From Issue 4
Cash Daniels (aka The Conservation Kid) is a 12-year-old conservationist based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Finding a passion for wildlife when he was only three, in 2021 he co-founded a club called the Cleanup Kids with his best friend, Ella Grace. Together, they are on a mission to remove trash from the ocean and rivers across the country. “We want to inspire kids all around the world to just start simple and make a difference for the planet in their own way,” he says.
Cash is encouraging other “cleanup kids” to pick up one million pounds across the globe before the end of 2022, a goal they’re on track to meet, with people signing up on the website and logging their cleanups. He also recently made it into the top five of Time Magazine’s Kid of the Year awards, now acting as a Time for Kids reporter, won Tennessee Wildlife Federation Youth Conservationist of the Year three times, and has already published a book “One Small Piece,” sharing his own conservation journey.
You’re encouraging kids to collectively pick up one million pounds across the globe before the end of 2022. How’s that goal going? How are you keeping track?
We are over halfway there, close to 600,000 pieces as of now. People can sign up on our website and when they become a cleanup kid they can log their cleanup(s). We ask what brands were found, how many pieces, and where.
After that goal, what’s the next one you’ll be working towards?
I do a lot of work with removing fishing lines from our waterways and have 40 monofilament recycling receptacles placed in 7 state parks now so my next personal goal is to work with national parks. Ella and I are also working on pollinator gardens as well as recycling efforts, primarily focused on aluminum.
What are your favorite ocean animals?
My absolute favorite is the Whale Shark but I love all sharks. I also love sea turtles, with the Leatherback being my favorite.
How do you live in harmony with nature every day?
I just love being outside in nature and enjoying our world. We need more kids to fall in love with plants, animals, and water. These are things we cannot live without. Every breath we take is from the ocean and partly from land. Our planet needs to be taken care of or it can’t take care of us.
How would you encourage future youth activists to get started?
I always encourage kids to start small because if we start a ripple of change it can turn into a tidal wave. Kids can change the world, don’t be afraid to prove some people wrong along the way if they don’t think your voice matters.