A Tennessee 13-year-old runs a conservation non-profit, working to clean up the environment and inspiring others to help. When Cash Daniels was seven years old, he heard that the Tennessee river was polluted and that the river was a vital source of water for the residents in the area, so he started hosting river cleanup events. In the five years since then, the Chattanooga sixth-grader, known as the Conservation Kid, has co-founded a non-profit, started a business, written a book about conservation, and racked up several awards for his work.
This year, the Conservation Kid was awarded the Youth Conservationist of the Year award by the Tennessee Wildlife Federation for the third time and also named one of America’s top 10 youth volunteers at the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. He’s also the youngest participant in the Tennessee River Adopt A River Mile Program. Just last week, Cash celebrated hitting the milestone of collecting one ton of aluminum, which he scrapped to raise money to place fishing line collectors along the river.
When Cash isn’t out doing the hard work to clean up the environment, he’s inspiring others to follow in his footsteps by posting about his projects and wildlife encounters on Instagram. He has a goal that he and his team will pick up one-million pieces of trash by the end of the year and he hopes others will join in. “You’re never too old or young to do it,” he says. “Get out there and if someone says you can’t do it, prove ‘em wrong and get out there and do it.”