Conscious Party: An art gathering for wounded wildlife

SMALL VICTORIES: Appalachian Wildlife Refuge hopes to set up a "wildlife 911" office and full-service rehabilitation center to aid injured and abandoned wild animals found in Western North Carolina. Nearly 1,500 such cases were reported to the nonprofit in 2015. Many of the animals are released after receiving care, though this non-native yellow bellied slider hatchling was adopted. Photo courtesy of Appalachian Wild

WHAT: Appalachian Wildlife Refuge’s Wild Art 2016

WHERE: Addison Farm Vineyards

WHEN: Saturday, Aug. 6, from noon-5 p.m.

WHY: Whether from human-induced injuries or natural challenges like abandonment, hundreds of Western North Carolina’s wild critters turn up each year requiring human intervention to survive. But it’s not always clear where these animals can get help — a problem Appalachian Wildlife Refuge aims to solve.

“We’re not going out to find [these animals]. People are running into wildlife, and that is happening more and more,” says the nonprofit’s founder Kimberly Brewster, pointing out an uptick in WNC residents and a local proclivity for outdoor exploration.

Brewster and Appalachian Wild’s volunteer team, however, have a two-pronged plan to become a “central hub” of information and services pertaining to distressed animals. They’ll first open a “wildlife 911” office with triage space for emergency care and transfer services. And a subsequent capital campaign will fund the organization’s ultimate ambition: an expansive, full-service rehabilitation center.

“We have raised over $30,000,” Brewster reports, and proceeds from an upcoming benefit will move Appalachian Wild closer to its initial $150,000 goal.

Held at Addison Farms Vineyard, the free event brings together 10 local artists with a focus on landscapes or animals. Not only will their existing work be displayed for sale, but guests can watch as the artists complete new projects inspired by the scenic surroundings. One painter, Tony Corbitt, will even use the nonprofit’s “wild animal ambassadors” (rescued creatures that can no longer survive in the wild) as his live subjects.

Beyond that, attendees can enjoy light refreshments and opt in to a wine tasting for $8. “And we have a raffle,” Brewster adds, listing prizes like art pieces, a gift basket, and a private winery tour and tasting hosted by Addison’s owner and vintner Jeff Frisbee.

Visit appalachianwild.org for more information or to purchase advanced raffle tickets ($5 each or five for $20). 

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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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