Kate Gilman Williams was just seven years old when she went on her first safari in South Africa. The trip allowed young Kate to see incredible wildlife in their natural habitat and learn how these savannah-dwelling animals are constantly threatened by human activity. This sparked in her the passion to protect endangered species and educate those around her about what they can do to help the cause.
“It was incredible seeing animals in their natural habitats. But you can be watching elephants and learning that every 15 minutes an elephant is killed for its tusks,” Kate told the BBC. “It just makes you want to do something to help.”
When Kate returned to her home in Austin, Texas, she asked her game driver, Michelle Campbell, to be the co-author of a book she wanted to write that would detail the memorable experiences of her safari trip, while weaving in facts about the dangers that animals have to face due to poaching activity.
To complete the book, Kate returned to Africa a total of four times. Three of these visits were for research, while on the fourth she focused on conservation experiences. On this latest visit, she “dehorned a rhino [to prevent poachers from targeting them], collared a cheetah, tracked a pangolin,” and was “learning what the experts on the ground are doing to help save our most endangered species.”
All of the proceeds of the book called Let’s Go On Safari, go to Kate’s conservation partners, the Jane Goodall Institute, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and Re:Wild. Through book sales, the young philanthropic author has raised over $15,000 for animal conservation.
“It feels so great being a young conservationist because I know you don’t have to wait until you’re an adult to make a difference. You can make a difference right now,” she declared.
While at home in Texas, Kate, who is now 11-years-old, runs a podcast called Club 15 as well as a learning lab with Microsoft that explores new technologies out there that help stop poachers. “Club 15 is a podcast where I connect kids with top conservationists, scientists, technologists, where they’re teaching us what they’re doing to help save wildlife and wild spaces, and how we can join them,” Kate explained.
Kate continues by sharing what she deems “the coolest part of Club 15,” which is the learning lab that allows kids to log on and learn computer vision. “Basically, this means they can teach their computer how to see, and this is the exact technology that’s used in camera traps and drones. The technology that’s saving the animals.”
Computer vision allows monitoring cameras and drones to recognize and capture images of poachers which they send to the rangers.
“It’s important that we keep monitoring our most important species so we can save them,” Kate adds.
Kate is living proof that age does not define the impact an individual can have on the world. Hopefully, her actions inspire others, young and old, to advocate for a better, kinder world. “Our generation has a big mess to clean up,” she said, “and we need to take action now.”
Source image: Kids Can Save Animals