Royal Oak, Michigan boy raises $400 for Gulf wildlife

Conservation & Preservation

Published: Sunday, June 20, 2010

Japhet School matching student's collection for oil recovery.

Everyone at Japhet School in Madison Heights knows that 9-year-old Grant Partridge loves animals.

The Royal Oak boy became a vegetarian when he was 4. For a third-grade social studies project, he dressed as wildlife artist and conservationist John James Audubon. And, his bedroom is decorated like a rain forest.

"He has charged people 50 cents to enter, then donated the money to support wildlife causes. He is a special kid with a unique passion for animals," said Betsy Stecker, Japhet communications director.

The school took note again when Grant started a collection for the National Audubon Society's efforts to help birds suffering from the largest oil spill in U.S. history and to protect threatened wildlife.



After listening to President Barak Obama's speech last week, Grant got his art supplies and made a poster of a bird saying "Help me" with an announcement that he was collecting money for the Audubon Society. On Wednesday, he stood outside his house with the sign and collected $200 from passersby.

"The idea just came to me. The speech made me want to do it," Grant said of Obama's pledge do everything in the federal government's power to protect natural resources, compensate people harmed and rebuild what has been damaged.

Grant wanted to be one of the hands on deck. His donation drive lasted from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. He passed on a family outing to see the latest Karate Kid movie to support the nonprofit group.

"People kept coming to donate and he told me, 'We can go later. This is important,'" said his father, Ty Partridge.

Society volunteers are making nets and cages to rescue wildlife, relocating oil-coated and injured birds, and identifying nesting areas to guide response efforts. The images are hard for Grant to see.

"It makes me sad. I'm worried about everything," he said. "One day on a hot day, I'll sell lemonade. Maybe I'll get a lot more money to help."

Grant's efforts last week still are paying off for the vulnerable wildlife and habitats of the Gulf region. Japhet School's board of trustees issued a declaration that it will match his collection for an overall $400 donation to the National Audubon Society.

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