WOLF AWARENESS WEEK, 2011
by Scotti Cohn of Jewelry by Scotti
Since 1990, the third week of October has been proclaimed Wolf Awareness Week (WAW) across America. The purpose is to acknowledge the critical role wolves play in our natural landscapes and to involve people in learning what they can do to promote wolf survival.
I first became interested in wolves about ten or eleven years ago after a particularly vivid dream. During the years that followed, I learned as much as I could about wolves. Ultimately, this interest led me to write a children's picture book, One Wolf Howls, published in 2009 by Sylvan Dell Publishing.
I donate a percentage of my royalties from One Wolf Howls to Wolf Park in Battle Ground, Indiana. Visit their web site to learn more about them: http://www.wolfpark.org/ . You may also want to check out Monty Sloan's wonderful photographs on the Photo of the Day site: http://www.wolfpark.net/ .
I was privileged to visit Wolf Park on two occasions, and to have my picture taken with some of their socialized wolves. Wolf Park's specialty is wolf awareness, particularly concerning the gray wolf.
These days, I do school visits and other types of programs in which I talk about the behavior of wolves and their role in nature. For example, in November I will be talking to my local Sierra Club about wolves.
I hasten to add that I am not a "wolf expert." However, when it comes to "wolf awareness", I think it's important to note a couple of things. First, there is a lot of controversy surrounding wolves and their place in our world. If you talk to a rancher in Idaho or Montana, you will get a very different message about wolves from what you might get if you talk to a conservationist or wildlife defender. If you are trying to learn more about wolves, carefully consider the sources you access and what their agenda might be. Don't be too quick to form an opinion.
Second, I would like people to be aware of how wolves contribute to the health and welfare of our natural world. In the past, children were told stories of the "big bad wolf" and given a very one-sided view of wolves. Things have improved a bit in that area, but we still need to do a better job. Here is a link to a document called "What good are wolves?" compiled by naturalist Norman A. Bishop: http://discoverycenter.net/assets/files/timberwolf/What_Good_Are_Wolves.pdf . Bishop does an excellent job of navigating the complex relationships between humans, predators, prey, and our environment.
For children, I recommend the BoomerWolf web site. Here's a link to a page on the site that has a ton of child-friendly information about wolves: http://www.boomerwolf.com/wolfwrld.htm . Links to more of my favorite wolf-related internet sources are provided on my One Wolf Howls web site: http://onewolfhowls.blogspot.com/ .
I hope this post leads at least a few people to become more aware and informed about wolves.
Hugs and Howls,