Small Brush Big Impact – How Mascara Can Help Wild Animals

Appalachian Wildlife Refuge is about to get a huge delivery of used mascara brushes as a result of one post on Facebook that went viral.

Savannah Trantham, a home-based wildlife rehabilitator and Co-Founder of Appalachian Wild, never thought sharing a post about cleaning out her old makeup would have such an impact.

On March 10, Savannah decided to share with friends a simple way to help the wildlife she rehabilitates.  She asked in a Facebook post, “did you know something as simple as an old mascara wand can help wildlife?!? We use mascara brushes to help remove fly eggs and larva from the fur of animals. They work great because the bristles are so close together! Do you have old mascara just lying around in a drawer? Know a makeup artist? Clean off those old wands in hot soapy water and we can put them to good use! Clean brushes can be sent to: Appalachian Wild, P.O. Box 1211, Skyland, NC 28776.” She included some friends she knows that sell makeup, and that is all it took!

It looks like thousands of brushes may be coming in to the nonprofit through the post office in Skyland. By Sunday night, the Facebook post had over 21,000 shares and high activity on the website has led to purchases of other needed items off the wishlist. With the nonprofit about to open a wildlife triage facility in Candler, the timing is amazing.

“We are stunned at the outpouring of support,” shared Kimberly Brewster, who coordinates the groups outreach efforts, “I was brought to tears by the messages thanking us for saving wild animals.” The word is continuing to spread with people posting photos of their mascara brushes on Facebook with a note to visit Appalachian Wild’s website to find out why.

This excitement comes on top of the organization reaching a $43,000 goal for funding the wildlife triage building. The group is now working to gather materials and volunteers to finish repairs and renovations. With the WNC Nature Center no longer able to accept animals, the facility is needed immediately. This spontaneous post has brought needed support and attention during a critical time. It also shows how a simple act of recycling can directly help a wild animal in need. Visit to learn more.

Appalachian Wildlife Refuge is a 501c3 nonprofit that coordinates the needs of wildlife rehabilitation in Western North Carolina providing care for injured and orphaned wildlife, support for the wildlife rehabilitation network and conservation education to the community.

About Shelby Harrell
Shelby Harrell is the editor of the Biltmore Beacon, editor of The Guide arts and entertainment publication and is a staff writer for Mountaineer Publishing. Originally from Asheville, she has worked in journalism for seven years and currently lives in Clyde, NC.