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In the minds of most children birthdays are reason for excitement as they begin to anticipate what presents they will receive. However, for two Year 4 boys Jack McGreal and Hugo Yasumoto their upcoming 10th birthday party meant their excitement was driven by more than presents as they had decided that it was an opportunity to donate to Taronga Zoo’s Marine conservation campaign.

“They decided to hold a combined birthday party where they asked guests to donate funds instead of presents,” says Mrs Margaret McGreal, mother of Jack McGreal, a student at The Scots College. They both invited all the boys from their year group and even though the party was held on a stormy weekend in Sydney, 97 boys still attended. Mrs McGreal added, “many boys who could not make it to the party still donated and a total of $5,000 was raised!”

When asked what their motivation was for this generous gesture was Jack said, “I already have enough and I wanted to help the environment, as it needs help and it was something I could do.” Jack has been working with a marine biologist in Fiji, monitoring the reef and realised that it is very fragile and added, “the reef is dying and it needs help more than I need presents.”

Hugo Yasumoto, from Cranbrook School, decided “that every year I would donate toward a charity as I know it makes a huge difference; last year I donated toward a school in Cambodia and have seen how it benefited the children.”

Such admiral motivations were highly praised and commended by Belinda Fairbrother Community Conservation Manager of the Taronga Zoo. Such a hugely generous commitment by both boys, and the money raised will be used to assist in the work we do to help clean up our oceans and protect precious marine animals.”

Photo: Head of Preparatory School, Mr John Crerar, with Jack McGreal, Hugo Yasumoto, and Taronga Zoo’s Community Conservation Manager Belinda Fairbrother

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