Carter And Olivia – OMG – One More Generation
Carter and Olivia – OMG – One More Generation.
Carter and Olivia – OMG – One More Generation. Jim Ries of Fayetteville, Georgia – USA – has two incredible kids named Carter (11.5) and Olivia (10) who are passionate about animals. In 2009 they started to adopt endangered cheetahs in South Africa because they understood the concept of “extinct”.
Their Non Profit – OMG – One More Generation – started in 2009 – wants endangered species to be a around for generations to come. They love cheetahs – are passionate about the environment and are huge supporters of endangered rhinos. They helped to donate supplies during the massive Gulf Oil Spill and are big advocates of lessening the impact of plastic on the environment. They have recently added Green Well to their foundation – growing organic produce.
These kids are on a mission – so when they heard about The Dallas Safari Club auctioning off a permit to kill an endangered black rhino – they were more than a little concerned. As we now know Corey Knowlton paid $350,000 for the right to slaughter this animal.
Olivia sat down and wrote this letter to Corey Knowlton:
What kids are doing on behalf of animals all around the world is absolutely amazing. Carter and Olivia are an incredible example of what can be accomplished by smart, young people who care. In their next post – they will share with us the outcome of Olivia’s letter to Corey Knowlton!
In the meantime here is the back story of OMG – shared by their Dad – Jim.
Carter and Olivia started One More Generation (OMG) back in 2009 in an effort to help raise awareness about what is happening to so many endangered species. Their first international campaign was designed to help our Cheetah Rescue Center in SA which they were adopting animals from. The two spent several months collecting donations and teaching communities about the need to save Cheetahs. Then in early 2012, the two traveled to SA and hand delivered all the money they raised and presented it to the founder of the Cheetah Rescue Center. It was there that they learned about the issue rhinos were facing from poachers.
The two returned back to Atlanta GA and vowed to help rhinos so they partnered with a few SA NGO’s and launched their Rhino Letter Writing Campaign. The goal of the campaign was to create a community rhino presentation which they could share with the youth of the world. They then ask students from around the world to send them letters addressed to SA president Jacob Zuma, asking him to get serious about saving rhinos before it is too late. Olivia and Carter were hoping to collect about 1000 letter and then to travel back to SA to hand deliver the letters to the SA government.
After just over a year, the campaign was so successful that we collected over 10,000 letters from all over the world, so this past Oct/Nov the two traveled back to SA and hand delivered the letters to the Minister of Environmental Affairs during a meeting in Johannesburg with all the major stakeholders responsible with trying to save the rhinos.
During their three week trip to SA, they made presentations to about a dozen schools and met with officials from some of the many organizations working hard to try and save rhinos. Olivia and Carter were accompanied by a film crew from Los Angeles CA who is the group making the documentary. Most of the footage in the documentary teaser is from their trip in SA.
Upon their return to the US, the kids heard about the Dallas Safari Club’s plans to auction off the permit to kill the black rhino. Perplexed by the thought of someone being allowed to shoot and kill a critically endangered species, they decided to travel to Dallas in an effort to try and meet with the president of the Safari Hunting Club (Ben Carter). They called Mr. Carter’s office prior to leaving Atlanta and even sent him an email requesting a meeting but he never responded.
Word got out that we were traveling to Dallas and we were put in touch with the lady coordinating the local protest outside the convention center. We headed out on a Friday and upon arrival, were asked to do several local news interviews about why we were there.
That Saturday morning the kids had a Skype call with the CEO (Will Travis) of the international conservation group Born Free. During their interview with Mr. Travis, the kids asked him his thoughts on the issue of a permit being issued and he agreed that the decision was preposterous. We are editing (shortening) that footage of the Skype call as we speak and will be launching that as well.
Later that day, Olivia and Carter went to the entrance of the convention center and handed out flyers they made up trying to educate visitors on the fact that rhinos are consider to be critically endangered. The kids were quick to let everyone know that we were not there protesting their right to hunt, we were there to get everyone to realize that as a society, we need to understand that we can no longer apply old animal conservation methods when dealing with a species on the brink of extinction. We further argued that if the animal in question was truly a threat to the lives of other rhinos, then the money being spent for the auction, should be used to relocate the animal for the sake of preserving the species so that at least a few more generations could enjoy seeing the animal in the wild.
Obviously, our position was not popular with the trophy hunting community which the kids were not surprised by. While talking to attendees outside the center, one group of young hunters in their pick up truck drove by and yelled “Kill all the rhinos” … this sincerely upset Olivia who broke down and cried. She could not understand how anyone could make such a statement when the only reason we were there was to save the species from extinction. After a good cry, Olivia sorted herself out and worked even harder to try and talk sense to the folks visiting the convention.
Later we walked over to where the scheduled protest was assembling and joined the folks in a peaceful protest. We had lots of media come out to see what all the fuss was and many folks that drove by actually honked in support of our efforts. Then as the protesters had started to dwindle, Olivia and Carter headed to the convention center in the hope they could meet up with Ben Carter. We were accompanied the whole time by the same film crew who was with us in SA. As we arrived at the ticket counter to enter the convention hall, we were stopped by security who wanted to know who gave us permission to film. The producer politely asked to speak to the President of the club to get his approval to film. The security folks dispatched looking for Mr. Carter.
When Ben Carter arrived, he started speaking with our producer. Carter and Olivia noticed him and immediately approached him asking him if he would agree to talk to them. The moment he saw the kids and the rest of our crew, he immediately headed for the convention hall and hid behind a curtain while instructing security to remove us from the area.
Our way into the hall was blocked by about 6 security folks who advised us that if we crossed the threshold of the hall, they would forcefully remove us. After several minutes of trying to explain why were there it became apparent that we would not be allowed access. We walked a few feet away from the entrance to the hall and Olivia and Carter again began talking to folks exiting the convention hall and asking them how they felt that the club was supporting the killing of a critically endangered animal. As could be expected, we did not find too many folks who cared to discuss the issue with us as they all assumed we were there because we didn’t like hunters.
Towards the end of the evening, the kids approached a gentleman who was seated outside the hall and asked him for his opinion. He immediately told them he was not going to get into any kind of discussion with two little kids. I then offered myself as a person to whom he could state his position. After several minutes of listening to him about how clueless we were on the issue, I finally got to ask him how low do the numbers have to be before he would agree with us that we can no longer afford to kill even one more rhino.
This is when the man became agitated and he began calling us names and claiming we were just hiding our anti hunting views behind a couple of kids etc. As the conversation became louder and the gentleman stood up yelling his dissatisfaction with our presence, we were approached by two police officers who quickly stepped in and separated us.
It was at this point we were told to leave the building or they would arrest us. When we asked what we had done wrong, the police officer stated that it was not a matter of doing anything wrong, it was because he had received too many complaints from attendees who just did not want us there. At this point we were escorted to the exit.
That Sunday morning we caught an early flight back home. Upon arrival, we had received a message via Fb stating the identity of the person who supposedly won the bid. I showed Olivia and Carter the information and we visited his FB page. Olivia was deeply troubled by his page and all the images of him proudly standing over all the dead animals he had killed for fun. I asked her how that made her feel and she said that she could not understand why he paid $350,000.00 for the right to kill a rhino. She then asked if she could write a letter to him (Olivia’s letter is posted above).
After she wrote the letter, we posted the letter on our FB page and on Mr. Knowlton’s page in the hopes he would respond. What we did not anticipate was the FB storm that would ensue. Within minutes, people were responding and sharing our letter to their friends and Mr. Knowlton was immediately starting to get inundated with hate messages from people who apparently agreed with our position. That was never our intent, nor do we as an organization nor as a family condone such actions.
After about six hours of Olivia’s letter being on FB, we received a call on my cell phone from Mr. Knowlton asking us why we posted the letter. I explained to him that Olivia was sincere with wanting to Skype with him and that we were not making this an anti hunting issue, this was purely about trying to say that the species numbers are so low, we can not afford to kill even one more. Once he was satisfied that we were not trying to direct harm his way, he said he would agree to Skyping with the kids but that it would take a few days because now he was dealing with death threats etc. and was getting security to accompany he and his family everywhere.
It took a week for the Skype session to finally happen and our film crew from CA flew into Dallas to film the conversation live at his home, while they sent a film crew to our house to also capture the Skype call live on our end. The footage of the call is being edited for release on our social media outlets and will also be used in the documentary.
Bottom Line is that after speaking for about 40-minutes, it was apparent we were not going to have any success convincing him to reconsider his choice to kill the rhino. Mr. Knowlton became agitated after his attempts to spin answers to the questions the kids were asking were not working on the kids. Olivia and Carter were also getting frustrated with Mr. Knowlton, especially after they asked on particular questions. Olivia asked him if he would change his mind and spare the rhino is one of his own daughters were to ask him to do so. He answered by saying “kids have no business making such decisions, that was something they should leave to adults that understand the issue”. That obviously frustrated Olivia and after the call ended she said “I honestly feel sorry for his daughters”.
One More Generation™
P.O. Box 143627
Fayetteville GA 30214
Founded by Carter and Olivia Ries 2009
Add us as a Friend on Face-Book here: http://bit.ly/dpXUs1
Follow us on Twitter:@1moregeneration
Find us on Skype at ‘omg-kids’
Our Mission Statement:
We are a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of endangered species and our environment. Our goal is to ensure all endangered species survive at least One More Generation … and beyond.