9yo girl donates $1000 to help save turtles
MARIAH Byers is no ordinary nine-year-old.
Although she may be small, Mariah has made a huge impact by recycling old cans and plastic bottles throughout the region.
For the past 12 months, Mariah has collected more than 10,000 plastic bottles and aluminium cans in exchange for 10c through Gladstone's CQ Recycling and Recovery centre.
She has raised just over $1000 to donate to Quoin Island Retreat's Turtle Rehabilitation Centre.
The money raised will go towards the care and maintenance of turtles in the centre.
Quoin Island Retreat manager Richard Gilmour said raising $1000 for the centre is a massive achievement.
"For a child to go out on their own limb to raise a $1000 is amazing," Mr Gilmour said.
"We've invited her out to the centre to meet all the turtles and carers and hopefully have her volunteer for the day," he said.
What inspired Mariah to become a conservation warrior was 2016 nature documentary, A Plastic Ocean.
"It was all about plastic in the ocean and how we can save it," Mariah said.
"And if we don't act now we might never get the chance to help which made me really sad."
Mariah's mother Nicole Albury said after her daughter watched the documentary the first port of call was their own home.
"She made us change everything in our house so we don't use plastic anymore but we went along with it," Ms Albury said.
"It definitely taught her dad something. He never really cared about this stuff before but it opened up his eyes because it was so important to her."
Ms Albury said many weekends were spent going to different businesses collecting rubbish from the sustainability stations Mariah had created for them.
"It took a long time collecting the bottles and many, many weekends with people helping us," Ms Albury said.
Businesses such as Goodstart Kin Kora, Goodstart Tannum Sands and the Nightowl Centre helped the mother-daughter duo collect the rubbish.
"We were so shocked by the amount of support we received," Ms Albury said.
"It was lovely to see the community getting together and helping her.
"Mariah made sure everyone got thanked by writing cards."
Mariah dreams to follow in the footsteps of her idols David Attenborough and Bindi Irwin.
"My nan always said I would be a marine biologist or a vet," she said.
Have you spotted an ill or injured turtle? Please phone 0408 431 304 immediately.