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Menopausal Mother Nature

News about Climate Change and our Planet


How old mascara wands can help wildlife

The next time you clean out your makeup drawer and get ready to toss a gunky mascara tube, give the wand a second life for the benefit of tiny animals. Appalachian Wildlife Refuge, a nonprofit wildlife sanctuary in North Carolina, is asking people to donate used mascara wands so they can be used to help care for animals.

“Wands for Wildlife” took off in 2017 when wildlife rehabilitator and the refuge’s co-founder Savannah Trantham posted on her Facebook page asking for used wands. She said that instead of being thrown away, cleaned wands can be used to help the tiny critters in her care. The post was shared thousands of times and since then, the refuge has received hundreds of thousands of wands from every state in the U.S. and from places around the world, including Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, Italy and Spain.

An Eastern box turtle is cleaned with a mascara wand. An Eastern box turtle is cleaned with a mascara wand. (Photo: Appalachian Wildlife Refuge)

The wands are used to remove fly eggs and larva from the fur and feathers of animals. They can be used to help groom animals to remove things like dust, dirt, sand and sawdust. They can help a wildlife rehabilitator examine an animal for injuries. They’re used with birds and bunnies, opossums and box turtles. The wands can also be used to clean the syringes that are used to feed the animals.

Here’s a look at a tiny opossum being groomed with a tiny brush.

Because the bristles are soft and so close together, they reduce the risk of injury to their tiny patients, especially babies that might tend to squirm when being handled.

How to help

mascara wands The refuge has collected wands from every state and from many other countries. (Photo: Appalachian Wildlife Refuge)

If you’d like to donate, clean old mascara wands in warm, soapy water, then mail them to:

Appalachian Wildlife Refuge
P.O. Box 1211
Skyland, North Carolina 28776

Be sure to check postage as some packages have arrived postage due.

If you don’t have mascara wands, the refuge asks that you don’t buy news ones. Instead you can help in other ways by collecting them from family and friends, by contributing to the refuge’s wish list or by making a financial donation.

Wands from everyone

Wands are donated from the NBC show 'The Blacklist.' Wands are donated from the NBC show ‘The Blacklist.’ (Photo: Appalachian Wildlife Refuge)

The refuge has received wands from individuals, as well as community groups, schools, salons, scout troops and others that have held “wandraisers.” They’ve received wands from the makeup department of NBC’s show “The Blacklist,” as well as boxes of discontinued wands from makeup manufacturers.

They’re packaging some of the wands with educational materials on how to use them and sharing them with other facilities and home-based wildlife rehabilitators.

“The response to a simple request for mascara wands has been astounding,” co-founder Kimberly Brewster tells MNN. “I honestly have trouble wearing mascara now — the outpouring of compassion brings tears to my eyes almost daily as I read messages, notes and comments from people all over the world who care about animals, the environment and just want to help. The world is full of good people wanting to do some good!”

Mary Jo DiLonardo writes about everything from health to parenting — and anything that helps explain why her dog does what he does.

How old mascara wands can help wildlife

Wildlife refuge recycles mascara wands to clean the fur of tiny animals.

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