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Poplar Springs student collects mascara wands to care for ailing animals

(AP) — After seeing trash on her Meridian school playground, second-grade student Sarah Wishert became motivated to do something that would help animals instead of hurting them.

As she brushed her stuffed bunny, Fluffy, she explained how she and her teacher decided to collect old mascara brushes and repurpose them to care for animals.

“I decided that this was a good project because people find baby mammals, reptiles and birds, sometimes they can be hurt or sick,” Wishert said.

Wishert, a student at Poplar Springs Elementary School, collected used mascara wands during April. The wands were then shipped to the Appalachian Wildlife Refuge in western North Carolina. The organization uses the wands to care for animals that have been injured or orphaned. They, also, are used to remove fly eggs and larvae off the animals.

“The wands work great because the bristles are so close together and gentle to use on the injured and orphaned wild animals receiving care,” Wishert said.

Before sending the wands to the refuge they make sure the wands are clean by washing them with dish liquid. People who donated the wands, also, were asked to clean them before bringing them to the school.

Wishert hung up flyers across the school so more people could help with her project. As of Thursday, 176 brushes had been collected from students and teachers.

“I brought in two wands, but the other people brought in 174,” Wishert said.

Wishert said it takes a team to make the project a success.

“We hung up posters in the halls and gave some to homeroom teachers to hang up,” Wishert said.

Her teacher, Carolyn Hendricks, said she knew Wishert had a desire to have a project in helping animals after she saw her picking up trash around the playground during recess and said she didn’t want animals to be hurt.

Hendricks said it’s important to raise awareness about the environment and the effect people can have on animals. Besides helping the refuge, they talked about other ways to help animals.

Since they had only enough resources to collect wands until the end of April, the collection process is complete for this effort.

They hope to work with Central Mississippi Wildlife Rehabilitation in Meridian in the future, Hendricks said.

“It is really great we are repurposing something and we are recycling these brushes that might go in the trash,” Hendricks said.

Wishert has plans to continue helping animals and maybe someday care for a baby deer, her favorite animal.

“Because I want to be a vet,” Wishert said.