DETERMINED school children are in the final week of a major project to help protect the Amazon rainforest.

Year 6 children from St Mark’s Primary School in Natland are on the home stretch of an incredible 4,000 mile six-week fundraising challenge for the world’s largest tropical rainforest.

After learning about the Amazon rainforest and the threats it faces, such as the devastation of deforestation, the children felt impelled to help.

The Westmorland Gazette: PROGRESS:The Y6 fundraising board, showing progress towards 4,000 miles.

So a team of 26 children and staff embarked on a 4,000 mile challenge to run, walk and cycle the length of the Amazon river, with money raised going to the Rainforest Trust UK.

The Westmorland Gazette: RUNNING: The children taking part in a run

“In class, we have been learning all about the Amazon rainforest and the devastating effects of deforestation on the rainforest, and the wider world,” said teacher Kirsten Hardy.

“The children have taken the topic to heart and decided to do something to raise money and awareness about this important issue.”

As well as raising funds to aid the charity’s conservation efforts the eco-conscious youngsters hope to raise more awareness about wider environmental issues.

The Westmorland Gazette: ART: Displays created by the children of the Amzon

Max Sutcliffe and Nyle Goodall said: “Kids have a voice and deserve a future and decent air.”

“We wanted to show that children can do as much as adults can,” added Naomi Howell.

Jacob Doidge said: “If you help us raise money today, then you will save millions of animals and make everyone proud.”

And Isaac Turner added: “If you want to save millions of animals, then donate to our cause.”

Pupils also donned their wings and whiskers for a whole-school animal fun run day on Monday, adding another £186 to bring their fundraising total to £776- smashing their £500 target.

The Westmorland Gazette: FIERCE: Pupils from St Mark's Primary School dressed in their animal best ready for the whole school fun run and (right) the Amazon display tracking the children's progress

The idea for the fun run came from pupils Isabel Williamson, Ellie Todhunter and Amy Brooke, who said: “We wanted to make a difference and help the rainforest so that future generations can enjoy it.

“We learnt about the Amazon rainforest in class and wanted to do something about the threats and problems causing deforestation.”

Pupils are on target to complete their trek along the Amazon today, July 16 and have been spurred on by messages from MP Tim Farron and Callie Broadus, founder and executive director of Reserva Trust in Washington DC, who will receive 50 per cent of the funds raised by Rainforest Trust UK.

The Westmorland Gazette: COSTUMES: Children dressed to impress and (right) a display of Amazon art created by pupils

“We are so proud of our children who, though only ten and eleven years’ old are making a huge difference,” added Ms Kirsten.

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