HAWLEY - A concern for animals has prompted a local teen to pursue a cause she cares about. Through her own creativity, 13-year-old Hailey Hopkins has crafted animal charms in support of endangered and threatened animals.
The small clay animals range from elephants to honeybees and more, because Hopkins wanted to do something relative to the issue of climate change, she said. In this case, all of the animals she makes are affected by climate change. Individually, by hand, she shapes the animals and the various body parts, then bakes and glazes them.
Prior to starting this last summer, Hopkins had never worked with clay. When she first started, her initial animal was too large and to get where she is now, Hopkins said a lot of practice was needed. Now, she finds working on the animals to be “relaxing.”
In years past, Hopkins made what she called “survival bracelets,” which consist of braided rope. The theory she explained, is that the bracelet could be taken apart if necessary, and the rope could be used. The reason for her projects, is because she wanted to do something that, “made a difference.”
To further educate customers about the animals, in each package there is a card that explains the animal’s present situation and why it is endangered or threatened. Hopkins has decided to give half of the proceeds to the Wildlife Conservation Society because she wanted a “reliable” society, she said.
Throughout the summer, Hopkins sold the charms at the family business and the Wilsonville Campground. Now, she plans on continuing her sales at the family’s ski shop, Guenther’s Ski Haus at Elk Mountain.
It is the process of making the charms that Hopkins said she enjoys, while also researching and learning about the different animals. Then, when selling them, Hopkins also likes talking to people because it has helped her overcome her shyness.
As she researched the various animals, Hopkins said she learned more and came to realize how significant the animals are, such as the honeybee because they pollinate food. Of the animals she makes, the honeybee is one of her favorites, because it is simpler then having to make the likes of the elephant and its tail. Instead, she explains that the honeybee is made into a ball and the stripes and wings are made and then she puts everything together.
The charms are $8.00 and the necklaces are $10.00 with half of the proceeds going to the Wildlife Conservation Society. Hopkins figured it costs $2.63 to make each charm, which equates to a $5.37 profit that is split; she makes $2.69 per charm and donates $2.69. Hopkins said it costs $3.24 to make the necklaces and the profit is $6.76. She makes $3.38 and donates $3.38 to the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Even though she is a one-person-operation, Hopkins said its hard to determine how much time she needs to make each animal. This is because she makes them in sets of 10 and takes breaks here and there.
Despite all of the work and time she has invested in this project, Hopkins said she makes the charms and sells them because she’s concerned about the animals’ futures and that makes her “sad,” so this is an opportunity for her to help.
This summer Hopkins exceeded her sale expectations, because of the support she received. As a result, she was able to donate $166 to the Wildlife Conservation Society. Next summer, she would like to donate $200 and because of how sales have been going at the ski shop, her dad Scott believes it is possible.
Sales from the survival bracelets went so well, that Hopkins purchased materials to make more and she was able to buy a camera, that she will use to photograph animals.
Hopkins’s mother Heather said her daughter has been very humble about her efforts and it’s become more then a hobby, but rather a passion because she cares so deeply about the animals.