"Bloomin' Passion, helping yours inspire kids into happy adults"

Meet Addy 10 Year Old Gorilla Conservationist

Addy holding a hand-carved walking stick from Rwanda that was given to her by Fossey Board Member Dave Singer.

"After Interviewing   Dr. William Whittow , BSc, PhD, F HEA, SMIEEE  and Mark Jaffe former CEO at Walt Disney, I met the Passion of 10 year old Addy, Founder of Gorilla Heroes and asked her if she would do an Interview with our Skunks Stoosh & Skittles, Anthropologists, Conservation Biologists, Primatologists, Wildlife Biologists, Professors and Passionate people about her Mission to Help save Gorillas! Addy said Yes ! "  Paul Cody

MEET ADDY,  Addy may just be the biggest 10 year old gorilla fan there is! She has been a fierce lover of these critically endangered animals since she read a book about them in first grade. She started raising awareness for the plight of the gorillas by making posters and holding lemonade stands and bake sales—the proceeds from which she would donate to gorilla conservation groups. In November 2017 Addy wanted to kick things up a notch. She tried to start a viral fundraising campaign similar to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, calling it the Pie-Face Challenge. The idea being that you get nominated, get pied, make a donation, then nominate others. 

The idea didn’t really catch on beyond her immediate circle of friends and family, so she moved on to her next idea...creating her own informative and entertaining gorilla website called Gorilla Heroes (https://1532232.wixsite.com/gorillahero). Her grandfather helped her create a logo, which lead into a T-shirt fundraiser. Then the pie-face idea came back into play. For every shirt bought or donation made to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, Addy got pied. She made a series of pie-face videos that you can now find on her YouTube channel (titled Gorilla Heroes)She raised quite a bit of money and caught the attention of the Board of Directors for Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund (DFGF).

Raising money was awesome, but Addy really wanted to get other kids as excited about gorillas as she is. So in June she held a Gorilla Gala! The event had gorilla-themed games, crafts, information stations, a VR gorilla experience, and amazing raffle prizes. Several companies and organizations supported Addy's event by making donations, including Gorilla Glue, Maine Beer Company, Go Ape Treetop Adventures, Eastern Motors and the Cincinnati Zoo. The Gala was a big success! There were about 75 people in attendance and $900 was raised on site. The Gala proceeds, combined with Gorilla Heroes shirt sales, Fossey fundraising page, and other direct donations brought Addy's grand total to over $3500 raised for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and Ellen Degeneres Wildlife Fund in 2018 alone. Not bad for a 10 year old!

When she's not advocating for the gorillas, Addy is getting ready to start 5th grade in the gifted and talented program at Fox Chapel Elementary School. She loves playing with her friends, spending time with her family and Irish Dancing.

Interview by,

Paul Cody, Your Host

Sarah PhillipsGarcia,  Bio Anthropologist, ecoimmunologist.

Dr. Susan Cheyne Conservation Biologist: primates, cats, mammals, rainforests, education.

Cleve Hicks studies chimpanzee behavioral diversity in DR Congo, and am an associate professor at The Faculty of Artes Liberales, University of Warsaw.

Dr. David Fernandez Wildlife biologist. Primatologist. Senior Lecturer in Conservation Science @UWEBristol

Terri Heckerman  TCRG and O’Connor Irish Dancers, North Vancouver, B.C.

Our Therapy Skunks, Stoosh & Skittles in Skunkish

Faith and Harry Rowan, Preteen Music Sensations.

Paul Cody;   How did you get started saving gorillas?

Addy;  When I was in first grade I read a book that was all about mountain gorillas. It explained that mountain gorillas were endangered with only 400 left at the time. That day I came home from school and got a big piece of cardboard and wrote: "SAVE THE MOUNTAIN GORILLAS" in big lettering. My mom took a picture of it and posted it to Facebook. I got a lot of positive comments and that inspired me to work harder and to keep going. The next thing that I did was make a lemonade stand to raise money, it was a big success. But that was three years ago and now I am even more passionate than I was before.

Paul ; How did you choose which gorilla organizations to support?

Addy; When I first started I chose Gorilla Doctors.org because it was the first organization that we found while we were looking for groups eo support. Just about 2 years after I started working to save gorillas, the Dian Fossey organization saw something my mom posted on Facebook and sent a a lot of helpful resourses to look at and learn a lot more about gorillas. That's when I started to support the Dian Fossey organization. I also helped the Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund because they are connected to the Dian Fossey organization and they were raising money to build a new research campus in Rwanda.

Paul:  Why did you decide to do a pie-face challenge?

Addy;  I decided to do the pie-face challenge because I did the A.L.S ice bucket challenge and I wanted to do something of the sorts and I loved the game Pie-Face, so I connected the two. I hoped it would become viral like the ice bucket challenge did, but it didn't take off the way I wanted it to. The idea came up again when I started selling Gorilla Heroes shirts. I'd thank people for buying a shirt or making a donation by getting pied myself and sharing the video. So it became my theme!

Paul;  What’s your favorite type of gorilla?

Addy; Like Dian Fossey, my favorite type of gorilla is the mountain gorilla because it was the first type of gorilla that I learned about and started helping.

Paul; What do you want to be when you grow up?

Addy, When I grow up I definitely want to have a job that involves studying and protecting gorillas anyway possible. I also want to have my own diner. I always has a love of cooking and baking.

Faith;  What was your yahoo! Moment when you decided I must do something to save gorillas? And why Gorillas and not another endangered species? 

Addy; My big yahoo moment was when I was seven. I was reading a book about gorillas and I read a part that was talking about how mountain gorillas are critically endangered. There were only 400 left then. Now there are a little over 1,000. I chose gorillas because I have always been fascinated with the species. They are intelligent and kind creatures that we should appreciate more. My mom also always had a soft spot for gorillas, so I think I take after her.

Harry; Do you think Zoos help or harm wildlife?  

Addy; This is a tricky one because some zoos don't care about the animals' health as much as other zoos. The zoo that I go to in D.C, helps fund endangered species like gorillas. Plus some zoos take in animals because they are injured and need rehibilitaion. But even in the best zoo an animal can still show signs of what's called zoochosis (pacing, other signs of boredom from captivity). Ideally, I wish that all animals could live in their natural habitat, but I do believe that without zoos many people wouldn't know as much about animals as they do today.  


Stoosh ; Is sad we only gots 400 left. Why is gorillas endangersed?

Addy;  On the bright side, the population of mountain gorillas is on the rise! Back when Dian Fossey started studying gorillas, there were only about 400 left. But thanks conservation efforts, their numbers are just over 1000 now! But gorillas continue to be endangered because of poachers and loss of habitat. Poachers set snares all around the gorilla's habitat. Thankfully there are teams working everyday to set of the snares before any gorilla gets hurt. Secondly, many people are destroying the forests that gorillas live in to create more space for human purposes. 

Skittles; I agrees with Stooshie, is sad. Whats can the humans do to makes it betters for the gorillas, so we can gets more?

Addy; People can raises awareness, donate to organizations like the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, and research gorillas to learn more about these amazing animals. Kids can start conservation clubs at their schools or you could even hold a Gorilla Gala like I did!

Sarah PhilipsGarcia;  Hi Addy! I am so impressed with your efforts to make a positive impact on gorillas and the world! I study chimpanzee mothers and how much energy they have to put into raising their infants. How long does it take a gorilla mom to raise her infant?

Addy: What a cool job you have! So I didn’t know the specific answer to this question myself, so I did a little research. Female mountain gorillas usually start reproducing around age 10. Just like humans, they typically carry just one or two babies at a time and give birth a little sooner than human mommies at about 8 months. A baby gorilla (called an infant, just like humans) usually stay close to their mommies for the first four years of their lives. They get around by hanging on to their mother’s backs. They usually stop drinking milk from their moms at around 3 or 3 and a half. Around that time, their mommy may be getting ready to have another infant! Depending on whether the baby is a boy or girl gorilla will determine if it stays as part of the same troop as its mommy or if it goes out and finds a new troop.

Dr.Susan Cheyne; Hi, here is my question: Hi Addy, I work mainly to protect and conserve gibbons, another ape, and other mammals, including clouded leopards, in Indonesia. I am passionate about conservation outreach and education. We (adult conservationists) often talk about educating young people like yourself about conservation. But I think we absolutely must also reach out to adults. So, my question is how do you think someone like you can help inspire and educate adults to care about conservation? Keep up the amazing work!

Addy; Adults like the facts, and they liked to be amazed. A combination of those to things is what your looking for. As an example, you could let them know as much information as they want. Then you could tell them amazing stories (like how Koko the gorilla learned sign language, and gorillas that saved lives) that will get them interested in the cause. I am better with teaching kids, but I know my way with some adults.

Cleve Hicks;  What is the best way for adults like me who have studied great apes or other beautiful megafauna to inspire the new generation of kids ... how can we reach them?

Addy; Kids love for things to be exciting and fun, and not too much like their everyday school work. When I was learning about gorillas I had learned about stories like Koko’s, and ones like Koko’s niece who had saved a child’s life. My point is, kids probably won’t get as excited about an issue like endangered species, if it is just boring facts and not really learning about the things that make animals like gorillas, or any other great ape, so special. I hope that this is helpful, and that you take my advice into consideration.

Dr. David Fernandez ; Hi Addy, it’s great to see your passion and hard work you are doing towards raising awareness about the current state of gorillas. Ensuring the long-term survival of gorillas is a two-fold enterprise. On the one hand it requires field research, engagement of communities surrounding gorilla’s habitat as well as the intervention of habitat countries’ government. On the other hand, it also requires the engagement and support of non-habitat countries’ government, particularly those of (more) developed countries. Engaging politicians about something that is thousands of miles away and does not really have any direct impact on their lives or their jobs is difficult.

What are three actions that could have a positive impact on the conservation of gorillas would you ask a politician to do and how would you convince him/her to carry them out? Thank you!!

Addy: Wow! What a great question. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Maybe one thing we could encourage politicians in the US to do would be to create an incentive to recycle old cell phones. Either there could be a penalty or fine for throwing them away or maybe there could be a reward for properly disposing of them. This would help preserve gorilla habitat because it would decrease the need for coltan mining. It would also help communities in the US because throwing electronics away in the trash is bad for pollution and watersheds.

  2. I would love to see more people buying sustainable wood products to help reduce deforestation worldwide. Maybe a politician could increase create more strict regulations on what wood products are imported into the US.

  3. Lastly, animal trafficking is a terrible crime which separates animals from their natural habitat and family. Even though laws already exist to prevent this, maybe the punishments for those caught smuggling animals into the US should be more severe.

Terry Heckmann ; Hello Addy,  I am an Irish Dance Teacher located in North Vancouver Canada. My question for you is, why do you love Irish Dancing?

Addy; Irish dancing is a great way to have fun and meet new people. I love trying new steps, and competing. I have met life long friends, and great teachers, that I know care about dancing just like me. It is very different from other types of dancing. I didn’t really even know what Irish dancing was until I saw some of them performing at my school. After that I knew that I wanted to do it, and I am so glad I did!

P.S. Thank You for reading this! If you or anyone you know would like to do an Interview with me to Inspire Kids and help Students choose their Career, please contact me! Paul Cody














































































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