Eagle Scout builds opossum enclosure for Southwest Virginia

Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 4:28 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - A local scout is helping the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center of Roanoke for his final public service project.

When Matthew Danco heard the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center needed help, he decided to step up. For his final public service project to become an Eagle Scout, he built an opossum enclosure.

“I just like the idea of being able to build something that’s actually going to help and be used every day pretty much,” said Danco.

After several months and a lot of stress he completed his project for the center.

“It’s refreshing to know that it’s complete and that they’re very happy with it and that it’s able to house animals,” added Danco.

Haley Olsen-Hodges is the operations manager. She says the center desperately needed the enclosure. It’s like an apartment complex but for two ambassador opossums.

“So, these opossums can’t return to the wild, but they go and meet children and adults at different kind of events to help people not be as afraid of wildlife or have a new respect for them,” said Hodges. “And learn why these animals are important and why we should protect them.”

The project gave Danco a new admiration for the Wildlife center.

“They definitely help way more animals than you think they would. ‘Cause if you go inside its just walls and walls injured animals that need to be helped,” explained Danco.

It also taught him it’s okay to reach out to the community for support.

“Asking for help when you need it cause learning you can’t do everything yourself a huge lesson,” said Danco.

Hodges agrees everyone needs each other to keep going.

“It’s kind of of a cycle. So, if we can keep that giving spirit going,” explained Hodges. “I think that’s one of the things that makes the Roanoke Valley really special.”

Click here to help the wildlife center.

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