Noah Mihan ’19 left Princeton’s campus a year ago as something of a conservation hero.
It wasn’t just that he’d started the Princeton Conservation Society, the first student group of its kind at the University. It was the way he went about it, seeing a hole and filling it. The society is now a passionate group of 100 who go whale-watching, film wildlife documentaries, and lead a Princeton initiative with the World Wildlife Fund to purchase and conserve rainforest acres in Sumatra.
“I knew that Princeton was a place with the resources and like-minded people to make my dreams come true,” Mihan says. At times, it felt like every department on campus was invested in the society — precisely because Mihan believes every discipline has a vested interest in conservation and environmentalism.
Now he’s bringing his energy and enthusiasm for conservation to children as director of the Creature Hero Foundation, a nonprofit created by Chris and Martin Kratt. The Kratt Brothers are the minds behind PBS shows like Wild Kratts and Zoboomafoo that aim to empower children and families to save the animals they love.
“Kids especially have such a unique voice. They want to help. And especially now, when so many wild areas are disappearing, that voice matters more than ever,” Mihan says.
In many ways, it’s a dream come true for Mihan, who himself has longed to protect wild lands since he was little and watched the Kratt Brothers on television.
“My dad comes from a long line of park rangers, and every time we went to a national park as a family, I was obsessed,” he says, a smile in his voice. “They were so alive. And then whenever we’d leave a national park and see strip malls, development, and deforestation, I was always a little sad. And I’d think to myself, when I grow up, I want to turn this back into park land. I want to re-wild this land.”
The project is centered around “Creaturefuges,” wildlife reserves campaigned for and supported by young people. The first one, “Grizzly Gulch,” was created by the Kratt Brothers and their fans in 2000 to conserve grizzly bears, elk, moose, mountain lions, and other species on a 1,200-acre expanse of Montana prairie. Now, the long-term goal is to have a Creaturefuge in every major ecosystem on the planet.
“They are wildlife refuges created through kid-action,” Mihan says. From themed birthday parties to bake sales, he continues, the Kratt Brothers noticed that children often look to support wildlife in any way they can. Now with the foundation, the funds they raise will be supplemented by philanthropic partners to reach conservation goals.
The foundation is only a few months old, but Mihan can already imagine the impact it will have. “It’s a hub for kids who want to get involved in conservation at an early age,” he says, “but it’s also a place of action, and it’s a place of awareness, and it’s a place that, when I’m done with it, will have conserved hundreds of thousands of acres of wildlife habitat around the planet.”
To get involved with the Kratt Brothers Creature Hero Foundation, visit creaturehero.org or reach Mihan at firstname.lastname@example.org