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  • Kristen Coalman

    Five Ways Students Can Help Wild Animals this Holiday Season: The youth department of The Humane Society of the United States asks students to give a helping hand to our wild animal friends this holiday season. With temperatures plummeting and water drying up or icing over in many regions of the country, winter can be a harsh time for our wild neighbors. "The winter — and in particular the holiday season, when the spirit of giving abounds — is the perfect time to bring some peace to wild animals in need," said Heidi O'Brien, youth outreach director for The HSUS. "There are many things young people can do to help wildlife in a big way." Young animal advocates can: Create a backyard or front porch wildlife sanctuary. Maintain a bird feeder or birdbath, make peanut butter-filled pinecone treats for birds, or create a brush or rock pile to serve as shelter for wildlife. Take Photos of Wildlife - Make fliers and posters of animals who live nearby to spread awareness on how to resolve conflicts with them. Mission: Humane Shoot to Save Wildlife offers suggestions on how to teach others to peacefully co-exist with wildlife. Visit humanesociety.org/youth. Organize a Fur Collection Drive - Start a Coats for Cubs collection at the mall, school, community center or church to give unwanted furs to wildlife rehabilitators, who use them to warm and comfort orphaned and injured wildlife. The HSUS has teamed up with Buffalo Exchange, a family-owned resale clothing business with 39 locations in 14 states, to collect used fur items. Through Earth Day, April 22, 2010, students can bring unwanted fur apparel, trim and accessories to any Buffalo Exchange store or send collected items to The HSUS. Details can be found at humanesociety.org/coatsforcubs and buffaloexchange.com. Prizes will be awarded to students collecting the most furs during this period. Purchase from Fur-Free Retailers and Designers - For the millions of raccoon dogs, mink, foxes, rabbits and chinchillas who are killed for their fur every year, life is spent in tiny, barren wire cages. Others are crushed or drowned in cruel traps. Thankfully, more and more retailers and designers are rejecting cruelty by adopting fur-free policies. Students can vote with their dollar and make a choice to support fur-free companies. Make a Statement - As a special thanks, students who complete the Mission: Humane Fight Fur and Coats for Cubs projects will receive a 'Have a Heart No Fur' button, a 'Compassion is My Fashion' temporary tattoo and a logo skull cap for helping fur-bearing animals this holiday season. Visit humanesociety.org/youth. T-shirts and pins with fur-free messages are also available for purchase and make great holiday gifts. Visit humanesociety.org. The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by nearly 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

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