Teaching the Way of the Wolf
by Joanie Beldin
"In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught." Baba Dioum
WolfWays plants seeds - seeds of hope for our wolves. It was founded out of concern for the ongoing persecution of wolves worldwide. Age old misperceptions and exaggerated fears continue to be perpetuated by the media. How and when will it end? The answer may lie in the future - in the teaching of our young people who will then understand the truth about wolves and with understanding will learn to love and will learn to care. They are the future stewards - our hope lies in them.
To this end, Oregon Wild, along with Wolf Haven International, is helping to sponsor the wolf education program known as WolfWays.
"I really enjoyed your presentation. I liked your enthusiasm. I like wolves a lot better now because of your presentation." Julian, student in a 1st-3rd grade classroom.
The children are learning that this almost mythic animal lives here in their state. They learn where they live and are captivated by the story of OR7, fondly known as Journey. They come to understand the devoted family life of wolves and wolves' vital role as keystone species.
The kids take home wolf posters and share what they've learned with their parents. Through the children, WolfWays reaches adults as well. According to a mom, her preschool child talked about wolves non-stop after the presentation! The presentations inspire students to share what they learned and spread the word about wolves.
In addition to giving presentations, WolfWays' tabling spreads the word about wolves at community events. In the spring of 2015, WolfWays created the Wolf Howl Campaign - encouraging young people to draw pictures and write letters to send to the Fish and Wildlife Commissioners asking them to not delist the wolves. Six classrooms participated and over 100 letters were submitted at the Bend hearing! A first annual Wolf Celebration Day, filled with activities and programs for kids and adults, is in the works for next spring.
How you can help
WolfWays aims to reach as many young people, ages 4 to 13, as possible. Adult presentations are available as well. This is an all volunteer program that provides this educational service free of charge. Your help in finding venues for WolfWays' presentations is invaluable and could make a big difference. It could be your child's classroom, scout program, library, homeschool, nature center, or ??? Do you enjoy making contacts? WolfWays would love your help!
To share venue ideas, volunteer interests or just to learn more, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The wolves will give a hooowwwllling thanks!
For more information on this program, please visit the WolfWays webpage.