Local teenager uses service project to help recovering animals at wildlife center

Matthew Danco, 17, is building a new mammal enclosure at the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center and needs the public’s help.

Matthew Danco, 17, is building a new mammal enclosure at the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center and needs the publics help.

ROANOKE, Va. – When tasked with completing a public service project to earn Eagle Scout certification, 17-year-old Matthew Danco knew he wanted to help the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center in Roanoke.

“I saw them as a place that needed a new building and it was not really just for my eagle project, I knew I could help the community if I did my project here,” Danco said.

As the center continues to take in more patients each year, the need to expand its facilities continues to grow. Danco is working to build a new mammal enclosure that will be used to house native species like opossums and foxes. Not only will he build it, he’s also working to raise $3,000 it will take to purchase the materials.

The public can make donations to help Danco complete the project through Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center’s online charity auction, by donating directly to the project. If the highest donation received to complete the project is over $2,000, that donor will receive naming rights to the new enclosure.

In addition, other items are up for bid.

Community members and local businesses made in-kind donations that will be auctioned off to the highest bidder. All proceeds directly benefit the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center.

Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center veterinarian Dr. Ernesto Dominquez said the money is needed to continue the center’s mission.

“It’s really exciting to know that the southwest community of the state of Virginia and also people from all over the country and even other countries support the cause because the cause isn’t just for the wildlife, but also for the conservation of these species,” Dr. Ernesto said.

One of the larger prizes up for bid is the naming rights of two owls which are the newest Education Ambassador animals at SWVAWC.

One is an Eastern screech owl, while the second is a larger barred owl.

The highest bidder will be able to select the name of each animal. Naming rights to ambassador animals have been up for bid at previous years’ events, including for the center’s Education Ambassador American Kestrel, Captain Jack Sparrow.

The money raised goes directly to the wildlife center and is used to help general costs and feed and care for injured and orphaned wildlife.

The bidding goes live Friday, Oct. 29.

You can view and bid on the items here.

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