Martin’s Save the Seals Campaign

February 22, 2018 - 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM

Martin Welych-Flanagan, aged 17,  created Save the Seals, a campaign to raise awareness about the plight of harp seal pups and the Arctic ecosystem as a whole. Since starting his project at age seven, he has raised over $17,000 for the Humane Society of the United States’ Protect Seals program by creating and selling seal-themed crafts. He has made over 4,000 bracelets and over 3,000 polymer clay seals that he uses in his key chains, ornaments, and figurines. While selling his wares at craft shows and other venues, Martin speaks with hundreds of people about the seal hunt, its causes, and its cruelty. He explains that 98% of the seals killed are under three months of age, not yet able to swim or walk and helpless in the face of hunters. He also frequently gives PowerPoint presentations to schools, senior centers, and national wildlife refuges.

Enchanted by baby seals since preschool, Martin first became aware of their slaughter when he was in second grade. He immediately wrote a letter to the editor of his local paper and then rallied his teacher and classmates to action. Together, they crafted a petition, gathered 1,400 signatures, and sent it to the Canadian prime minister. “This campaign has developed my sense of compassion and awareness of the injustices inflicted on animals,” says Martin. “It has changed who I am, influenced my world, and made me realize I can make a difference.”  -Source

In 2016 Martin won The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes. In 2012 he was named Young Animal Activist of the Year, awarded by the Animal Rights Conference and FARM (Farm Animals Rights Movement). In 2008, he was one of 3 grand prize winners of the Disney-sponsored “Littlest Volunteer” contest for children 8 or under making a difference.