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In the Spotlight: The Local P.A.S.S. to Feature Blue Ridge Wildlife and Guests on Tuesday

Cloudfeather, an albino redtail hawk. Photo courtesy of the Blue RIdge Wildlife Institute.

By Jessica Isaacs

Looking for a chance to learn more about wildlife in the area? Ready to see some of the animals firsthand? Then don’t miss this month’s P.A.S.S. charity event at The Local restaurant in Boone from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 30, which will feature the Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute from Lees-McRae College.

Nod in a cavity
Nod, a saw-whet owl. Photo courtesy of the Blue RIdge Wildlife Institute.

Each month, The Local teams up with a nonprofit or organization in the area to shed light on that group’s mission and ongoing projects. When you join The Local for dinner at one of these events, you receive free appetizers, one raffle ticket and one free pint of beer, glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage.

You can get your ticket at the door for the event you want to support, or buy a pass that will get you into each monthly event for the entire year. Whether you want to spend $10 or $100, The Local gives you a chance to give back.

This month, the Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute is in the spotlight, and they’re bringing some special guests to the P.A.S.S. event on Tuesday. Representing BRWI and the May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at Lees-McRae, Director Nina Fischesser will be on hand to talk about what the center does to rescue wild animals in the area. Three owls — Bandit, Nod and Hamlet — and Cloudfeather, an albino redtail hawk, will make an appearance and will be available for photos with event guests. Fischesser will also bring songbirds, reptiles and several other animals.

“These animals are not releasable and have been trained to be in front of audiences in the human world. We find that bringing an animal really makes that connection,” Fischesser said. “When people see a live animal, they’re absolutely drawn to it, and we can get our message across more effectively.

“Our program is very important because we rehabilitate close to 1,500 animals every year and we teach students at Lees-McRae who are studying wildlife biology with a concentration in wildlife rehabilitation. It’s not just about what we do here in the High Country — that’s an important part of it, but our students also go out into the world with the skills they need to take care of animals.”

The special guests are reason enough to check out the event on Tuesday, but The Local is also offering up more raffle prizes this time than ever before. If you join them for dinner, you have a chance to win these things and more:

  • Professional wildlife photos ($40 value)
  • A stay at the Best Western Hotel in Banner Elk ($125 value)
  • A mirror painting ($50 value)
  • A gift certificate to The Local ($50 value)
  • A Blue Ridge Wildlife Educational Program Certificate ($250)

The Local and its community partners have a lot in store for you this month. Make your way to dinner on Tuesday to get in on the fun! The restaurant will donate 10 percent of food sales from the evening’s festivities and 100 percent of raffle ticket sales (after initial purchase) to BRWI.

The Local is located at 179 Howard St. in downtown Boone. Call the restaurant at 828-266-2179 or visit the website for more information.


More About BRWI

The Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute was established in 1995 and became a part of Lees-McRae College in 2003, according to the school’s website.

“The Dan and Dianne May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is situated adjacent to the Elk River on the campus of Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, N.C. While serving as a learning laboratory for wildlife biology and rehabilitation students, the center cares for more than 1,400 injured wild animals, including songbirds, raptors, waterfowl, reptiles and small mammals from the Western North Carolina region per year,” the site reads. “Lees-McRae students use their training and education about varying species to teach the public about the value of rehabilitating wildlife.”


More About P.A.S.S. Charity Events at The Local

Purchasing a ticket, or a P.A.S.S., to the program earns event-goers prizes and benefits at different levels.

  • Each $10 Silver Pass includes entry to one event.
  • Each $50 Gold Pass includes entry to six events and a 5 percent discount on all food items for cardholders. The Gold Pass expires after one year.
  • Each $100 Platinum Pass includes entry to one year’s worth of monthly events and a 10 percent discount on all food items for cardholders. The Platinum Pass expires after 18 months.

The event will take place in the side room at the restaurant. Dinner guests won’t be required to purchase a ticket in order to enjoy dinner, but they’re welcomed to get in on the fun if they choose to do so.

The P.A.S.S. series represents the restaurant’s and the program’s core values:

  • PROVIDE: Provide fundraising opportunities through partnering with local philanthropic organizations, nonprofits, educators, social services and others that foster the well-being of the community.
  • ADVOCATE: Advocating for those in need by improving local social justice issues, education and supporting local organizations that need funding. Through this process, these organizations will be able to better serve their clients and ultimately impact the community overall.
  • SUSTAIN: Working towards a more self-sufficient community cycle. Utilizing local goods and services not only has a positive impact on the environment but also the local economy. Through supporting local economy, we can become more sustainable as individual businesses. In addition, we are creating a small sustainable culture through increasing the overall health of the community, through partnering with organizations driven toward the service and growth of the community’s needs.
  • SYNERGY: Combining different services to reach higher potential than the individual services alone. We are more than just the sum of our businesses added together — we are synergistic. By partnering with services that individually may have need, we can build more robust identities through working together.


Pass Poster Blue Ridge Wildlife