Avalon Theisen founded Conserve It Forward, Inc. in 2010 at age 9 because of her interest and concern for the environment and living things. Three main areas of inspiration were amphibian conservation (especially frogs!); safe drinking water for people around the world through biosand water filters; and a favorite local nature preserve that offers excellent environmental education and citizen science opportunities. Over time it became clear how these three areas of interest and influence connected the local world with the larger one, leading to what became the Mission Statement for Conserve It Forward: to promote environmental education, awareness and action that benefits both the natural world and people, inspiring youth and communities to Conserve It Forward.
Frogs are often the topic for Conserve It Forward’s programs because, as Avalon likes to share with others, they are environmental ambassadors that represent not just amphibians, but all living things and habitats on the earth. If things aren’t well in an environment, frogs are one of the first things to feel it as indicator species.
Avalon leads Conserve It Forward in offering fun, interactive environmental booths at community events at places like preserves, zoos and festivals. Visitors can learn about why frogs are important to our world and how by saving them, we are all helping to save the environment. Another booth theme is safe drinking water through biosand water filters, and the microbes that the filters remove. We have a working filter model, presented to Avalon by Friendly Water for the World (she designed their logo, by the way, and also trained with them in Washington on how to make the biosand water filters), as well as plush toy microbes with googly eyes so that visitors can get a close look and really learn why good sanitation and safe water is important. Avalon’s Conserve It Forward booths always have games and handouts to enhance the learning and fun, and visitors leave with tips of how to help make a positive difference for our world!
Avalon regularly gives presentations and she also hosts nature videos which may be found on the Conserve It Forward YouTube channel. Each year in April, she runs an annual Save the Frogs Day event south of Tampa at Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center. Though education, awareness and inspiration to act are what Conserve It Forward are about, sometimes fundraising has been important. Avalon started a microbusiness in 2010 from which 100% of the profit has benefited non-profit groups that represent her project areas.
It is important to Avalon that her organization offers several opportunities for people of all ages to get involved. No matter what your writing skills or experience, you can be a Guest Blogger for the Conserve It Forward blog. In spring 2012, Avalon and Conserve It Forward held Florida’s Largest Human Frog Chorus, a collection of human frog calls in which 327 people, 1 6 foot tall frog and 1 happy dog croaked for a video to raise awareness for amphibian conservation. People can take the Human Frog Chorus Challenge and create their own chorus. Conserve It Forward will even supply participant ribbons! Volunteers of all ages are always welcome to help at booths, presentations and events. The true heart of Conserve It Forward was best said by its young founder: “If we all do a little bit, then together we can do a BIG bit to make the world a better place! Find a project you love, act on it, share it with others...that’s how you conserve it forward!”
County: Tampa Florida, USA