WASHINGTON — When 7-year-old Winter Slade decided that she didn’t want presents for her birthday, but instead wanted people to give money to a charity to help protect endangered animals, her mom couldn’t have been more proud.

“I thought it was awesome,” said Michelle Slade, who, along with Winter and her other four kids, lives in London, Ontario. “She thought that was a great idea because she had enough toys already.”

Winter got the idea from a public service announcement on television for Bring Back the Wild, a children’s conservation program that works with kids to raise money to protect wild animals and their habitats. The program, run by the Canadian nonprofit Earth Rangers, encourages kids to have birthday parties where they don’t take gifts but instead have their friends donate money to help protect their chosen “hero” animal featured on the Earth Rangers website. Kids who want to do this for their birthday get a conservation-themed “party pack.” They also get a personalized fundraising page on the Earth Rangers website, where kids and their parents can keep tabs on how much they’ve raised for their animal. Half of the proceeds go toward teaching conservation in schools, and the other half go to the Nature Conservancy, an affiliate of Earth Rangers.

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