On Aug. 4, Ben McDonald, 4, and his parents of Warren, traveled all the way to Front Royal, Va., for a private visit to the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Cheetah Science Facility. Ben has always had a passion for animals — especially cheetahs.
After he and his mother, Lorie, read a story about the plight of the cheetahs, Ben decided he had to find a way to help. He and his mom talked with a New Vernon friend, Suzanne Engel, who supports SCBI and sits on its Task Force. Engel told them about the work of Dr. Adrienne Crosier, breeding cheetahs and training cheetah conservationists.
They immediately knew this was the organization they wanted to support. Ben saved his pennies and solicited change from friends and family for a year, depositing them in his home-made “Cheetah- bank.”
In total he raised $400, which his parents and Engel generously matched, resulting in a $1,200 gift to help cheetahs. Ben will turn 5 in October and is already working on his next endeavor to save great white sharks because, as he explained to his mother, “they need help too.”
For more information on the Smithsonian’s Conservation Biology Institute, visit nationalzoo.si.edu/scbi.