Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Vermont Cries Wolf

Over the weekend, the Wolf Conservation Center crew was summoned to the mountains to participate in the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum's annual Wildlife Festival. It's not often that folks from NY go to Vermont for an hour, but the trek was fun for staff and beasts alike. The crew consisted of WCC staff members Maggie Howell, Rebecca Bose, Kai the German Shepherd, and Ambassador wolf Atka.

We met at the Center in South Salem, NY around 10AM and as if he somehow got the memo re: the day's destination, Atka emptied his bladder before boarding our minivan. He also had a bit of fun exploring the many tents that were still up from the previous night's "Sleeping with Wolves" program. One tent proved to be roll-worthy and thankfully, wolf-proof as well.


The drive was nice, as we headed north the leaf colors varied, our ears popped, and the temperature dropped! After we passed a "Moose Crossing" sign on the highway, Kai kept on the lookout.

After our 3 hour trip, we finally arrived at the the festival on a hilltop in West Marlboro, VT. The panoramic views and the Museum's feathered ambassadors who greeted us were breathtaking. The festival was abuzz with about 300-400 people visiting all the exhibits and enjoying some great tunes from world renown musician and entertainer Bill Shontz. Soon after arriving it was our turn to take the stage.

As a special treat, we presented Atka with raw chicken giblets. Before eating from his poultry platter, Atka entertained all by rolling repeatedly on the feast, staining his glowing white coat with liver schmutz. Ew!

The enthusiastic crowd asked Atka to sing with howls of their own but Atka politely declined. We didn't give up there, though. Perhaps Atka needed a professional to be properly inspired to perform. Bill Shontz then stepped up to the plate with oodles of talent and and an oboe too. He serenaded our beast with some lovely melodies and Atka appeared to dance, letting his curiosity lead. Atka never did join in the music making that afternoon, but everyone, especially Atka himself, seemed to enjoy our attempts. At days' end, we returned to the Center with our VT souvenirs. Rebeca and Maggie had their treats from a VT country store and Atka with some liver behind the ears. To see if Atka will be in your neck of the woods soon, please visit "Where's Atka."

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