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12-Yr-Old Conservationist to Speak at Brooker Creek

Avalon Theisen is no stranger to educating the masses, and on Saturday, she''ll make a highly anticipated stop in East Lake.

Set to take the stage at Brooker Creek Preserve this Saturday is sixth-grader Avalon Theisen. She is scheduled to speak about conservation and the crucial role frogs play in the environment.

When Avalon was just 8 years old, she discovered a passion for mother nature.

Her parents, Deborah and Keith Theisen, said that they weren't too surprised by the idea. After all, the Theisens have a long history of volunteering.

"Whether it was a nursing home, food drive or the SPCA, we've always been into volunteering," Deborah said. "It's just kind of a part of our family life."

Deborah was, however, impressed with Avalon's passion for the project. But Deborah said she can't complain about Avalon's first love.

"I think it's a really healthy interest," Deborah explained. 

With some help from her parents, Avalon started Conserve If Forward in 2010. 
The organization's mission is to educate the public and inspire action through a variety of mediums, from speeches to hikes.

Deborah told Avalon that if she stuck with the effort for two years, they would apply for a non-profit license.

Sure enough, in 2012, Conserve It Forward became an approved 501(c)(3) organization and expanded with board members and officers. 

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According to Avalon, the motivation behind her efforts and adventures is simple.

"I pretty much like animals and the environment in general," Avalon said. 
She has a number of pets of her own, including two frogs, two snakes and a variety of plants.

Avalon is home-schooled, but began started taking herpetology classes when she was in third grade, which is what originally sparked her interest in the subject.

She regularly travels the world to learn more about conservation and often gives presentations on frogs and their role in the environment.

Still a dedicated herpetology student, the now-12-year-old conservationist is starting to look for other ways to incorporate what she passions.

Conserve It Forward is branching out and offering a new effort, Care Cans.
After experiencing loved ones with illnesses, Avalon said that she wanted to find a way to bring nature to hospital patients. 

"It's for people who have been sick or injured for a long time and aren't able to get outside," Avalon explained. "Basically, it brings the outdoors to them."

Through drawings and flash cards, Avalon hopes to bring smiles and awareness through the distribution of Care Cans.  

The future is bright, if Avalon has anything to say about it. She plans on continuing her strides with Conserve It Forward, but Avalon's lifelong dream is to become an explorer.

"I want to work for National Geographic and have millions of 'likes' on my Conserve It Forward Facebook page," Avalon said.

In addition to her upcoming presentation at Brooker Creek, Avalon will lead a frog hike where folks can learn to identify different species of frogs through sound and sight.

Stay up to date with Avalon and the Conserve It Forward foundation with FacebookTwitter and YouTube.

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