Hugh Harrold’s sixth birthday party was like any other children’s party – games, sweets, laughter and fun – except for one major difference. On the invitation, Hugh asked his friends to give a gold coin donation (instead of birthday gifts) to Bush Heritage.
Hugh Harrold. Photo Lisa Harrold.
Hugh’s mum Lisa has been a proud supporter of Bush Heritage since 1997. “This year it was Hugh’s turn for his very first party and so we discussed all the things we could do to celebrate his birthday. We considered that he’d receive lots of gifts from his family and that it’d be a great idea, instead of presents from his school mates, to raise money for something that might need a gift more than he does.”
And for young Hugh, that something was an endangered bird: “I want to save the Gouldian finch, because there’s not many left,” he says.
Hugh loves birds so much that his family refer to him as a “walking encyclopaedia of world birds”.
Along with the Gouldian finch, he is a big fan of the Marabou stork (“because it has really big wings”) and the Peregrine falcon (“because it’s the fastest animal on earth”).
Ask Hugh who is his favourite superhero and he’ll say David Attenborough beats Batman hands-down.
“In a society where materialism rules,” says Lisa, “we hope we can teach our kids to think about others less fortunate – in particular the ‘others’ that can’t speak for themselves.” One day, perhaps Hugh will be able to tell his grandchildren the story of how he helped the Gouldian finch survive against the odds.
The Gouldian finch is found in northern Australia in tropical savanna woodland. It occurs in the West Arnhem Plateau where Bush Heritage is working in partnership with the Wardekken people to conserve its habitat.