He might be young, but Niklaus Reilly is already dedicated to improving the community for his furry and feathered friends.

By Hilary Braaksma
April 19, 2021
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Little boy picking up trash
Credit: Daniel Chetroni / Shutterstock

Niklaus Reilly is a four-year-old boy from North Kingstown, Rhode Island with big ambitions and an even bigger heart. Reilly's love for animals has inspired him to pick up trash around his neighborhood in an effort to make the outdoors safer for the wildlife in his community.

"It actually started off with me teaching him not to litter and then he kind of took it to the extreme," Reilly's mom, Amanda Nelson, told local reporters.

In an effort to get Reilly some exercise and spend time outside after a long winter indoors, Nelson told the NBC 10 news station that she's been taking him for walks often to enjoy the nice weather. On these walks, Reilly started to make the connection between litter and the danger trash can pose to animals living in their community.

"He said he wanted to pick up all of the garbage that way it helps the turtles and the birds and the frogs, so they don't get hurt and I thought that was really cute," Nelson tells reporters.

Nelson and Reilly began collecting several bags of trash while on their walks, with mom even purchasing her son a trash-grabbing tool to help make the task easier and more efficient. Nelson said the experience has been a great learning opportunity and bonding experience for the mother-and-son duo. The pair plan to continue their trash-collecting walks in the foreseeable future.

We're so proud of Niklaus for taking the initiative to help out in his community—and we're sure his mom is super proud, too. We could all learn something from this sweet kiddo's dedication to the animals around him—starting with a better understanding of how trash can harm the wildlife and animals we share our spaces with.