by WhatcomTALK Editor May 16, 2018
By Dan Monn, Animal Care, Gift Shop and Volunteer Assistant
Wolf Haven International
Tashina is one of our homegrown volunteers; she was born in Klamath Falls, Oregon and raised not far from here, in Yelm, Washington. She has been a volunteer at Wolf Haven International for six years, but interested in wildlife conservation for much longer. Tashina is a recent graduate of Evergreen, and now has her eyes set on an advanced degree as she continues toward her goal of working in wildlife outreach and education.
Tashina began volunteering at Wolf Haven as a senior in high school. She wanted her senior project to be related to wildlife and she found us! She worked with Erik from our animal care team to come up with a project, and has been contributing as a volunteer ever since. Now Tashina guides visits, and does a lot of outreach work for Wolf Haven. She spent time here as an intern while studying at The Evergreen State College, and the work Tashina did then has helped shape the way we convey Wolf Haven’s values and mission to the public.
In fact, Tashina’s favorite part of volunteering is spending time with the public and sharing her passion for the individual animals and wildlife conservation. One of her favorite moments was getting to see Lorenzo, (now deceased) a Mexican gray wolf, get an elk leg. Animal care staff does not usually feed the wolves during public visits, plus elk legs are a rare treat. Another favorite moment occurred during a group howl as she was leading visitors through the sanctuary. To be present during a howl is a special moment for anyone, but it was especially so for a guest who was moved to tears. Sharing that moment is something Tashina says she’ll remember for a long time.
Today we pay tribute to Rocco, a male gray wolf who passed away in December. With his tawny coat and amber eyes, Rocco was stunning. Rocco and his sister, Natasha, came to live at Wolf Haven in 2005, after spending their first two years of life in private ownership.
Aside from a recurring skin issue during the rainy season, Rocco appeared to be a healthy and well-adjusted wolf, and celebrated his 14th birthday last spring. By then, he was living with his fourth companion, a female gray wolf named Sitka Rose, (having outlived his previous three enclosure mates).
When animal care staff conducted the walk-through on Friday December 8, Rocco didn’t come to the fence for treats like he normally did. Instead, he paced, seemed disoriented and had a noticeable head tilt. All symptoms were consistent with either post seizure or stroke. Animal care tried to offer him a meatball with medication, but he was not interested in food (very atypical for him). Given his condition and age, a seizure or stroke is not uncommon and we have observed it many times before in our senior residents. Because it would have been severely detrimental to catch him up (he is not tractable so it would have been stressful for him), the decision was made to let him be and monitor him closely. Even had we brought him into the clinic, there would not have been anything we could have done other than just wait and see- either he was going to rebound or he wasn’t. Whatever the outcome, we wanted it to be as peaceful and as least stressful as possible for him and his long-time friend, Sitka.
After spending the remaining morning and part of the afternoon pacing his enclosure, Rocco finally settled and lay down. When we checked on him just before dusk, Rocco was sleeping in the back of his enclosure. When he couldn’t be seen during the following morning walk-through, animal care staff went into the enclosure to search for him. Rocco was found in his den, tucked into a very deep chamber; he had passed sometime during the night. He looked very peaceful in that private space he had chosen as his last refuge.
Rocco is survived by his beautiful and playful friend Sitka who will surely miss him, as will all of us at Wolf Haven. We thank you for your support in providing a lifetime, loving home for Rocco and his three companions through all these years.
May your journey continue in peace, sweet Rocco.
Wolf Awareness Week is fast approaching. Celebrated the third week each October, this is a time for wolf advocacy organizations to promote science-based wolf facts and dispel inaccurate myths. Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute began the Timber Wolf Alliance in 1987, and every year, with the assistance of sponsors like Wolf Haven International, a poster featuring an award-winning artist’s rendering of a wolf or wolves in their natural habitat is produced. The 2017 winner is Emma Loisch with The Golden Hour.
Wolf Haven is participating in several events this month in honor of Wolf Awareness Week. We will be in Portland, OR, Dana Point in Orange County, CA and the North Olympics region of WA. We hope you can join us at one of these forums to celebrate the lives of wolves.
If you are looking for an interesting, new way to celebrate Wolf Awareness Week, look no further than the Portland Zoo. Wolfways, an Oregon outreach program supported by Wolf Haven, along with Oregon Wild and Wolf Haven International, will host an educational, fun event on Saturday, October 21.
When: October 21, 11am – 3pm
Where: Portland Zoo Education Center
Admission: Wolf Education free with regular zoo admission.
Click HERE to learn more.
There will be educational, organizational, and craft tables. Every child is given a passport to take while “traveling” and will receive a stamp for participating in each table’s learning opportunity. Four stamps earns him or her a wolf pendant, while children with eight stamps receive a poster. The tables will consist of wolf information about adaptations, family life, ecosystems, habitats and more. Come join the wolf fun and explore the Oregon Zoo.
Learn about wolves from Skie Bender, Educational Outreach for Wolf Haven, at Dana Point Library. Skie will share her passion and knowledge regarding wolves and dispel myths and legends regarding these remarkable animals. Presentation suitable for all ages.
When: October 8, 2-3:30pm
Where: Dana Point Library Community Room
For more information about this and other wolf educational programs in California, contact: Skie Bender 714.336.5798.
Forks and Sequim, WA
Get information at the Forks and Sequim libraries about wolf conservation from Chris Montero, Outreach Coordinator at Wolf Haven International. Guests can learn more about Wolf Haven’s mission to conserve and protect wolves and their habitat, as well as hear about wolf recovery in Washington State. Chris will also discuss Wolf Haven’s participation in multi-agency Species Survival Plan programs for critically endangered wolves like the Mexican gray and the red wolf.
When: October 14, noon – 2pm
Where: Forks Branch Library
When: October 14, 5pm
Where: Sequim Branch Library
It is often said that helping others is a reward in itself and many of those who volunteer at Wolf Haven International would strongly agree. Still, the staff at Wolf Haven never misses an opportunity to thank those who spend their time and energy trying to aid in their efforts to increase understanding, appreciation and conservation of wolves.
One way Wolf Haven expresses its appreciation is by hosting a yearly Volunteer Appreciation event. The event varies from year to year; however, this summer volunteers and their guests were invited to a barbecue at the sanctuary. The festivities began with viewings of a special video made honoring the wolves who have passed away in the previous year, giving volunteers a chance to say goodbye to the animals they have cherished, many since their first days at the Haven. The video also introduced newly added residents, such as the four Mexican gray and eight red wolf pups born this Spring.
Afterwards, guests donned disposable gloves and dug deep into buckets of hot dog bits, venison biscuits, and clam chunks. Don’t be too alarmed by the spread – these delicacies were layered into cups and frozen into popsicles to be given out to the wolves as a delicious summer treat. The real feast came after, when everyone (the humans, that is), gathered for an outdoor picnic, enjoying a light summer breeze and each other’s company.
The event ended with stories from volunteers depicting their experiences at Wolf Haven, and heartfelt expressions of gratitude from staff. During the speeches, the wolves added their own voices as they collectively sang out, reminding each of us of the cause that continues to bring us all together.
Could you be a Wolf Haven volunteer? Want to learn more? Send an email to Wolf Haven’s Director of Volunteer Services, Cindy Irwin, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Faye Peebles
Education Coordinator, Wolf Haven International
As we set up our table, very much as if we are at a booth event or our own docent table back at Wolf Haven, people start coming down the gravel path from the parking lot. We are in one corner of the large opening. In the center is a round fire pit with benches four deep on all sides. In the corner opposite are two tables end to end with the makings of Campfire Cones on them.
You may be asking what is a Campfire Cone? It is a common Girl Scout campfire treat. How do I know this (aside from being a Girl Scout myself)? Chris, Pam, and I are at Girl Scouts of Western Washington’s (GSWW) center in Dupont, Washington. We are guest speakers at the second Fireside Friday of this summer. GSWW-Dupont began Fireside Fridays as a way to bring environment-related learning to Girl Scout families in a fun way and get some use out of their fire pit. The purpose of Wolf Haven’s presence is to talk about being safe while recreating in carnivore country and briefly talk about what to do in the event of an encounter with wildlife.
As families, GSWW volunteers and staff come in, they greet those they know and then the kids get excited. They see our table full of skulls, the life-size coyote and gray wolf standees, and our Camping with Carnivores sign.
Before we know it, the group’s attention is being called for and the campfire is starting. After a welcome from the lead volunteer and a couple of campfire songs, (yes, Chris, Pam, and I participated to the best of our ability), we get started.
Moving among our guests, we ask the group to be skull detectives with us. An animal’s skull can tell us what types of food it eats, which sense is most important for survival, and roughly its size. Paw prints, along with the skull information, help the group identify the animals, all of which are native to Washington.
With a general understanding of the carnivores in our state, we take the group through a lesson in responsible hiking/camping/recreating and then demonstrate the good vs. bad ways to react if a person comes upon wildlife.
Finally, we are able to enjoy the Campfire Cones as more questions are asked and answered (incidentally, a campfire cone is a waffle cone filled with marshmallows, chocolate, sprinkles, peanuts, etc., wrapped in foil and heated over a fire for a short time. Everything melts together and you enjoy like an ice cream cone.) Overall, a great time is had by all, including these three Wolf Haven staff.
Editor’s Note: Faye is too modest to mention this in her blog post, but she was recently selected as a Girl Scout Woman of Distinction. She received the award from two ambassador Girl Scouts at a May 4 ceremony in Tacoma, WA.
by Kim Young, Director of Communications, Wolf Haven International
photographs taken by Melissa Poinsett for Wolf Haven
Wolf Haven International launched “Wolves & Wine” in 2011 with the intention of making it our premiere fundraising event combined with our annual meeting. We wanted to create an evening where supporters could learn more about Wolf Haven’s recent accomplishments and future plans, and at the same time raise much-needed funds for our nonprofit sanctuary. We hoped it would offer wolf and wildlife advocates and supporters an opportunity to come together in a relaxed, comfortable surrounding. But above all, we wanted it to be FUN!
If you want to guarantee a successful adult event, it helps enormously to have excellent food and drink available in a convivial atmosphere. We had that covered from the beginning by offering wine tastings from a variety of vintners and delicious heavy hors d’oeuvres served by Bon Appetit catering at The Norman Worthington Conference Center of Saint Martin’s University. The stellar planning committee also believed that a silent and a live auction would be the ideal avenue for us to raise money in support of our mission: conserve and protect wolves and their habitat.
We could sell all manner of wolf-related items: jewelry, custom-made cabinets, paintings, books, etc. as well as more generalized things like a package get-away week-end or sports tickets. The key to the success of the auction, however, was going to hang not only the generosity of our guests, but also on having just the right auctioneer at the helm.
The Perfect Fit – Jeff Kingsbury
We found the ideal company and candidate in Stokes Auction Group and Jeff Kingsbury. Jeff is an actor and director who specializes in musical theatre. His work has taken him all over the country and he has appeared in over 150 plays and musicals. Given his background in the theatre, it isn’t uncommon for Jeff to break into song during an evening’s event. He has a quick and warm wit, and a phenomenal memory for names.
Jeff is a master at “driving” an incredibly fun, fast-paced evening. He encourages bidding auction items, but without pressure (well, not too much). After having Jeff Kingsbury as our Wolves & Wine auctioneer for the past several years, we can guarantee that by the end of the night, your mouth will hurt and your stomach will ache from laughing so hard. He feels a compassion and commitment to Wolf Haven’s mission and always strives to ensure that Wolves & Wine is a success. We truly hope you will join us on September 30, 2017 for the seventh annual Wolves & Wine – and Wolf Haven’s 35th anniversary! PURCHASE TICKETS HERE.
More About Jeff
As an auctioneer, Jeff has helped raise funds for the American Heart Association, Colorado Epilepsy Foundation, The Pacific Symphony (Orange County), The Amarillo Symphony, and many deserving organizations in addition to Wolf Haven.
Stokes Auction Group
The company, located in Edgewood, Washington specializes in supporting non-profit agencies and charitable causes in reaching their fundraising goals. Their team provides seminars, pre-event consulting, on-site support, professional auctioneers, bid spotters and materials to support your event. They serve groups of all sizes in their efforts to achieve financial success.
Our Media Sponsor for this year’s event is South Sound Magazine. Look for our Wolves & Wine ad in their September issue!
At 17, Diablo defied the odds- most wolves never live to see their 10th birthday let alone their 17th – so we knew that we were on borrowed time. We realized that eventually his age would catch up with him and the day would come when we would need to say goodbye. That day came on Sunday, June 25.
Until nearly the end, Diablo enjoyed good quality of life. He had some age-related challenges; he had become hard of hearing, his vision wasn’t as sharp and he had generalized stiffness and weakness. This was particularly pronounced in his back-end, especially if he laid in the same spot for a long time and then tried to get up. All things considered, though, he was as spry as a 17 year-old wolf could be.
Diablo was immediately identifiable because of the twin notches in his ears. He was born at a zoo in Detroit, where it is believed that the notches were caused by sibling squabbles. Diablo came to live at Wolf Haven in 2004 when he was three years old.
A Mexican gray wolf, Diablo was a participant in a federally managed Species Survival Plan program designed to preserve the survival and health of this critically endangered subspecies of the gray wolf. His longstanding companion was Gypsy, a female Mexican wolf. Because their enclosure was on the public visitor route, over the years hundreds of people were privileged to see the beauty and unique coloration of this rare breed. Beyond this, though, visitors could bear witness to a bonded pair that carried themselves with dignity and grace.
Diablo was a teacher to us in so many ways and he undoubtedly touched everyone who encountered him. We were fortunate to have had the opportunity to care for him all these years but there is definitely a void in the sanctuary, not only for his longtime companion Gypsy, but for all of us.
Rest in peace sweet Diablo.
Lovingly written by Wendy Spencer and Kim Young
This is a wonderful blog post written about The Evergreen State College and WA State Department of Corrections Sustainability in Prisons Project. Inmate technicians were able to see first-hand the rare prairie that they are helping to restore. So many groups in the Pacific Northwest are dedicated to preserving and restoring our disappearing native prairies and we at Wolf Haven are grateful to all of them.
CLICK HERE to READ AND SEE PHOTOS of Sustainability in Prison’s Project prairie work.
Text by Jeanne Dodds, SPP Prairie Conservation Nursery Coordinator for Washington Corrections Center for Women and Photos by Ricky Osborne
Join us THURSDAY night at the OLYMPIA LIBRARY!
Thursday April 27
7:30 – 8:45 p.m.
Free – Adults
Each year, Earthbound Productions and the city of Olympia celebrate our natural world with a spectacular Procession of the Species through the streets of downtown. This year’s Procession will take place on Saturday 4/29 at 4:30 p.m. In conjunction with this event, Olympia Timberland Library annually features a book which highlights some aspect of nature.
This year’s featured book is “Wolf Haven: Sanctuary and the Future of Wolves in North America“, which honors wolves and was inspired by the beautiful wolves and work done at this nonprofit sanctuary. Celebrated photographer Annie Musselman and nature writer Brenda Peterson will be on hand to talk about how they became involved in the project, answer questions and sign copies of the book. Wolf Haven staff will also be present to talk about this very special collaboration, and Browser’s Books will have copies available for sale.
Spanish speakers welcomed! Interpretation will be available by a Mexican biologist from Wolf Haven. Hispano-hablantes son bienvenidos! Interpretación será provista por una bióloga mexicana de Wolf Haven.
Be sure not to miss this special event!