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Earth Extravaganza to help save the rainforests

Volunteers from last year's Earth Extravaganza gathered to celebrate another successful fundraiser. Submitted photo1 / 2
Corissa (left) and her sister Cassandra (right) both have a big heart for nature and enjoy spending their time immersed in it. Submitted photo2 / 2

KENYON — Ever since Corissa Kern was little, she dreamed of making an impact in the world. With a strong love for animals and their habitat, it was clear to her where the money should go. The next step was improving the outreach.

With the support of her sister, Cassandra Kern, she had dedicated the past three years to raising money for different rainforests around the world and the animals that call them home.

"When (Corissa) was about 8 years old, she wanted to start raising money for the rainforest and recruited me to help," Cassandra said. "We started small and collected pennies from family and friends and raised $25."

From there, the two sisters, put jars with information about their fundraiser at gas stations and local businesses, raising about $100. Over the last two years, Corissa and Cassandra have both raised $1,500 to donate to different forests around the globe.

This time, the fundraiser will be held at the Kenyon-Wanamingo High School from 1-4 p.m. on Earth Day, April 22. The event will have carnival-type games for all ages, including a coin toss, giant Kerplunk and giant Jenga.

"We also have rainforest-themed activities, including bird feeders and flower pots made out of recycled items," Cassandra said.

The games will cost one quarter each and people can receive tickets to earn prizes from playing. There also will be book and bake sales, a silent auction, and concessions.

Every penny earned goes to a different rainforest each year, with this year's funds going to Orangerie Bay.

"The money will be used to stop palm oil in Papua New Guinea," Cassandra said.

The sisters, both in college now, donate their funds through the United Kingdom-based charity Cool Earth. Those unable to attend the event can also donate to Cool Earth online at www.coolearth.org. According to organization's website, half of the world's rainforest has been destroyed in the last 40 years. Cool Earth's mission includes putting indigenous people back in control of the forests they call home. Currently, the organization states that three current rainforest projects take place in Peru, Oceania and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

"The first year, we had a couple people tell us that this would be extremely hard to pull off and that the planning takes a lot of work," Cassandra said. "My sister responded by saying, 'I know, but I still have to try.'"

The best part is, the two are confident they are making a difference, big or small. It's a wonderful feeling to be making a change, she said.

"I would really like to thank everyone in the community. We get a lot of donations for the silent auction from the small businesses in town," Cassandra said. "But I think the time that I really see everyone working together is at the actual event. I always get a calming feeling when I see everyone working and playing together at the different stations."

Kit Murray

Kit Murray joined Red Wing Republican Eagle in August 2016, covering county government, news and local events. She is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead with a degree in photojournalism. 

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