Earth Action Network Fundraiser

Emma Pekkarinen, School News Writer

This year, Earth Action Network’s (EAN’s) goal is to adopt an animal at Willowbrook Wildlife Center. In order to raise money to do so, the club is hosting a school-wide fundraiser separated by grade level. Each grade has an animal that they are specifically raising money to adopt. For Freshmen, it’s Kitty the bobcat. For Sophomores, it’s Woodford Charles III the woodchuck. Juniors have Turkey the turkey vulture, and Seniors have Andre the great horned owl. To publicize this fundraiser, EAN placed four large jars in the library with details about each animal.


Isha Shah, sophomore and member of Earth Action Network, shared, “Our goal for the fundraiser was to raise enough money to “adopt” at least one of the animals, if not more. Mrs. Antonelli has generously agreed to triple the amount of the winning class, so I am excited to see how much money we have raised for the animals!” Inspiration for the fundraiser came from Glen Crest Middle School, which adopted Spartacus, a red fox, a few years ago. According to Willowbrook Wildlife Center’s website, by adopting an animal, “Your contribution will help provide food, medical care and enrichment for the center’s patients and full-time residents.” This fundraiser helps an organization that, “provides medical treatment and rehabilitation for more than 9,000 native and migrant animals each year.” 


Kitty the bobcat, the animal assigned to the Freshman, is a resident of Willowbrook due to sustained injuries from being hit by a car. Due to the tauma, Kitty was diagnosed as unable to return to the wild and currently cannot be released. Bobcats are native to Illinois and were listed as a threatened species until 1999 after protection efforts that started in 1972.

The Sophomores are assigned Woodford Charles III, a woodchuck (also known as a groundhog) raised by humans. Due to this domesticity, Charles III could not be released back into the wild and now resides at Willowbrook. Woodchucks are native to Illinois. Though “wood” is in their name- and the rhyme about them- woodchucks do not chuck wood. Instead, they chuck dirt as they dig their burrows. 

Turkey, the turkey vulture assigned to the Juniors, fractured their humerus and came to Willowbrook in 2017. Turkey vultures are native to Illinois as well and can be found throughout most of Illinois between February to November. 

The Seniors have Andre the great horned owl. Great horned owls are native to Illinois as they are a primary predator for the area. Andre was taken to Willowbrook after being found along the expressway apparently hit by a car. He had suffered head injuries and gone blind in one eye.

Though it is a competition between grades, no clear winner has been announced yet. Through this fundraiser, Earth Action Network is supporting our local wildlife with their fundraising efforts while also providing knowledge about these animals, similar to how Willowbrook provides both help to wildlife and education to residents of the area.


Earth Action Network has had a few more items on their agenda this year along with the fundraiser. According to Shah, “So far we have set up bird feeders outside the library and are also working on this fundraiser. The club is planning to do another fundraiser the week after Earth Day to sell reusable water bottles, straws, and other environmentally friendly goodies! In addition, we are planning to work with the Principal’s Advisory Board next year to make some sustainable changes related to the school.” 

When asked what students can do outside of the club and fundraiser to practice sustainability, Shah answered: “Small actions can have a big impact! Recycling, drinking from reusable water bottles/straws, donating unused items, and walking or biking more are great ways to reduce carbon emissions and integrate sustainability into your own life!”

Students that wish to donate to the fundraiser may do so in the jar that corresponds to their grade in the LRC. To be involved in the club, contact Ms. Antonelli (club sponsor) at [email protected].