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Meet the Little Girl With a Big Heart for Orcas

She can protest with the best of them. She runs her own business and donates all the proceeds to ending marine mammal captivity. And—oh, yeah—she’s only 9 years old!

Maeve Wolski With Protest Sign

Maeve isn’t even in fourth grade yet, but she’s already making waves for captive marine mammals in her hometown of Chicago and around the world. So PETA Kids is presenting Maeve with a well-deserved Hero to Orcas Award.

Maeve Wolski Hero to Orcas Award

Maeve organized her first protest at the age of 7 when her second-grade teacher planned a field trip to Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium. Not only did Maeve refuse to go on the trip because Shedd holds beluga whales and dolphins captive, she also asked for permission to present a report to her class on why she wouldn’t be joining them.

When her teacher denied her request, telling her, “We don’t share our personal business with the class,” Maeve and her mother took the issue to the school principal and she was allowed to give the presentation. And when it came time for the third grade field trip to Shedd, two more students refused to go.

Maeve Wolski With Orca Shirt

Over the summer, Maeve’s been busy running her “Liberty Lemonade” stand. She donates all of the money she earns to help free Lolita, the lone orca at the Miami Seaquarium who’s spent the last 44 years in the tiniest orca tank in the U.S. Maeve and her mother set up the lemonade stand in locations all over Chicago, with Maeve often bringing her friends along to help. They also go door-to-door selling Liberty Lemonade and educating people about how to help Lolita.

Maeve Wolski Lemonade Stand

Marine parks, like the Miami Seaquarium and SeaWorld, teach kids all the wrong lessons: That it’s OK to imprison animals, deprive them of everything that is natural and important to them, separate families, and allow them to go insane from loneliness, stress, confusion, and frustration. Will you speak up for animals with Maeve?