Monday, March 26, 2012

Celebrating Kids Safeguarding Wildlife

Atka leading howling lessons
 What a wonderful day! The cooler temperatures and chilly gusty winds have been well received by the wolves, and giddy wolves helped our special day become downright magical. Normally the WCC is closed on Mondays, but today we opened our doors to celebrate a number of dedicated children working hard for our Nation's wildlife! A special group of 7th graders from Woodmere Middle School joined National WolfWatcher Coalition Junior Advocate Alyssa Grayson at the Wolf Conservation Center to celebrate the animals they have all been working so hard to safeguard. Alyssa had never met Woodmere's Alberto, Aahad, Eddie, Eros, Fernando, George, Gianna, Jessica, Jonathan, and Marsello; so a meeting was far over due since they share so many common goals and achievements!

Woodmere Team
The Woodmere team have tackled a number of environmental projects as a part of their “Campaign Earth” mission - a curriculum aimed to equip the students with the tools necessary to safeguard the future of our nation's wildlife. They created a fantastic video focusing on the importance of the Endangered Species Act and the amazing species that this important environmental law protects. The dedication of these fine students have been recognized by the WCC as well as other leading environmental organizations. The Endangered Species Coalition showcases the Woodmere team's project on their website and the video has since reached people from around the world, inspiring young and old to embrace the importance of wildlife and the passion of these special youngsters.

Alyssa Grayson
The WCC first crossed paths with Alyssa Grayson back in February of 2008 and it has been a thrill to watch Alyssa grow into a conservation dynamo! Alyssa is busy presenting public education programs about wolves throughout RI schools, libraries, RI's Roger Williams Park Zoo, and soon the 4H board of directors. Alyssa is busier than Atka! This special 11-year-old is following her passion to protect our Nation's wildlife and her efforts are not going unnoticed. The Humane Society of the United States' (HSUS) Cathy Vincenti joined us today to present the HSUS Kind Kid Award, 2012 to Alyssa. This prestigious award recognizes children who have made a positive difference for animals.

While getting to know one another in the WCC cabin classroom, a chorus of howls tumbled down the Center's hills. We couldn't wait to get outdoors to assemble "enrichment boxes" ambassador wolves Atka, Zephyr and Alawa. The 11-month-old "wolflets" were excited to see their visitors, an unexpected bonus on a weekday that is usually quiet. They jumped about at the fence eager to receive their box full of animal hair, perfume, and peanut butter. Zephyr was first on the box and soon both siblings demonstrated how useful their 42 teeth can be at ripping cardboard to shreds. Atka was next and after opening his gift, pulled each item out one by one until he found a handful of hair that he deemed roll-worthy. He patiently instructed the children how to howl by singing over and over again. Everyone got a peek at elusive red wolf pair M1483 and F1397, and a real eyeful of Mexican wolves F837 and M805!

Mexican gray wolf M805
Recent wolf hunts and politics have left many wildlife advocates feeling discouraged. These wonderful children ready to take on the environmental challenges of the future are the perfect remedy. Keep up the great work, Alyssa, Alberto, Aahad, Eddie, Eros, Fernando, George, Gianna, Jessica, Jonathan, and Marsello.  We can't wait to follow your future endeavors.

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