On May 6th-8th, twelve students from STRIVE Prep – Sunnyside got to spend a weekend howling with the wolves of Mission:Wolf. Arriving on this trip with various levels of camping experience, STRIVE Prep – Sunnyside students challenged themselves over the weekend to try new things and experience their fears and excitement alongside their peers. Students made the long journey and traveled down to Westcliffe, CO to visit and meet some of the wolves of Mission:Wolf up-close and personal. We all received a welcoming lick on the face as reward for the trust and respect they shared with the wolves. Students combated the prejudice wolves have historically experienced through people’s fear by recognizing the tremendous part these animals play within the ecosystems they live in.
Students learned how they could work together by completing two little service projects around the grounds to help the wolves. We worked together to gather rocks on the hillside, and used them to build a small retention rock wall along the parking lot. We also weeded the sustainable garden at Mission:Wolf. There were so many new experiences to be had. While some students were apprehensive about sleeping in tents, going on a night hike, or even just the prospect of eating pizza rice, each and every student pushed themselves by partaking in these new endeavors and laughing with their friends along the way.
As a group, we played camouflage to discuss predator-prey behaviors, worked on single match fire making skills, helped with cooking and cleaning meals, ate s’mores around the campfire both evenings, and practiced the difficult art of being comfortable in the solitude of sit spots. We all challenged ourselves by being in a foreign environment and fully embraced the experience by howling with the wolves. The students had a wonderful experience learning about the wolves and spending time in their habitat.
Thank you Mission:Wolf for your continued partnership that makes these trips possible!
Written by Cottonwood Institute Instructor Johnny English
See more photos from our trip here!