Our PTA committee at the P.S. 107 John W. Kimball Learning Center in Park Slope, Brooklyn, teaches children about the need for conservation, instills in them a love of animals and takes concrete steps to help animals far and near.
Beast Relief has raised thousands of dollars for the International Rhino Foundation through our annual Cinco de Rhino spare-change drive and created an educational video, The Secret Lives of Rhinos, which we show in our classrooms.
Through animal-themed art, video and book projects, educational assemblies and fundraising and supply drives, we have educated the school’s students about threats to iconic species, including polar bears and elephants, as well as how to help displaced local dogs and cats.
5th Grade Animal Books
Each year, we partner with a different wildlife organization, whose experts guide our fifth graders as they write, illustrate and self-publish a book about an endangered animal. The books are available on Amazon.com, and the proceeds go directly to our wildlife partners. Dr. Jane Goodall wrote the forewords to our first two books.
In 2017, all 89 fifth graders wrote and illustrated the story of a young Siberian tigress, Zolushka, who lost her mother to poaching. She was rescued by hunters, rehabilitated and successfully released back into the wilds of the Russian Far East. There, Zolushka — whose name means Cinderella — found her Prince Charming and had two cubs. The year-long project was a collaboration between Beast Relief and the Wildlife Conservation Society. All proceeds from its sale go directly to WCS for the care, rehabilitation and release back into the wild of tigers like Zolushka.
In 2016, the fifth graders wrote and illustrated the story of a young orangutan, Budi, in Borneo, Indonesia, who is rescued from rainforest destruction. The book documents Budi’s loss of his mother, his species’ fight for survival, and what children can do to help save orangutans. The year-long project was a collaboration between Beast Relief, International Animal Rescue and the Arcus Foundation. The book has been featured in National Geographic and on Huffington Post. All proceeds from its sale go directly to International Animal Rescue for the care, rehabilitation and release back into the wild of Budi and orangutans like him.
In 2015, in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society and elephant researcher Andrea Turkalo, the fifth graders wrote and illustrated the story of a young forest elephant at the Dzanga-Ndoki national park in the Central African Republic.
The book, One Special Elephant: the Story of Penelope Petunia, tells the story of elephant families at Dzanga Bai, their essential role as forest gardeners, a devastating poaching episode in 2013, and the restoration of safety in the park. Turkalo allowed the children to name the calf – hence, Penelope Petunia. This book was also featured in National Geographic (Can an Elephant Called Penelope Petunia Save Her Own Kind?). All proceeds from the book go directly to support Turkalo’s research at Dzanga Bai.
In 2014, all 85 fifth graders participated in writing, illustrating and self-publishing One Special Rhino: the Story of Andatu. The book, written from the perspective of a young Sumatran rhino at an Indonesian sanctuary, offers a kids-eye view of the poaching crisis. All proceeds from the book go to the IRF’s Sumatran rhino conservation program.
Since we published it, the book has been featured in National Geographic, Scholastic Magazine, and the National Geographic Kids 2016 Almanac.
5th grade authors!
Andatu reading the book about him!
The books have gotten press in numerous publications:
Check out Scholastic Magazine:
Chelsea Clinton even mentioned One Special Rhino on her Facebook page! And wrote a letter to the Wildlife Conservation Society about PS 107’s efforts.
Cinco de Rhino
Each year, Beast Relief and the kids of PS 107 raise thousands of dollars for the International Rhino Foundation.
Beast Relief’s 2017 Cinco-de-Rhino spare change drive raised over $1,800 for the International Rhino Foundation. Kids rounded up pounds of spare change. Parents bought raffle tickets. We could not have done it without our generous neighborhood partners. Our favorite wine store, the aptly-named Big Nose Full Body, contributed a full case of wine to our wine-oceros raffle basket! Thank you one and all.
The 2015 event included a spare change drive, bake sale and lemonade stand which raised $2375. See letter of appreciation from Susie Ellis, the Executive Director of the IRF.
In the Spring, we unveiled a video, The Secret Lives of Rhinos, made by PS 107 parents and narrated by a 4th grader, to let children know how they can help rhinos.
In April 2013, the program director of the International Rhino Foundation gave an assembly to our kindergartners, first graders and second graders, teaching them all about Sumatran rhinos.
In May, we held our annual Cinco de Rhino spare change drive and rhino raffle, to benefit the International Rhino Foundation. With matching funds, we raised $2,141.81! You can read about it here.
Beast Relief even reached Indonesia, where the keeper for baby Sumatran rhino Andatu wore our shirt.
Helpful Rhino Links
Helping Polar Bears
Polar Bear Links
Local Animals, Too!
After Hurricane Sandy, we raised $650 and gathered 12 bins of supplies for Sean Casey Animal Rescue, a no-kill shelter coping with an influx of affected animals.
Reading to Dogs
Beast Relief held its annual Reading to Dogs event this year. The P.S. 107 first graders got to practice their burgeoning reading skills on a very attentive audience: specially trained therapy dogs. Thank you to our partners Powerhouse on 8th bookstore, the Good Dog Foundation — and the dogs, who were riveted!