Saving the Nautilus with Josiah and Ridgely


Ridgely and Josiah are 12 year olds from Maine who love nature. Ridgely’s passion for protecting animals started early in his young life; he’s had tons of pets including dogs, cats, rats, lizards, frogs and even a sheep! Josiah has always been interested in animals, especially strange and lesser-known species. They both also enjoy sports. Ridgely’s favourite sports include skiing and playing tennis; Josiah likes snorkeling and diving. When Josiah’s grandmother shared an article about the endangered Nautilus, these two friends decided they needed to save this amazing animal! Here’s their story:

two nautilus swimming coral reef
Two nautilus swimming

Hi! We’re Josiah and Ridgely, the founders of Save the Nautilus, a charity devoted to helping an amazing animal that is quickly becoming overfished because of it’s beautiful shell, which is used for jewelry and decoration. People don’t even eat them. It all started about a year and a half ago when Josiah’s grandmother sent him an article in the New York Times about how the Nautilus is becoming endangered.

Josiah: josiah young environmentalist
“I had loved the Nautilus ever since I was about 7, so when I got the article I was absolutely devastated. For weeks I searched and searched but found no charity that was trying to protect the Nautilus. Finally I looked back on the article and found one person who was trying hard to protect the Nautilus, Dr. Peter Ward, at the University of Washington. I emailed Dr. Ward not expecting a reply but, to my surprise, he emailed back almost immediately. In his email he said that there is no charity protecting the Nautilus and that somebody really needed to start one so that was exactly what I did. I called up Ridgely and asked him if he wanted to be part of Save the Nautilus and he jumped at the idea!”

ridgely young environmentalistRidgely:
“We started out making a website called where we told people about the Nautilus and how it’s being overfished. People can donate and order t-shirts with a drawing of a Nautilus that I designed . Save the Nautilus doesn’t get much money from the shirts but they spread the word. If 10 people wear Save the Nautilus t-shirts then 20 other people will see the shirts and know about Nautilus, and if 1000 people wear the shirts then 10,000 people will see them and know about Save the Nautilus. We also sell bumper stickers and note cards.”


Last fall we met Dr. Ward at the University of Washington where he told us that the money we raised is going to buy the expensive underwater cameras that we need for counting Nautili in the American Samoa. If we can get the Nautilus on the endangered species list, it will make killing them illegal. We will be going to the American Samoa on February break and finally get a chance to see the Nautilus with our own eyes when we tag them with Dr. Ward. We can’t wait!!

nautilus beautiful shell mollusk

inside nautilus shell chambers
The inside of a nautilus shell

The Nautilus might not be cute or big or cuddly but it still deserves to be protected. If you take an animal out of its habitat, bad things can happen.

Because the Nautilus takes 15 years to reach sexual maturity, it means a long recovery if we don’t act soon. It would be really sad to see a creature that’s been around 500 million years and that has survived mass extinctions to perish at human hands.

Kids can help by sending letters to big Nautilus shell selling companies, asking them to stop selling Nautilus shells for jewelry. You can also help by writing letters to your local politicians to help raise awareness that the Nautilus needs to be protected. Also, it’s always great to get donations to Save the Nautilus even $5 will bring us forward toward our goal.

It’s so important that kids are protecting species. We need to educate our generation to love and care about wildlife, and to help these animals in the long run. Please help spread the word.

Find out more about how YOU can help Josiah and Ridgely at

Join Josiah and Ridgely on their adventure searching for Nautilus in the American Samoa! The boys will be posting video updates about their work with Dr. Ward right here on the Wild Wire.

Earth Rangers is a non-profit organization that works to inspire and educate children about the environment. At kids can play games, discover amazing facts, meet animal ambassadors and fundraise to protect biodiversity.