May 14, 2016
I have never been to the U.S. wolf refuge before today and boy am I glad I went. I first met volunteer coordinator Britt Straw at Wolf Stock 2015. I was a lucky winner of a few items from the fundraiser raffle. I continued to see Britt at different events and at Earth Day 2016. I even purchased a wolf hair necklace for my girlfriend from a local boutique. I then decided, as a UNR alumni, I have to know more about the wolves, which was when I decided to volunteer. Britt said that they would be meeting soon to take a group out to the refuge in the coming weeks.
As we approached the refuge by car it felt like we were entering a foreign landscape. I have traveled all over this area but didn't even realize what a beautiful area this is until now. The rolling hills and canyons seemed to go on forever covered with different plant life than is found in the surrounding urban areas. As we approached the site, howling and frantic barking displayed that the pack was excited to see us.
We were 12 strong for the day: a father and his two sons, a young couple, a visiting photographer and wolf enthusiast, Britt and Josh, Bill, Shellie, her friend Donna and myself. Bill started off by letting us know he wanted a new set of stairs to provide better access down one of the slopes to the enclosures. Previously care takers would have to enter an enclosure for 4 wolves to access the enclosures at a lower elevation. The new stairs would allow access to the lower elevation without having to cross through an active enclosure.
A small group of us began work clearing the area for the stairs and cutting wood for each step. Another group helped to unload and move cinder blocks from a trailer to the location of a new enclosure. The rest took to the enclosures and provided the wolves with food and water and worked on sanitation.
At the end of the day we built a new set of stairs and all the wolves seemed happy with all the extra love and attention.
"We haven't accomplished that much in probably two years", Bill commented.
I was glad I was able to help and eager to return. I was able to take a few close up photos with the wolves which was so rewarding. I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn about the wolves and see them first hand on their home turf. I highly recommend it for anyone who loves nature and animals! Bring your children, bring your significant other, bring your parents ... lend and hand and enjoy the beauty!