Sandy Royer models a tote bag which are being sold as part of the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society’s latest fundraiser. The bags will be on sale at the Black Creek Fall Fair Sept. 12.

MARS launches wildlife tote bag fundraiser

Bags made locally in the Comox Valley and Campbell River by dedicated volunteers

Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society’s (MARS) brand new fundraiser launches Saturday, Sept.12 at the Black Creek Fall Fair.

“Raptors. Turtles. Bears. Fawns. Sockeye.

“Put wildlife on a functional and fashionable tote bag and you have a fashion statement like no other,” says Dianne Pollock, volunteer coordinator with MARS.

The bags are available in a variety of sizes from a versatile shopping, travel carryall or beach bag, to a dressy bag for a night out, down to the smallest bag for an iPhone.

Constructed of PVC coated fibreglass mesh, decorated with fabric images of native animals, birds, and aquatic life and then topped off with some dazzling bling, they are strong, functional and designed for use.

They are competitively priced from $10 to $40 for the largest bag and any size would make a unique and useful gift.

All the bags are made locally in the Comox Valley and Campbell River by dedicated volunteers who saw the need and stepped in with their artistic skills.

“Without these volunteers, this project simply couldn’t have gotten off the ground,” said Pollock.

In fact, MARS would still like to hear from sewers who have a little time to devote to this fundraiser as feedback has been very positive and the group expects strong interest.

MARS has attracted attention recently for being at the centre of caring for a number of abandoned and  orphaned fawns – 16 and counting – that they have successfully rehabilitated.

The fawns will be released back to their natural habitat by November.

While MARS staff and volunteers are extremely pleased with their success, feeding 16 hungry fawns depleted MARS funds and their care is an ongoing cost.

Fundraising is crucial to keeping the doors open at MARS and like many charities, they are getting creative in ways to attract donations.

Maj Birch, founder and manager of MARS says, “It is part of our philosophy that where possible, we want to give back to the donors in some way and the tote bag fundraiser does that.”

MARS wildlife rehabilitation and caregiver volunteer Sandy Royer, who has no trouble getting down and dirty tending to the many casualties who arrive at MARS, is helping sell these bags by doing double duty as its very presentable model.

MARS hints that a fashion show will soon be seen on its Facebook page.

The tote bags will also be available at the Black Creek Fall Fair Sept. 12 on 2001 Black Creek Road from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.