South Bay 7-year-old girl creates interactive calendars to raise money for Monterey Bay Aquarium

LOS ALTOS, Calif. (KGO) -- A 7-year-old girl in the South Bay heard the Monterey Bay Aquarium was in need of donations and decided to launch a fundraising campaign by creating fun interactive calendars for children.

"It makes me feel like, we needed to help them and find someway to do that," said Ava MacDonald, creator of Otterly Rainbows. Ava was introduced to sea otters by her first-grade teacher who shared the love for the marine mammal with her class.

"I love otters so much because they're adorable and I think they are so playful," said Ava. "Monterey Bay has this little otter hole and I love to play peek-a-boo with them."

Ava has frequently visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium since the age of two and during the coronavirus lockdown she has become a devoted watcher of the Aquarium's live sea otter cam.
While she was watching the live cam, Ava noticed a donate button to support the aquarium's animal care and maintenance.

"Ava became an otterly lover of sea otters. She just started to read and noticed the little button that said donate now, said Amber MacDonald, Ava's mother. "I read the paragraph to her that the Monterey Bay Aquarium has been closed for so many months and we don't know when it is going to open again. Yet, all the animals still needed care until they can get back open."

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Ava started to brainstorm creative ways to raise money to help the Monterey Bay Aquarium especially the Sea Otter Program. But this isn't the first time Ava has started a fundraiser to help others. At family gatherings, she would set up a lemonade stand to raise money for the local zoo's flamingo exhibit and a special book bench for her first-grade classroom.

"Since we have been home, she has been entertaining herself by making her own crafts or coming up with her own science activities, said Ava's mom. "She went through a lot of business ideas. We were brainstorming and trying to think of things she really loves to do that other kids could also do."

Ava decided to combine her love of celebrating national holidays, creating crafts, STEM activities, sea otters and rainbows into a calendar called Otterly Rainbows.

"We came up with ideas based around holidays, there are four to five craft activities and another two being science activities," said Ava's mom. "We thought it was such a good way to be able to (keep) kids busy during this and also to give back to a program that really needs help right now."
A purchase of the calendar includes online access to how-to videos, instructions and supply lists for each activity.

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"All our proceeds are going to Monterey Bay Aquarium," said Ava. "The Sea Otter Rescue is really struggling right now. They need money to pay their staff to help all the sea otters and other animals and that's why we are donating all the money to Monterey Bay. I hope people buy my calendar so we can help save all the sea otters."

For more information, visit the Otterly Rainbows website.

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