Turner Burns is a busy sixth grader. I met him last week during a short break he had between the end of the school day and a concert he was performing in that night. He lives in Philadelphia and I was in the city for a couple of days while Dave attended a convention.
We met in Washington Square near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (honoring those who fought in the Revolutionary War). Turner, his mom, Jessie, and their golden retriever had enough time for a short walk through a nearby rose garden. We talked about wolves and watched as Keeper, the retriever, stopped for a long roll in a patch of clover.
Turner started a Facebook page called Kids for Wolves back when he was just seven. He was inspired to tell others about wolves after a visit to the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, New York. Two years ago when I wrote a story about Turner he had almost 2000 followers.
He has been a big supporter of Mexican gray wolves, participating in wolf pup naming contests and giving names to two pups, Keeper and Nike (m1277 born in 2012 and m1329 born in 2013). His artwork was also featured on the 2014 New Mexico Wilderness Alliance’s wolf conservation stamp. The sale of the annual stamp raises funds that are used for conservation efforts and education projects.
Turner continues to advocate for wolves, keeping his readers informed about ways to make a difference—signing petitions, making calls to government officials, spreading the word to others.
It seemed fitting that we would meet in such a historic place, the neighborhood that was home to some of our country’s earliest magazines and newspapers. Turner is making the most of our new ways of communicating. He now has almost 5000 Facebook followers.
In a recent post he wrote:
I was brushing my teeth tonight when I thought, “One post a day keeps extinction away.” If everyone who follows this page posts a petition or news, or just shares information about wolves with another person [they are] making an impact towards saving a lot of wolves . . .
Well said, Turner!