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Tracy Frank, Published August 20 2013

Girls use creative hobby to help Red River Zoo otters

If you go

What: Red River Valley Zoo “ZOOlebration”

When: 6-9 p.m. Sept. 5

Where: Red River Valley Zoo, 4255 23rd Ave. S., Fargo

Info: Annual fundraiser includes live music, auction, food and wine. Tickets $50 at www.redriverzoo.org/zoolebration.php or by calling (701) 277-9240, extension 311. RSVP by Sept. 3.

Her Voice is a weekly article about women in or from our area and how they make an impact on the world around them. If you know someone SheSays should feature in HerVoice, email Tracy Frank at tfrank@forumcomm.com.

FARGO – Two grade-schoolers are using their creative flair to help fund the new otter exhibit at the Red River Zoo.

Lily Andrews, 9, of Fargo was making bottle cap magnets when she decided she wanted to sell them to raise money for a charity.

Her mom, Krista Andrews, vice president of the zoo board, gave her a few options, and Lily decided she wanted to help fund the new otter exhibit.

“I love the otters,” Lily said. “They’re really cute.”

She soon decided to recruit her friend, Faith Haugrud, 10, of Fargo to join her efforts.

“I thought it was a really good idea,” Faith said.

The girls get the bottle caps from a craft store and decorate them with stickers and plastic jewels, they said. They charge 50 cents each because “if they were higher, we might have gotten less buyers,” Lily said.

The magnets are decorated with letters, flowers, quotes and animals.

So far, the girls have raised more than $100 for the exhibit, mom Krista said.

The girls said it makes them feel good to help out and they’re excited to see the otter exhibit when it’s finished.

“It makes you so proud as a parent, and that’s what you want your children to do,” Krista said. “I think we’ve always tried to teach her to give.”

Her parents said Lily has always had a very giving heart and is always finding ways to spend money on other people.

“That’s typical Lily,” said Mike Andrews, Lily’s dad. “She’s always thinking about other people. She’s a generous little girl.”

Lisa Tate, the Red River Zoo executive director, said she thought it was wonderful when she heard what the girls had planned.

“It’s so heartwarming,” she said. “The zoo is here for the community and it’s here for children to enjoy and learn about animals and learn about wildlife, so to actually have children participate in the success of the zoo, it’s just a wonderful thing to hear about.”

The otter exhibit is scheduled to open in early September, Tate said. Construction is proceeding according to schedule. When it’s finished, the exhibit will rival any otter exhibit of its size at any zoo in the country, Tate said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526