3000 of the $5000 goal.
He hopes customers will see his merchandise in-store and remember the importance of saving wildlife.
To donate, visit Owen’s Wildlife Adventures Facebook and follow the links to his Everyday Hero page.