Bria Neff, 11, of Sioux Falls, S.D., a home-schooled fifth-grader, has raised more than $13,000 and worldwide awareness to help save endangered species by selling and displaying her paintings of over 200 vulnerable animals and landscapes. When she was 8 years old, Bria won an art contest sponsored by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and learned that there are more than 3,000 endangered species around the world. “I was so upset I told my mom I wanted to do something about it,” said Bria. She decided she would paint pictures of endangered animals, sell them, and donate the proceeds to organizations that work to ensure a future for these creatures.
Over the past three years, Bria has spent more than 500 hours painting, researching, educating, and raising awareness of endangered animals. She sells her paintings on Facebook, Instagram and on her own website, and posts information about various species and the environment on her Facebook page, “Faces of the Endangered.” In addition, she has published two educational coloring books, creates conservation cards, and gives presentations to organizations and schools. Her efforts have benefited numerous animal conservation organizations, including IFAW, the Jane Goodall Institute, The Wolf Conservation Center in New York, The Great Plains Zoo, and her local humane society. “I want all kids to know they can help save animals and the planet, too,” Bria said. “We just need to work together and believe that we can do great things.”