Tuesday, August 9, 2022 Aug 9, 2022
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By Dan Baldwin |

IDEAS “The earth is not dying,” explains Ranger Tom, “it’s just sick.” That’s why Ranger Tom (a.k.a. GARY BALDWIN) takes his environmental message, clipped Australian accent and his “Down Under Orphans” to area schools where he shows students how they can help save our planet.

His “orphans”-Joey Roo, Blue Koala and Peter Platypus-are dolls that Baldwin has developed and sells through his Dallas-based Toys Around the World, Inc. They are bandaged to show both the dangers existing for wildlife and how kids can help restore them to health. Each animal “speaks” via a brief cassette tape, offering an environmental message.

Baldwin, who was born in New Guinea, knows something about being orphaned. His Jewish mother and Catholic father argued over how young Gary would be raised. Eventually his father dumped him in an orphanage, telling the nuns that the 7-year-old, who could not speak, read or write English, was a foundling. At the orphanage he developed into a star rugby player and won a scholarship to St. Joseph’s University in Sydney.

“Kids have power,” Ranger Tom says. “If we can instil! in them an awareness of the environment, we have gone a long way toward saving the planet.”