SOUTH SALEM, N.Y. -- Bria Shay Neff has never set foot in Westchester yet her heart belongs to the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) in South Salem.
The 10-year-old, an avid animal lover from Sioux Falls, SD, has raised and donated $2,240 over the past six months by selling original paintings and prints, then giving the proceeds to the Center.
Bria learned about the Westchester venue through Facebook and has been working with them for almost a year. According to her mom, Amity Shay Neff, she was particularly enthralled with Atka, one of the ambassador wolves. She painted a portrait of him and sent it to the WCC for his birthday last year.
"She learned that there are less than 100 red wolves and Mexican grey wolves left in the wild combined," said Amity.
"This really upset her and she knew she had to do something to help. So she started painting and spreading awareness and it eventually it paid off."
Her donation was matched during Giving Tuesday in November, 2016.
Youth Education Coordinator Regan Downey said the WCC is in awe of Bria's ability to create beautiful pieces of artwork and then use that artwork to so wonderfully highlight the importance of saving endangered species.
"Each painting focuses on a critically endangered animal that relies on human support for continued survival and we're so honored that Bria chose to support our center with her wolf paintings," said Downey.
"She exhibits a passion for the environment that is so rarely seen, and especially not in someone so young."
Mom Amity said Bria's greatest goal is to get people to see that wolves aren't scary and without them the earth would lose the glow of the moon. Her other big goal, added Amity, is to come to New York and meet Atka and all the other wolves in person.
Along with cheetahs, they are her favorite animal.