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Special Programs Coordinator Job Opening

Posted by on Sep 8, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Special Programs Coordinator Job Opening

The Endangered Wolf Center is hiring! If you’re passionate about conservation, nature, wolves and events, the Special Programs Coordinator job could be for you. You will be responsible for planning and successfully executing special programs at the Center, including private events, overnight campout programs, corporate programs and more. You will also be responsible for our volunteer program, including volunteer recruitment, training, scheduling and evaluating. For more information about the position and how to apply, see the posting below:

Organization: Endangered Wolf Center (AZA Member)

Location: Eureka, Missouri, United States

Job or Internship: Job

Job Description: Special Programs Coordinator

Reports to: Director of Education and Operations

Job Summary:

The Special Programs Coordinator will be responsible for planning and successfully executing a multitude of special programs at the Center.  This person will plan and execute all special programs for the Center, including private events, overnight campout programs, corporate programs and any other program as assigned.  This person will also be responsible for our volunteer program, including all volunteer recruitment, training, scheduling and evaluating.

 

This is an hourly, full-time position that will work 40 hours per week.  The work schedule will vary based off of program bookings.

Responsibilities:

• Successfully plan and execute a variety of special programs, including but not limited to overnight campouts, private events and corporate programs.

  • Successfully manage the Center’s volunteer program, including all volunteer recruitment, training, scheduling and evaluating.

 

  • Serve as program animal handler for some programs.
  • Perform other duties as assigned by the Director of Education and Operations.

    Required Qualifications:

    • Experience with event planning.

    • Experience recruiting, training, scheduling and evaluating volunteers.

 

  • Professional, can-do attitude.

    • Ability to work a fluctuating schedule.

  • Captivating and dynamic personality.

 

  • Experience with educating groups of people, both children and adults.

 

  • Willingness to participate in our Docent training course if not already completed.
  • Able to establish and maintain good working relationships with other departments.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s Degree

Compensation dependent on experience.  Range between $10 and $12 per hour.  Benefits package included.

Email resume and cover letter to Ashley Rearden, Director of Education and Operations at [email protected] by September 22. No phone calls please.  Messages will not be returned.

EWC Earns Three AAZK Awards

Posted by on Sep 5, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on EWC Earns Three AAZK Awards

St. Louis Chapter of American Association of Zoo Keepers
Awarded 2017 Chapter of the Year

Last week the St. Louis Chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) was awarded the 2017 Barbara Manspeaker AAZK Chapter of the Year award at the annual AAZK National Conference in Washington, D.C. The chapter was recognized for its leadership in advancing the animal care profession, dedication to the association and for promoting conservation to the general public.

Among the members of the AAZK St. Louis Chapter are animal care professionals, employees, docents and volunteers at Endangered Wolf Center, Grant’s Farm, Saint Louis Zoo and World Bird Sanctuary.

Emma receiving 2017 AAZK Merit Award

Additionally, the Endangered Wolf Center received the 2017 Certificate of Merit for Zoo Keeper Education, recognizing the team’s efforts to promote continuing education through workshops, including an annual Recovery Species Husbandry Workshop in which animal care staff from around the country travel to the EWC to receive hands-on training to learn handling and care protocols for the critically endangered Mexican and red wolf species.

Also at the AAZK annual conference EWC keeper Emma Miller presented a poster describing the EWC’s role in the first Mexican wolf pups born at the Center being fostered into a wild litter in Arizona and New Mexico. The poster, written with lead keeper Tracy Rein and director of animal care and conservation Regina Mossotti, won the Ribbon of Excellence from AAZK.

Emma Miller at AAZK

The Endangered Wolf Center is proud to have such a dedicated animal care team and to partner with the amazing animal care organizations in St. Louis and around the country.

AAZK Awards 2017

About St. Louis Chapter of American Association of Zoo Keepers
St. Louis Chapter of American Association of Zoo Keepers is a group of dedicated animal care professionals and enthusiasts who are striving to make a difference in the animal care and conservation profession. The chapter hosts fundraising events and activities throughout the year to raise money and awareness for animals in need and serve as advocates for wildlife conservation and professional animal care. The chapter is also dedicated to advancing the field of animal care. For more information, visit stlaazk.org.

About the American Association of Zoo Keepers
The American Association of Zoo Keepers, Inc. began in 1967 in San Diego, California, to promote professionalism in zoo keeping through education of zoological staff members in the most modern and current techniques of captive exotic animal care. AAZK’s mission is to provide a resource and forum for continuing education for animal care professionals and to support zoo and aquarium personnel in their roles as animal care givers, scientific researchers, public educators and conservationists. The organization is also committed to promoting zoos and aquariums as cultural establishments dedicated to the enrichment of human and natural resources and to fostering an exchange of research materials, enrichment options and husbandry information through publications and conferences which will lead to a greater understanding of the needs and requirements of all animals. Membership is at approximately 2,800 and includes individuals at all levels of zoo staff from directors, curators and veterinarians to keepers, animal health technicians, volunteers and students. Members are from 48 of the 50 States, 5 Canadian Provinces and 24 foreign countries, and they represent nearly 250 animal-related facilities. For more information, visit aazk.org.

Meet Lucky, the first cross-fostered maned wolf pup

Posted by on Jul 18, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Meet Lucky, the first cross-fostered maned wolf pup

Lucky is making news – and history – as the first-ever cross-fostered maned wolf.

The Endangered Wolf Center recently teamed up with the Smithsonian National Zoo’s Conservation Biology Institute and Zoo Boise in what has become the first ever attempt to foster a maned wolf.

It’s a success story born out of peril. Born May 5 to a maned wolf at Zoo Boise who was unable to raise her litter, “Lucky” was the only surviving pup. Zoo Boise hand-raised her for about a week, hoping to soon foster her into another maned wolf family. Because of our expertise in raising wolf pups, the Endangered Wolf Center got the call.

Regina Mossotti, EWC Director of Animal Care and Conservation, flew to Boise to pick up Lucky and took her to the Smithsonian’s Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia for a foster opportunity with a maned wolf at their facility. But cross-fostering is no guarantee, and after an unsuccessful attempt, Regina brought Lucky home to the EWC.

Already she was living up to her name. As luck would have it, a domestic female dog with a litter close in age and size to Lucky was made available to the EWC. Domestic dogs are actually great foster dog candidates because their milk is healthier than formula for pups (which was especially important as Lucky was under weight). Plus, dogs speak a closer language to maned wolves than humans do, which will help in the transition when she is introduced to the adult maned wolves at the EWC. Jacqui, a Labrador mix, bonded with Lucky immediately, nursed and cared for her as one of her own pups.

Nicknamed for her survivor instincts, Lucky had grown from less than a pound to 11 pounds at 11 weeks, and continues to grow and thrive with her foster family. Her size is no measure for her big personality. “She’s a strong pup,” Regina boasts. “She’s a fighter – and a survivor. And so intelligent, too. She outsmarts her foster puppy brothers and sisters, figuring out puzzles and showing a ton of curiosity.”

Lucky for us, her personality makes Lucky the perfect ambassador for her species. Never before has a maned wolf been available for human interaction – up close and personal – to educate the public about the species. She and the staff at EWC are happy to tell her story, which is not only heartwarming, but an example of the critical, cutting-edge conservation efforts at the EWC in the name of preserving and protecting the species.

To that end, soon Lucky will be introduced to Nopal, the male maned wolf at the EWC with the hope he will bond with her, help raise her and show her the ropes when it comes to being a maned wolf.

To schedule an interview with Lucky, at the Endangered Wolf Center or at your location, call 636-938-5900.

Learn more about Maned Wolves

World’s first Mexican wolf pup born from artificially inseminated frozen/thawed semen

Posted by on Apr 26, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on World’s first Mexican wolf pup born from artificially inseminated frozen/thawed semen

Partnership of Government, Institutions Achieved Reproductive Breakthrough for Critically Endangered Species

April 2 marked a historic first in conservation. An endangered Mexican wolf, Vera, gave birth to a tiny male pup conceived by artificial insemination, using sperm that was preserved by freezing.

“This little pup offers new hope,” said Virginia Busch, Executive Director of the Endangered Wolf Center (EWC). “To succeed in conserving a species, many tools are needed in our proverbial ‘toolbox.’ Using frozen semen will help maintain the genetic and overall health of the critically endangered Mexican wolf population by allowing scientists to draw from a larger pool of genes—wolves at other institutions and also deceased individuals.”

A decrease in genetic diversity can compromise a population by increasing the incidence of low birth weights, reducing litter sizes and raising the mortality rate of pups. Reproductive technologies, such as frozen semen and artificial insemination, were developed to support gene diversity by allowing reproduction between genetically valuable individuals at different locations and even after natural death of a male.

This pup was born at the EWC using sperm collected by Saint Louis Zoo research and animal health staff in January 2015 from a male Mexican wolf at the EWC and stored at the Saint Louis Zoo’s cryopreservation gene bank—one of the world’s largest gene banks established specifically for the long-term conservation of an endangered species.

The nonsurgical transcervical intrauterine insemination of the female wolf was performed at the EWC on Jan. 27, 2017 by Dr. Bruce Christensen, DVM, Assistant Professor of Population Health & Reproduction, University of California-Davis with assistance of the Saint Louis Zoo animal health staff.

Wolves are keystone species, and as scientists have learned with the reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone, they are a vital part of keeping the plants and animals in an ecosystem healthy. The Mexican wolf was eliminated from the wild in the United States in the 1970s and from Mexico in the1980s.

 

Once the captive population grew large enough, FWS launched a reintroduction program in 1998 with the release of 11 Mexican wolves into the wild in Arizona and New Mexico. Now, Mexican wolves are found mostly in the United States, in Arizona, New Mexico.  In addition, there are approximately 230 captive wolves in the care of more than 50 institutions both in the United States and Mexico.

“While the captive program has prevented the extinction of  the Mexican wolf, with only roughly 130 Mexican wolves in the wild today, we still have a lot of work to do to in order to recover the species,” said Peter Siminski, The Living Desert’s Director of Conservation, Chair of the SSP and a member of the Mexican Wolf Recovery Team. “We are hopeful the wild populations will benefit from these reproductive technologies, as well.”

In 1990, at the request of FWS, the Saint Louis Zoo, established a frozen semen bank for the FWS Mexican Wolf Recovery Program and the SSP. In the beginning, Dr. Asa and Saint Louis Zoo Laboratory Manager Karen Bauman and animal health team worked in collaboration with the Endangered Wolf Center to collect wolf semen to bank for potential future use from wolves housed at the Center for potential future use. But by the early 2000’s, the wolf population in managed care grew larger and the Dr. Asa and Karen Bauman expanded their collection efforts, traveling around the country to collect wolf semen to bank from many different facilities in the Species Survival Plan.

Today, the frozen zoo—or combined gene bank—located at the Saint Louis Zoo and at the Chapultepec Zoo in Mexico contains genetic materials from over 200 male and female Mexican wolves.

“The birth of a pup at the Endangered Wolf Center represents a major breakthrough and is a remarkable example of institutional collaboration between the Saint Louis Zoo, the Endangered Wolf Center (EWC), The Living Desert, the University of California-Davis, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP),” said Dr. Cheryl Asa, retired Director of the AZA Reproductive Management Center at the Saint Louis Zoo, who for more than 25 years has worked with other national and international organizations to save the Mexican wolf. The EnBusch added, “Collaboration is key to conservation success, and the Endangered Wolf Center is proud to partner with the Saint Louis Zoo, The Living Desert, the FWS, universities and all of the SSP institutions to help save this amazing wolf.”

Thanks to the work of these organizations, the howl of the Mexican wolf, missing from the landscape for more than 30 years, can once again be heard in the mountains of northwestern Mexico and southwestern United States

African painted dog talk highlights positives

Posted by on Mar 10, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on African painted dog talk highlights positives

Given that he was talking about an endangered species, it was refreshing to hear Dr. Greg Rasmussen sound so many optimistic tones during his talk on African painted dogs March 8, 2017 at the Endangered Wolf Center.

Dr. Greg Rasmussen arriving at the Saint Louis Zoo after his visit to the Endangered Wolf Center March 8-9, 2017.

Rasmussen even used the term “Map of Opportunity” when he displayed a map showing where African painted dogs can be found in national parks in five African nations that have united to create the Kavango Zambezi trans-frontier Conservation area (KAZA),  the largest trans-boundary conservation area in Africa. Here under one conservation umbrella, painted dogs in Angola, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia have the potential to thrive and expand, Rasmussen said, though he did discuss the need to “shore up” and connect the area. (He said about 3,000 dogs live in protected areas, another 2,000 in unprotected areas.)

He discussed technological improvements in solar-powered tracking collars that also carry metal guards that protect painted dogs from wire snares that poachers use in an illegal bush meat trade. Snares are a major cause of painted dog deaths even though the snares aren’t intended for them.

Rasmussen was the founder of Painted Dog Conservation and currently runs Painted Dog Research Trust in Zimbabwe. He spoke to an audience of about 40 at the Endangered Wolf Center Speaker Series — his fifth appearance at the Center — during his annual tour of painted dog facilities and conservation organizations in the United States and Europe. The night after his visit to the Endangered Wolf Center, he appeared at the Saint Louis Zoo Lectures series.

Five African painted dogs currently live at the Endangered Wolf Center. Three males arrived the day after Rasmussen’s talk, transferring from the Henson Robinson Zoo in Springfield, Illinois, in hopes that they breed with the two females already here.

Among other highlights noted by Rasmussen:

  • Progress is visible on the African Ecology Training Center for young aspiring biologists and conservationists. He encouraged audience members to donate via a GoFundMe campaign at www.gofundme.com/PDRTZimbabwe
  • Plans are being drawn for a school for local village children, who currently walk about 15 miles to school.
  • Enough evidence exists to shut down shady tour operators — some operating under the guise of “pseudo-researchers” — who disturb the dens of African painted dogs, threatening their very survival.

Shaba, a female African painted dog at the Endangered Wolf Center. Photo by Michelle Steinmeyer.

The progress regarding den disturbance was especially pleasing to audience members who heard Rasmussen in 2016, when he also talked about that grave threat. Since then, he said, research has been compiled that may soon lead to shutting down the operations of irresponsible tour operators.

The research shows that when dens are disturbed, pups are moved more often, resulting in a 30 percent increase in pup deaths. Pups involved in frequent moves play about two hours less per day than pups in undisturbed dens. Pups from disturbed dens are fed less, and their legs end up about 7 percent shorter than those in undisturbed dens.

Rasmussen noted the value of eco-tourism. But safeguards are needed, he said. “In Yellowstone, you can see wolves. But no one’s allowed anywhere near a wolf den — and that’s it.”

He also made these comments and observations about African painted dogs:

  • “They have a Three Musketeers attitude: All for one, one for all.”
  • “There’s no conflict in the pack, no fighting, no dominance — ever.”
  • “Every morning, every dog in the pack greets every other dog.”
  • “Their eyes are never bigger than their stomach.” (He said that two dogs can kill a 600-pound kudu in 60 seconds but would only do so if there were enough mouths to feed.)
  • “By age 1, the pups will have determined their alpha,” the smartest in the pack, not necessary the largest.

The Speaker Series appearance took place at Washington University’s Tyson Research Center Living Learning Center. The Endangered Wolf Center is located on property it rents from Tyson Research Center.

Watch us on ‘Great Day St. Louis’

Posted by on Jan 13, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Watch us on ‘Great Day St. Louis’

Click here to watch Matt Chambers’ interview with Endangered Wolf Center Executive Director Virginia Busch, which was aired live Jan. 3, 2017 on the “In the Spotlight” segment of “Great Day St. Louis” on KMOV.

‘Working to save wild canids’

Posted by on Jan 9, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on ‘Working to save wild canids’

Here’s a link to “Working to save wild canid species from extinction,” an article by Regina Mossotti, our Director of Animal Care and Conservation. It appeared in “Nature’s Newsletter,” a publication of the Delaware Valley Eagle Alliance.  The article begins on Page 8.

The article begins with Mossotti noting “an increasing disconnect between younger individuals and their understanding of why zoos and other captive facilities still exist.”

Regina Mossotti (at right), Director of Animal Care and Conservation at the Endangered Wolf Center, during a check of a wolf pup with Stephanie Arnie of “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.”

 

Our 2017 events, camps & programs

Posted by on Dec 16, 2016 in Blog | Comments Off on Our 2017 events, camps & programs

2017 Calendar of Events

 

Trivia

Friday, Feb. 10, Kirkwood Community Center

 

Volunteer Appreciation Dinner

Sunday, April 9, location to be determined

 

Wolves & Wine Auction

Friday, April 21, Selkirk Auctioneers and Appraisers

 

Polo

Saturday, Aug. 19, Defiance, Missouri

(Rain date, Sept. 23)

Ava Dharna poses with a raven at Wolf Fest 2016. The raven was one of many exotic animals brought to Wolf Fest by Conservation Ambassadors . Endangered Wolf Center photo.

Wolf Fest

Saturday, Oct. 21, Endangered Wolf Center

 

Members’ Day

Saturday, Nov. 11, Endangered Wolf Center

 

Holiday Boutique

Saturday, Dec. 2, Endangered Wolf Center

 

2017 Education Programs

 

January

7-Campfire Wolf Howl

14-Winter Wolf Camp

21-Fennec Fox Howl

 

February

4-Campfire Wolf Howl

11-Wine and Chocolate Valentine’s Day Howl

Daisy the fennec fox is a mainstay at Foxy Friday Wolf Howls, and frequently appears at outreaches. She also appeared at Wolves & Wine in 2016. Endangered Wolf Center photo by Michelle Steinmeyer.

25-Fennec Fox Howl

 

March

4-Campfire Wolf Howl

10-Campfire Wolf Howl

13-Spring Wolf Camp session 1

18-Fennec Fox Howl

20-Spring Wolf Camp session 2

24-Foxy Friday Wine and Cheese Howl

25-Campfire Wolf Howl

31-Campfire Wolf Howl

 

April

8-Mini Camp

28-Movie Night Foxy Friday

May

5-Cinco de Mayo Foxy Friday

6-Mini Camp

26-Movie Night Foxy Friday

 

June

11-Messy Play Day

12-16-Summer Wolf Camp (ages 6-12) session 1

19-23-Summer Wolf Camp (ages 6-12) session 2

24-Fennec Fox Howl

26-30-Summer Wolf Camp (ages 6-12) session 3

Messy Play Days are scheduled for June, July and August in 2017. Endangered Wolf Center photo.

July

5-7-Summer Pup Camp (ages 4&5)

7-Foxy Friday Wine and Cheese Howl

9-Messy Play Day

10-14-Summer Wolf Camp (ages 6-12) session 4

17-21-Summer Wolf Camp (ages 6-12) session 5

22-Fennec Fox Howl

24-27-Summer Wolf Camp (teens)

 

August

4-Foxy Friday Wine and Cheese Howl

13-Messy Play Day

September

2-Campfire Wolf Howl

16-Fennec Fox Howl

22-Foxy Friday Wine and Cheese Howl

30-Campfire Wolf Howl

 

October

7-Campfire Wolf Howl

13-Oktoberfest Foxy Friday (beer and brats)

14-Fall Wolf Camp

27-Campfire Wolf Howl

28-Howl-o-ween Wolf Howl

 

November

3-Foxy Friday Wine and Cheese Wolf Howl

4-Campfire Wolf Howl

18-Fennec Fox Howl

25-Campfire Wolf Howl

 

December

9-Campfire Wolf Howl

15-Foxy Friday Wine and Cheese Wolf Howl

23-Campfire Wolf Howl

 

 

 

Trivia Night sponsors and donors

Posted by on Dec 15, 2016 in Blog | Comments Off on Trivia Night sponsors and donors

Trivia Night 2017 was held at the Kirkwood Community Center. The event once again sold out: All 40 tables were sold but guests at two of them were unable to attend.

Our Trivia Night 2017 was a fun and successful fundraiser for the Endangered Wolf Center.

Thanks to all who took part, and to those who sponsored the event – especially Event Sponsor Jay Smith – or donated prizes. Trivia Night 2017 was held Friday Feb. 10 at the Kirkwood Community Center, 111 South Geyer Road.

More than 300 players competed, with the winning team – table #31 – getting 96 of 100 answers correct. The second and third teams had 93 and 92 correct.

This year, we added a VIP table level, where guests got to meet and be photographed with ambassador animals before the Trivia contest, including our fennec fix Daisy and McGwire the World Bird Sanctuary bald eagle. Our western hognose snake Clay was on hand (literally) as were a pair of parrots. VIPs enjoyed table service – no waiting in line for beer, soda, water or snacks – plus preferred seating. If you weren’t a VIP this year, you’ll probably want to enjoy its advantages next year.

All guests over age 21 enjoyed free Budweiser, Bud Light and Michelob Ultra, thanks to the generosity of Grey Eagle Distributors. And all guests were welcome to soda, water and snacks.

We’d like to thank and acknowledge these sponsors and donors:

Trivia Night 2017 Sponsors

Event Sponsors:

Jay Smith

Gift Shop Sponsor:

Virgil and Sandra VanTrease

Harvest Plaza Animal Hospital

Beverage Sponsors:

Connor, Penny & Fiona Anderson and Stella Amsinger

St. Charles Animal Hospital and Clinic

Round Sponsors:

Round 1:

William Meyer and Christine Meyer

Linda Reifschneider, President, Asian Elephants Support – www.asianelephantssupport.org

Round 2:

George and Lee Weber

Paul and Karen Kipp and Friends

Round 3:

The Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic

Dedicated to Dora, Mommy’s Baby – The Kriegh Family

Round 4:

Carolyn and Terry Ryan

Wayne Norwood

Round 5:

Cheryl Morrow

Caroline Saunders

Round 6:

Gerry Hufker and Celeste Ruwwe

Round 7:

The Broom Family

Tre, Maxine, Bradley, and Dorothy May in memory of Maverick and Bob

 Round 8:

The Kostman Family

And thanks to these donors for providing gift cards, gift certificates and items for our raffles, silent auctions, door prizes and table prizes, or other services that made the night possible:

Alpine Shop

AMC Theaters

Anonymous

Applebee’s

Are We There Yet? LLC

Auto Zone

Bandana’s

Chandler Hill Vineyards

Cheesecake Factory

Cracker Barrel

Chris’ Pancake House

Chuck Boots

Citizen Kane’s Steak House

Clayton Pilates Studio

Columbia Golf Club

CQ Express Car Wash

Dickerson Park Zoo

Drury Hotels

Fairmount Park

Funny Bone West Port Plaza

Gateway Grizzles

Grant’s Farm

Grey Eagle Distributors

Ices Plain and Fancy

Imo’s Pizza

Kaldi’s Coffee

Kennelwood

Lazy River Grill

Maritz

Old Spaghetti Factory

Pietro’s

Pi’s Pizza

PRP Wines

Rock n Brews

Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Saint Louis Zoo

Soulard Coffee Garden

Sugarfire

Three Sixty

Tower Tee Golf Complex

Urban Chestnut Brewing Co.

Urban Feed and Supply

Weber Grill

The Wine Merchant

The Wolf Café

Melissa Stagnaro

Lee Streett

Mr. C. Stephen Kriegh and Dr. Pamella S. Gronemeyer

Rachel Broom

Julie Tasch

Jen Backer

Glen Boggs

Jack Hagedorn

Jim Kuchar

Sandy and Tim O’Shaughnessy

Michelle Steinmeyer

Chris Weber

As always, our volunteers are essential to making this night successful. We greatly appreciate them. Special thanks to Jack Hagedorn for asking the trivia questions and entertaining the audience and to Chris Weber for providing the sound and visual systems.

Executive Director Virginia Busch’s message

Posted by on Dec 12, 2016 in Blog | Comments Off on Executive Director Virginia Busch’s message

(The message below from Executive Director Virginia Busch appears in the Endangered Wolf Center’s Winter 2016 Magazine. The current issue and previous issues are available on our website.)

Dear Friends of the Endangered Wolf Center,

I decided to get inspired while writing this article by going outside. Sitting with the warm sun on my face, a cool autumn breeze, birds singing and leaves rustling gives me a sense of clarity and calmness that I find difficult to obtain when at a desk under fluorescent lights.

I am saddened that as a society we have to label what once was an everyday activity for most of America’s children 30 years ago; going outside and digging in the dirt, making forts and catching lightning bugs is now called “nature play.”

The Endangered Wolf Center offers many opportunities to get back into nature. Our educational programs allow both adults and children to become intimate again with nature to heighten all five senses.

Year-end giving is upon us and I am delighted to rise to the challenge of a $50,000 matching grant generously offered by the Joanne Woodward Trust, Clea Newman Soderlund and the August A. Busch III Charitable Trust. Every dollar donated through the end of the year will be matched up to $50,000. This challenge grant marks a milestone for the Endangered Wolf Center as the largest in our history. As an organization that has experienced tremendous growth in the past three years, this grant symbolizes the faith that our stakeholders have in the continued success of the Center. (Update: The challenge grant was met.)

While our mission has always remained the same – to breed, reintroduce and educate – the educational component has become much more important in our fast-changing society. The Center has expanded all aspects of our education programming – tours, field trips, outreach, scout groups, distance learning and camp experiences – to focus on affecting change quickly. This increased effort ties in very nicely to what scientists and researchers already know as invaluable access to the outdoors and nature play. The benefits are boundless – increased focus in schoolwork, decrease in depression-related illnesses, increase in self esteem, overall sense of happiness, better conflict resolution and the list goes on. (Here are links to two insightful studies: Does Nature Make Us Happy? American Institutes for Research 2005 study.)

The Center is dedicated to continuing to expand our educational programing to all urban areas of St. Louis where nature relatedness is much needed. A large project we are focused on for 2017 is adding a new education/multipurpose building. This building will allow us to accommodate hundreds of programs and reach many more children in the metropolitan area. I invite you, our longstanding supporters, to contribute to our challenge grant. Year-end donations will support the operational cost of the Center and allow our staff to focus on raising the final funds to support a new educational building.

I wish each and every one of you a joyous and fulfilling Holiday Season. Thank you for your continued support of our great mission.

Virginia Busch
Executive Director