Paloma Russ Recognized as 2017 Young Eco-Hero for Cheetah Conservation Fund Project

  • by CCF Staff October 16, 2017


Cheetah Conservation Fund
P.O. Box 2496
Alexandria VA.
Cheetah Conservation Fund

Paloma Russ Recognized as 2017 Young Eco-Hero for Cheetah Conservation Fund Project

Washington, D.C. (Oct. 16, 2017) — Paloma Russ, a 10-year-old student at San Geronimo Valley Elementary School from Woodacre, California, was honored by Action for Nature (AFN) as a 2017 Young Eco-Hero for her work supporting Cheetah Conservation Fund’s (CCF) programs to save the wild cheetah. The annual award recognizes eco-conscious youth aged 8 to 16 for their creative initiatives aimed at tackling the world’s critical environmental challenges. Paloma received an Honorable Mention in the category for 8 to 12-year-olds for her CCF fundraising event in October 2016 that resulted in more than $7,000 in donations.

Paloma Russ is not a newcomer to cheetah conservation. She has been working with CCF to help save Africa’s most endangered big cat for many years. In the past she has raised money with lemonade stands and bake sales, and she currently makes and sells greeting cards featuring her original artwork and donates the proceeds to CCF. Paloma has given presentations to her school and the local 4-H program in Marin County, California, and has volunteered with CCF at events such as Earth Day at the Oakland Zoo and the Wildlife Conservation Network Expo in San Francisco.

According to Paloma, she became inspired to get involved in the fight to save the cheetah when she was just three-years-old. This early desire morphed into action after she met Dr. Laurie Marker, CCF’s Founder and Executive Director, at Safari West in Santa Rosa, California.

“When I was three, I saw a movie about African cats and I thought cheetahs were really cool. It said the population was dropping below 10,000 and that made me upset. I decided I wanted to help keep cheetahs around, because they are in trouble, and because I wanted to see one in person,” said Paloma. “At my event last October, my dream came true! We had Themba, an ambassador cheetah from The Wild Cat Education & Conservation Fund in Occidental, California, make an appearance to help people understand more about the species. This was my favorite part of the event. It was awesome to see how interested people are in the cheetah!”

“We are thrilled when amazing young people like Paloma step forward and take on a very mature responsibility like fundraising. Not only are her actions inspiring, they give us hope that the work of CCF will be sustainable over future generations,” said Dr. Marker. “Paloma is a hero for the cheetah.”

Since 2003, AFN has recognized more than 150 young people from over 20 countries and 25 U.S. states. Awarded annually, recipients of the International Young Eco-Hero Award are selected by a panel of independent judges, including experts in environmental science, biology and education.

“It makes me so happy to know I’m inspiring other kids to take action and help save endangered animals and take care of the environment,” added Paloma.

AFN is an international non-profit organization based in San Francisco, California, that encourages young people to nurture a love and respect for Earth’s natural resources and to take personal action to better their environments. Paloma received her award at a ceremony held at Google corporate headquarters in Mountain View on September 16, 2017.


About Cheetah Conservation Fund
Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is the world’s leading organization dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild. CCF’s conservation programming is rooted in scientific research. CCF maintains a research program on the biology, ecology and genetics of cheetahs that publishes papers in peer-reviewed journals annually, and currently operates the only fully-equipped genetics lab at an in-situ conservation facility in Africa.

Using this research as an underpinning, CCF has created a set of integrated programs that together address the threats both to the cheetah and its entire ecosystem, including human populations. CCF operates from the principal that only by securing the future of the communities that live alongside the cheetah can you secure a future for the species. For more information, please visit

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Susan Yannetti CCF External Relations Manager 202-716-7756

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