11-year-old girl teams with Microsoft to continue quest that 'Kids Can Save Animals'

Two years ago, as part of our Be Kind campaign, we told you the story of an elementary school student who set out to save wild animals threatened with extinction.

Eleven-year-old Kate Gilman Williams believes "Kids Can Save Animals" and started an organization by that name, and now, she's teaming up with tech giant Microsoft to broaden her reach.

An appearance on Ryan Seacrest's radio show led to a book deal in 2019, when Gilman Williams was just 9 years old, and she later promoted "Let's Go On Safari" on "Live With Kelly and Ryan."

The young advocate warns adults, "not to underestimate kids," and now, she's embraced technology to help stop poachers in Africa who are slaughtering rhinos and elephants.

"I've been to Africa three times, and I absolutely love elephants," she said.

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She recently launched Club 15 online, in collaboration with Microsoft, in which the fifth grader interviews various experts from around the world and visits preserves where adults are working to save animals.

"I knew we had to do something with technology," she said. "Because right now, technology is the fastest and most impactful way that my generation can help save animals."

Gilman Williams said she works in concert with Microsoft's conservation initiative called Project 15, named because, as a recent company video explains, "We lose one elephant from the planet every 15 minutes."

A Microsoft IoT Solutions Architect, Sarah M. W. Maston, came up with the idea.

"Project 15 was really about building a bridge between the technical community and the scientific community," she said. "Where things we were doing in the technical community could help those types of scientific preservation, conservation projects go faster."

Maston touts the concept of "intelligent cameras," which use artificial intelligence to recognize elephants in the wild and humans who kill them for their tusks and seek rhinos for their horns.

The cameras are used on the ground and in the air aboard drones.

Gilman Williams explained that when the cameras see a poacher, they automatically send the image to rangers.

"(They) can then go out and stop the poacher before an animal gets harmed," she said.

Online and in visits to schools, Gilman Williams seeks to enlist other kids to share her passion to save animals from extinction.

"If my generation has to wait, there aren't going to be elephants in 10 years," she said. "And there's nothing left to be left to do. So it's up to my generation."

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Maston praised her advocacy and push for innovation.

"I call her a force for good," she said.

For details about how you and your children can get involved, visit KidsCanSaveAnimals.com.

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