Mesa College fashion club puts their sewing skills to use for local wildlife organization

Emy Takada

Marie Molloy, left, and Mary Drobnis hold a birdcage with its cover.

Shayla Durrett

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The Mesa fashion club will be sewing covers for birdcages. Wildlife Assist will use the covers when they rescue birds.

“Our goal is to provide community service and we thought this was a worthwhile project to help wildlife,” Mary Drobnis said.

The fashion club got involved in making the covers because they wanted to do some outreach in the charter.

“We felt it was something we could get together as a group and do,” Drobnis said.

Marie Molloy, Founder President of Wildlife Assist, has been looking for someone to make the covers for seven years.

“People that sew are hard to find,” Molloy said. “I’m very excited and thankful that the fashion club found us, I’m just very thankful.”

Drobnis heard about the need for the covers, and decided the Fashion club could help out.

“She [Malloy] can’t buy these covers anywhere so we made them,” said Drobnis. Wildlife Assist has an ongoing need for covers and we will try to make as many as we can.

Wildlife Assist rescues a lot of sea and shore birds, like loons, grebes, and Great Blue Herons. They also rescue hawks and owls. Occasionally they will be called to rescue opossums, rabbits, squirrels, and raccoons.

The most common injuries that Wildlife Assist sees are fishing line and fishing hooks stuck through the nostril. Other common injuries are birds that have hit glass windows, thinking they could fly through, and birds that have broken wings.

“Most of the problems are caused by us [humans],” said Molloy.

Wildlife Assist is not a wildlife rehab group; they just catch the birds and take them to either Project Wildlife or the Fund for Animals. They bring endangered brown pelicans and oiled birds to Sea World.

“We do all we can to keep them alive until we get them to the rehab,” said Molloy.

The covers have a variety of purposes.

“The covers reduce the stress and keep them out of the elements, like wind,” Molloy said. “It keeps them dark and quiet, and keeps the heat in.”

Currently, Wildlife Assist is using towels to serve the purpose of the covers but the towels are not practical because they bunch up and fall off the cage. The new covers fit securely around the cage so that the rescuers don’t have to worry about them falling off.

There are about 15 to 25 Mesa students involved in creating the covers.

“Even if you do it just once we will get 10 to 12 covers,” said Molloy.

The students use Mesa College sewing machines and Molloy provides the fabric, thread, and pattern.

The pattern for the covers consists of four corners and one seam down the middle with a hole for the cage handle.

The covers come in three sizes, small, double door, and medium, to fit the cages.

“You don’t really need much [sewing] experience, the pattern is very simple,” Drobnis said.

The covers are all going to be a tan color.

“We want the colors of the earth so that anything will be comfortable with it,” said Molloy.

The fashion club will be sewing the covers on Wednesday, Nov. 8 in B-103.

The club is now considering working with Malloy in another project to benefit wildlife.

The fashion club is working with Wildlife Assist to make new nets to catch hawks and owls in the aviary. The current netting material catches their talons.

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