Yesterday, after almost a year of planning and meetings, a flowerbed designed to raise awareness of rhino conservation in Kenya was finally planted in Cambridge.
It is hoped the piece of public art, which was planted at Coleridge Rec by young conservationist Frankie Benstead and his classmates, will highlight the plight of the endangered northern white rhinos.
A message of hope from Frankie (T2) for @rhinos_up & @OlPejeta at today's planting with @FaunaFloraInt and @camcitco (Fauna &Flora International &Cambridge City Council) poignant timing meant white rhino Sudan could be honoured at the news of his death https://t.co/8m33TFSG3n pic.twitter.com/jmTGf3iTqq
— SJCS Cambridge (@SJCS_Cambridge) March 20, 2018
The day had an unexpected significance as earlier it had been announced that the last living male northern white rhino, Sudan, had died at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya.
Despite the devastating news, Frankie and his classmates from St John’s College School braced the vernal equinox winds to plant pollinator seeds in the shape of Sudan, sending the world a powerful message that as spring follows winter so life can follow death. A poignant tribute from seven year olds who display an understanding of the plight of endangered species well beyond their years.
Speaking at the planting ceremony, Frankie said:
“We plant these seeds today in hope.
“We plant these seeds today in honour of Sudan – a rhino who was the last male standing of his species. A rhino who showed us what extinction looks like.
“He taught us not to give up.
“Today we plant seeds to show the world that we are all connected in the circle of life. We don’t want to see any other animals become extinct.”
Poignant message from Frankie of @rhinos_up and his classmates from @SJCS_Cambridge planting a #Sudan shaped wildflower bed in a #Cambridge park thanks to @camcitco @AvelingArtworks @OlPejeta Hand in hand with the children of #Kenya pic.twitter.com/45RNHMN0Vm
— Arjay A (@ArjayA) March 20, 2018
Frankie has been spearheading his own initiative, RhinosUp, to spread the message that the risk of extinction facing the northern white rhino is real. After learning that only three of the species existed, he decided to focus his attention on northern white rhinos Najin and Fatu who live at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya and the recently deceased Sudan.
His fundraising campaign has already reached an incredible £7,000 and if you would like to help this inspirational young man reach his target of £48,000 you can do so through his JustGiving page.