| Sarah Rudeen

Littleton Academy Students Discover Their Herculean Strength at Mission: Wolf

LA78“The gauntlet” – an expression used to describe a series of challenging circumstances that are met head-on in order to arrive at a final conclusion. The legendary tale of the Labors of Hercules serves as a perfect example. Whether it was the slaying of the multi-headed hydra, cleaning the massive Augean stables in a single day, or capturing the terrifying guardian of the underworld (Cerberus), Hercules needed to think quickly, display massive amounts of self-control, and channel his unworldly strength in order to come out on top. Too fictional to be true, right? It appears twenty-three 5th grade students from Littleton Academy must have brushed up on their Greek mythology, because the weekend (and weather) of May 14th tried everyone’s patience, strength, and intelligence.

Mission: Wolf, a wolf sanctuary nestled in a high-elevation desert plateau just southwest of Pueblo, served as the setting. The organization takes in wolves that are not fit for re-release into the wild and uses a small “ambassador pack” as an educational troupe that travels the country to dispel negative misconceptions about wolves. The Littleton Academy 5th graders soon realized that all the animals at Mission: Wolf needed to be cared for because of negative human influence. Some wolves were wrongfully raised to be pets while others were formerly involved in show business. Each wolf had a story and a personality that was shared by volunteer tour guides.

LA-7,LA-8_05.14-16.2016_127The Littleton Academy 5th grade class grew up fast on this trip, being asked to collect decomposed skeletal remains and bone scraps from “carcass canyon” (where else would wolf scraps end up?) and haul chainsawed tree fragments for road pick up in order to mitigate wildfires; all while hiking at a breathless elevation of 9,300 feet above sea level. A “Herculean” gauntlet, if you will.

The trip concluded with an intimate interaction with three members of the ambassador pack after a lesson-laden storytelling session by Mission: Wolf executive director, Kent Weber. By making connections between human and wolf behavior, Kent aimed to leave the 5th graders with a deeper understanding of interspecies communication: aggression being met with aggression, positive energy flow, body posturing, social hierarchies, etc. The conversation led students to think of people on their own lives who fill the roles of the “alpha” and the “omega,” each with its own purpose.

When the students were asked to compare their pre-trip expectations with their experience on the trip, the vast majority were blown away. Some students wished to stay longer! Cottonwood Institute was proud to lead Littleton Academy through this enlightening weekend of service and discovery. Hats off to everyone involved!

Written by: CI Instructor, Jared “Ms. Hannigan” Ozga

Want to see more photos from this trip? Check out our Shutterfly share site! Click Here.


Categories: Cottonwood Institute News, Littleton Academy, Mission: Wolf

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One Response to “Littleton Academy Students Discover Their Herculean Strength at Mission: Wolf”

  1. Animal Rescue

    I would have absolutely loved that trip when I was a kid. In fact, I still would now! Great to hear about children getting out and learning about things like this.


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