Inspiring Youth Project of the Month: Running for Rhinos

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Though Earth Day has passed, May is a very special month to honor and protect all the incredible biodiversity we share this wonderful world with! With Endangered Species Day on May 20, International Day of Biodiversity on May 22 (plus World Otter Day on the 27th, and Leopard Day earlier this month) we wanted to highlight a project that focuses on protecting a very special endangered species, while getting out for some fresh air and exercise—it’s 🔗 Run for the Rhinos, out of Atlanta, Georgia! 

This Roots & Shoots project began when group members were Step 1: Inspired by these majestic, unique, and essential animals. There are five species of rhino including two species across Africa, and three in Asia, though many are endangered. Their interest in rhinos led them to research why they were endangered, and they learned that a major reason was because of their horns, which are often taken for the illegal wildlife trade in animal parts. When they shared these findings with friends and family, they Step 2: Observed that many people in their community didn’t know this, and that they didn’t know very much about this endangered species in general.  

They realized there was an easy way they could spread the word, help encourage people to take action to protect rhinos, and organize a fun event for their community—a mile-long fun-run fundraiser! They quickly Step 3: Took Action, looking for organizations that were providing on-the-ground support for these animals and working with the people who protect them, including wild veterinarians and park rangers. These young changemakers have even created a fun design for t-shirts they will sell at the fun-run, along with baked goods to tempt runners and their supporters! 

Protecting endangered species is difficult work, and bringing awareness to their endangered status can be upsetting. By organizing their advocacy around a fun event, this group moved the focus away from sadness and apathy, and towards hopeful action going forward. Plus, if enough people participate, one fun-run could become an annual tradition based in community action—what better way to bring everyone together than through a common goal? We can’t wait to see how they Step 4: Celebrate their success! 

INSPIRED TO START YOUR OWN PROJECT? WE GOT YOU. 

Once you’ve signed up as a member and come up with a project, be sure to register it on our website for a chance to be featured in a future project of the month! Not a Roots & Shoots member yet? You’re only a few clicks away! 

Not sure how to start a project? Use our 🔗 4-Step Formula to find ways to make an impact in YOUR community! Remember to invite your friends to help out, because even when we take small actions, they’re multiplied by collaboration. You can even create a Roots & Shoots group at your school, or join one already in your area! 

Looking for a simple way to help out? Here are some 1-click actions you can take to help endangered species! 

🔗 ForeverWild: Learn how to support positive wildlife content and protect species like rhinos from the illegal wildlife trade!  

🔗 Captive Animal Checklist: Next time you visit a zoo or wildlife park, use this checklist to make sure that where you’re visiting is humane and doesn’t exploit its residents.  

About Author

Kira is a Communications & Policy Assistant at the Jane Goodall Institute, where she supports the team in advancing public engagement with JGI's holistic programs. Kira graduated from Smith College in 2021, majoring in anthropology and minoring in art history, and during her time there she developed a deep interest in the field of anthrozoology. Her interests within this field are broad, and have led her to study elephant iconography in the U.S. and wildlife management in Tanzania. JGI's values and mission as well as the mindset of anthrozoology guide her work, exploring the interactions between humans and other animals in order to promote a healthier coexistence on this shared planet.