Reed Students Learn About Wolves
Reed Students Learn About Wolves
By Eliza Hallabeck
Before three wolves were led into Reed Intermediate Schoolâs gymnasium on Wednesday, October 24, Mission: Wolf Co-Founder and Executive Director Kent Weber made sure the students were prepared.
Many people, he said, do not have correct information regarding wolves.
âI can tell you, wolves donât attack people and wolves donât act like dogs,â said Mr Weber, adding that wolves do not make good pets.
When visiting Newtown roughly 11 years ago, Mr Weber said one student was so impacted by the presentation that he went on to work for Mission: Wolf, and that student, Alan Korth, also helped to bring the presentation to Reed last week. Reed teacher Karen King, who was Mr Korthâs teacher 11 years ago, helped raise money with the schoolâs Parent Teacher Association (PTA), and Mr Korth helped to support Mission: Wolfâs Wednesday visit.
According to Mission: Wolfâs website, www.missionwolf.com, the Colorado based nonprofit organization provides hands-on experiential education. Mission: Wolf is also a home for more than 50 wolves, according to Mr Weber, who also said Mission: Wolf has had to turn away many wolves due to now being able to take care of more animals.
Wolves, Mr Weber said, run between 30 and 40 miles a day, and the Mission: Wolf wolves consume almost 2,000 pounds of food each day.
For Mr Weber, Mission: Wolf began in 1984 when he first became licensed to care for a captive wolf, and within a year he was taking in more. The animals needed a safe place, so, according to Mission: Wolf, Mr Weber moved to Mission: Wolfâs current location in the foothills of the Wet Mountains in Southern Colorado.
Mr Weber shared a story to explain the importance of wolves being in the wild and the meaning of âtrophy cascade.â People, Mr Weber explained, were so afraid of wolves, all of the wolves in the area of Yellowstone National Park were killed, more than 22 years ago. As a result, he continued, deer and elk ate all the grass in the area, then, when there was no more grass, the animals ate all the tree saplings. Birds began to disappear from the area without a place to call home. Then, he said, it was decided to introduce wolves back to the area. With the wolves back, the deer and elk began to run again, leaving indentations in the ground where grass and trees began to grow again. Eventually the birds and other animals returned. The result the wolves have on their environment, as Mr Weber explained, is a trophy cascade.
While preparing the students for what they would experience when the wolves entered the gymnasium, Mr Weber said wolves do not âshake paws.â To say hello, wolves smell each othersâ nose. The animals do the same thing when introducing themselves to a human. Mr Weber asked Ms King to come forward, sit on the floor of the gymnasium, and introduce herself to the wolves when they entered.
Never run from an wild animal, Mr Weber said, because that animal will chase you. When being introduced to a wolf, Mr Weber instructed the students, and Ms King, to scratch below the wolfâs jaw, never to pet the animal on its head, as that can be threatening to a wolf.
âNow students, have you ever smelled a dogs breath?â asked Mr Weber. âScary right?â
Due to a wolfâs diet, Mr Weber said wolves have no scent to their breath.
As Mr Weber introduced the three wolves into the gymnasium, he asked all of the students to remain silent, so the wolves would remain as calm as possible.
Magpie, a 10-year-old female gray wolf, Abraham, a 6-year-old male wolf and dog mix, and Zeab, a 2-year-old gray wolf and Magpie and Abrahamâs adopted puppy, entered the gym on leashes held by Mission: Wolf staff. All three of the visiting wolves were walked around the gymnasium to greet students, staff, faculty, and visitors to Reed for the day.
Near the end of his presentation, Mr Weber announced he would leave a photo of a wolf for the school to hang in its cafetorium, as Reedâs adopted wolf.
People, Mr Weber explained, can adopt a wolf by making donations to Mission: Wolf. Everyone who adopts a wolf receives a photo of their animal and the knowledge that theyy are helping to feed and provide a home to the wolf.
For more information about Mission: Wolf, visit www.missionwolf.com.