Ape for Gorillas!

By Hannah Schardt; photos by Sarah Barrett

What would you do to help save an endangered species?

Would you let someone throw a pie in your face? How about a whole bunch of pies? That’s what 11-year-old Addy Barrett (above) did—all to help protect mountain gorillas.

For decades, people have destroyed the mountain gorilla’s Central African habitat and illegally hunted the big apes. Now only about 1,000 survive in the wild.

Addy read a book about mountain gorillas and knew she wanted to help them. So last year, she started a project called Gorilla Heroes. As part of an online challenge—sort of like the “ice-bucket challenge” from a few years ago—she and her family made a video of Addy getting “pied” in the face. In the video, she asked people to please donate money to a conservation group called the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

Later, she helped her grandpa design Gorilla Heroes T-shirts. Each time someone bought a shirt, she filmed herself getting another pie in the face! People watched the videos and donated even more money. Eventually, Addy was “pied” more than 100 times!

This year, Addy hosted her second Gorilla Gala fundraiser—a party where people play games, make crafts, and learn about mountain gorillas. Altogether, Addy has raised more than $7,000 for groups that help protect gorillas. Addy hopes other kids will realize that they, too, can help gorillas. “The most important thing kids can do is tell other people about the importance of protecting these gentle giants,” says Addy. “No one is too young to make a difference.”

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