Hanee and myself spent the morning at Harris Elementary chatting with kids about the wonders of the rainforest. We are proud to say that over the past three years Rainforest Partnership has teamed with the Andy Roddick Foundation to share how important rainforests are with the youngest members of our communities here in Austin.

The Andy Roddick Foundation provides fantastic after-school and summer programs for kids, immersing them in a variety of activities while providing a stellar education. Over the next few weeks they will be learning about different regions of the world, and this week the focus is on South America. These kids were incredibly enthusiastic to talk about the massive variety of animals that are found in the rainforests; standout favorites are sloths, toucans, and jaguars. Many were intrigued with the photos of the kids in communities we work with in Ecuador and Peru. It can help put another culture into perspective when you can identify with them, when a kid sees someone their age playing in the rainforest it fosters a sense of their shared place in the global community.

These kids were very quick to catch on to how important the rainforest is for the sake of the many animal and plant species that call the rainforest their home. They were also quite enthusiastic to know how they could help protect these rainforests by being conscious of where their food came from and recycling. It’s refreshing to see younger generations become exposed to the importance of the collective responsibility we share in caring for our environment. It serves a great reminder that protecting our rainforests is not a partisan or ideological issue, these kids in kindergarten get it. Everyone benefits from saving the rainforest, there are no losers.