Blue Ridge Country November/December 2020 - 10

C R E AT U R E F E AT U R E

NEW KIND OF 'MAGIC WAND'

Appalachian Wild:
Rescuers Extraordinaire
This innovative North Carolina facility helps injured and orphaned
wildlife, even in the face of current challenges.
By NANCY HENDERSON | Photos courtesy APPALACHIAN WILDLIFE REFUGE

T

he birth of the "Wands" movement, says Savannah Trantham, was "a complete accident." One
Friday evening in 2017, the executive director of
Appalachian Wildlife Refuge in western North
Carolina posted a simple tip
on her Facebook page with
a photo of several mascara
wands she found while cleaning out
her makeup drawers.
"Here's a great way to help wildlife
and it doesn't cost anything," Trantham wrote. "Send your old wands to
us and we'll put them to good use." She
went on to explain that the soft, dense
bristles were ideal for removing external
parasites, fly larvae and dirt from the fur
of delicate baby animals.
By Monday, the post had been
shared hundreds of thousands of times

APPALACHIAN WILDLIFE
REFUGE:

HOW TO HELP
* Go to appalachianwild.org and make a
donation.
* Contribute supplies. (See the online "wish
list" for specifics.)
* Volunteer to work with the animals.
* Join the hotline team, help with office
tasks, or take part in outreach programs.
* Spread the word through social media.

10

BLUERIDGECOUNTRY.COM

and, before long, media outlets like O magazine, Cosmopolitan and USA Today were running stories about the
project. People from around the world sent discarded
wands, scheduled "Wandraisers" to collect them, and
donated the supplies and money AWR
needed to operate.
"It was a complete fluke, but it got
amazing traction. It was perfect timing
for our facility," says Trantham. "The
most amazing thing for me was that it
connected people who maybe had never even thought about wildlife in a way
that they started thinking about how
they could help."
A few years earlier, while working at
a local nature center, Trantham, a wildlife rehabilitator, and Kimberly Brewster, a nonprofit executive, witnessed a
dire need for a place that would take in
injured and orphaned critters, coordinate licensed home-based rehab efforts,
and create public awareness about native wildlife. With support from local
veterinarians, educators and conservationists, in 2014 they formed AWR.
Four years later, their urgent care facility opened in Candler, near Asheville.
Even with the COVID-19 shutdown,
since 2018 AWR has welcomed 3,000
animals, from mice, shrews and moles
to possums, groundhogs, otters, whitetailed deer fawns and birds. It has also
provided triage and stabilization for a
number of reptiles and amphibians, including turtles, salamanders and frogs,
along with a community hotline and


http://www.BLUERIDGECOUNTRY.COM

Blue Ridge Country November/December 2020

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