Tegan Lather is 15 years old. Like many high school students, she’s concerned about Australia’s biodiversity and what we can do to protect our threatened species.
Perhaps the thing that sets her apart from other 15 year olds though, is her focus on doing something about it. Tegan has set herself a goal of raising $100,000 in funds for wildlife conservation and wildlife hospitals before she finishes school.
“I am determined to help our amazing wildlife. I have been very busy fundraising for wildlife for the past 3 years.”
“I am happy to report that I am so close to my goal I can nearly taste it,” Tegan said. And she’s not lying. In the last three years she has raised more than $80,000.
The St Columbans College student seems to be a dab hand at fundraising, so it’s not surprising she’s come so close to her goal. Her best fundraising was an event at Australia Zoo.
“I thought running around a zoo or park before hours would be interesting and fun,” Tegan said. “I held my first Zoo Run at Australia Zoo last year and raised over $20,000.”
On the back of that success Tegan has arranged another zoo run, this time much closer to home. The event will feature 2km and 5km runs through Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on Sunday 23 November. If Tegan fills all available spots, she’ll raise another $20,000 which will go to the Sanctuary’s Wildlie Hospital.
I asked Tegan why she was so focused on wildlife hospitals and zoos.
“I look at zoos and sanctuaries as a place where we can all learn more about our wildlife as well as fall in love with them,” she said.
“We need people to want to save the wildlife. So when you cuddle that koala and those eyes are staring into yours you do fall in love and want to help them.”
“A zoo or sanctuary is like a living museum. They do fantastic work with conservation projects and some offer wildlife hospitals. We really need these places,” she said. “I think they are very important.”
Tegan offers wise words about the biggest threat to Australian wildlife too. She says that’s an easy question. And the answer is us.
“We are the ones that allow our pets, like cats and dogs to go into the bush and let loose to hurt our native animals.”
“We also love to live in all the best places, like the beach and beautiful mountains and it seems like the wildlife do as well. I live by the beach at Bribie Island and love it. We just have to try and remember to share the good bits with everyone.”
There are 500 spaces for the run at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary with the 5km run costing $50 and the 2km run costing $40. As an added bonus the Sanctuary is also offering massive discounts on entry to friends and family of runners and runners get free entry all day as well as a bunch of other goodies. Discounts also apply for teams of ten or more.
Learn more here.