The legacy of an inspirational young boy has reached the top end of Australia, after his remarkable mission inspired a Darwin teenager to organise a mass clean up in honour of his story.
Popular Cockatoo boy Harper Wilson was just 10-years-old when he died in a freak accident alongside his father Matt as they drove through the Dandenong Ranges in July last year.
Harper achieved more than most in his short life and has left a legacy as an environmental warrior.
In the lead up to his 12th birthday, his mother Jacinda Erich, launched Harper’s Army, a project aimed at preserving the environment.
For Darwin teenager Leila Higgins, who was brought up in an eco-friendly and environmentally conscious lifestyle, Harper’s Army was relatable. It inspired her to create a presentation about him and organise a rubbish clean up at Darwin High School.
In just 15 minutes, six classes cleaned up 15 kilograms of rubbish, but most importantly, Harper’s message was told.
“Harper’s passion for protecting the environment was relatable and contagious. I felt that holding an event in his name was a good way to honour his legacy, out here in the far reaching Northern Territory,” Leila explained to the Gazette.
“Knowing that our precious environment that we rely upon so heavily was just hastily being discarded from people’s minds when economic growth and short term solutions were envisioned, turned my furious outrage into courage and inspired me to be part of the change that is so vital to the protection and conservation of wildlife and the environment.
“It only takes one to ignite the positive change for all. No matter where you start or finish. The environment is so significant to our existence and sustains all life on Earth, when this delicate balance is threatened by what we as humanity produce, it is only up to us to change it.”
Ms Erich said she was “was completely blown away” that Harper’s Army had affected the actions of a school girl in northern Australia, so much so that she felt moved to action.
“The idea that Harper could affect other young people to walk where he had was so inspiring given Harper can no longer continue his mission to make the world a better place,” she said.
“Watching young people engage with Harper’s Army brought home to me the opportunity to really encourage our young people to have a voice. Harper, like Leila, actioned his passions and it was my role as his mother to encourage and nurture the fire in his belly.”
Ms Erich said she hoped Harper’s Army would impact more children and young people. To host a clean up event, contact Harper’s Army on Facebook.