On a sunny Monday morning, a group of DCS Montessori students stood outside their school, patiently awaiting the arrival of the chariots that would whisk them off into the wild blue yonder. Beyond Colorado Springs, beyond Pueblo, and beyond Granby, there lies a place called Mission: Wolf, which would be the setting of these students’ grand adventure.
Cottonwood Institute Instructors Miranda and Zach arrived in front of the school and grinned their mischievous grins, knowing that they would be inviting students to partake in magnificent and unprecedented challenges over the coming days. Indeed, after a long drive punctuated by the students’ music, the youngsters were introduced to their first set of challenges: they learned to make an empty forest area into a home, with proper tent and tarp techniques, and even complete with their very own hand-dug latrine (a.k.a. the “master bathroom”).
During the first day at Mission: Wolf, students were introduced to wolf ecology and learned about the myriad ways in which wolves impact their ecosystem. The group geared up to fight cold temperatures, donning jackets, hats, and gloves. Newly warmed, the group had the honor of participating in a service project—landscaping Mission: Wolf’s new visitor center area and planting a blend of Colorado native grass seeds, with the intention of creating a greener, more fire-proof environment that would keep the wolves’ home safe through a hot, dry summer.
Speaking of hot and dry, the following day was none of those things. In fact, it was precisely the opposite. Menacing cold and wet weather started to set in. The group worked further on their service project through the beginnings of hail, and finally made the call to head home and get out of the potentially dangerous weather. But not before meeting the wolves! The students met Kent, the founder of Mission: Wolf, and had the opportunity to sit inside wolf enclosures and get up close and personal with five big, furry, and surprisingly friendly critters.
The trip closed out with a final bonus day on Friday, hosted at school with the help of teachers Mike and Erika! Cottonwood instructors journeyed back to DCS Montessori to finish their adventure with this group of students, complete with a morning of leadership activities and an afternoon of s’mores. Students were sent home with their sweet tooth satisfied, and their minds inspired.
Written by Cottonwood Institute Instructor Miranda Viorst
See more photos from the trip here!
Learn more about CI’s Endangered Wolves Project.