Reddit is the internet in microcosm — it showcases a lot of gross boneheaded stuff, gives space and succor to every flavor of perversion and bigotry, and is simultaneously full of interesting information, funny quips, and the occasional moment of grace. This story is one of those.

Last night, Redditor nervousbreakdown19 wrote that her conscientious daughter Winter had asked for Nature Conservancy donations in lieu of gifts for her eighth birthday, and been mocked to her face by her friends’ jerkhole parents. Instead of crumbling under not-even-peer-pressure, though, Winter decided to set up a fundraising page with the kid-friendly site Earth Rangers, collecting donations for the endangered pine marten. (Earth Rangers gives half the raised money to the Nature Conservancy, and uses half for teaching about conservation in schools.) She’s already made it more than halfway to her $500 goal.

Here’s Winter’s story, as relayed by her mom:

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My daughter decided that for her birthday this year, she wanted to have a “donations in lieu of gifts” party, where she got donations for her favorite animal protection charity instead of gifts. The parents of children she was inviting to her party said she is “stupid” for not wanting gifts, and now she’s feeling quite bad. They actually said this in front of her… 3 DIFFERENT PARENTS said it.

And here’s just one of the encouraging responses Winter’s gotten from Reddit users, along with a cascade of donations:

Happy 8th birthday, Winter! You are one cool person.

I live near Washington, D.C. We have lots of wildlife here. We don’t have any pine martens, but we do have bears, deer, beavers, opossums, foxes, squirrels, lots of different birds and lizards, and much more. We also have a great zoo where orangutans, who are endangered just like pine martens, can walk out their front door, climb a big pole, and swing across the zoo on wires hiiiiigh above everyone’s heads. Maybe you can visit it sometime.

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I don’t think you’re stupid at all. Just think: you’re giving the whole world a present for your birthday! That, my friend, is brilliant and a beautiful thing to do! It’s so brilliant and beautiful that I donated some money to your campaign. I hope you reach your goal.

Sniff! I love stories where a bullied kid finds support and success. Regardless of how many pine martens get saved with Winter’s funds ($285 as I post this), maybe the more important result is that a tiny conservationist learns it isn’t at all stupid to care.

Update: Holy moly, Winter has blown past her $500 goal, and the pine martens even wrote to say thanks!

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