Posted October 25th, 2012
The Christ Church in Sparkill held its third annual EcoDay and fifth annual Blessing of the Animals on October 13, with presentations by beekeeper Ron Breland and representatives from the Wolf Conservation Center – including one of the wolves.
The purpose of this day, according to Father Tom Faulkner, is to thank God for the world and the environment, and for protecting both people and animals. It is also about educating people, particularly the younger generation, about how to live a greener, more eco-friendly lifestyle.
This year, for the first time, representatives from the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) were in attendance. With them was Atka, a 10-year-old arctic grey wolf who serves as “wolf ambassador.” The center is located in South Salem, N.Y. and is a private not-for-profit group established in 1999 that rescues wolves as part of the Species Survival Plan Program.
Of the 25 wolves currently being housed at the Center, some serve as part of the educational facility and are known as ambassadors. Atka is the only one of these who travels for presentations. He was brought through the church and blessed by Father Tom.
A lot of information was given about wild wolves, including the fact that they are afraid of humans and will shy away from them. Information about color, communication, methods of marking territory, and hunting habits were also given, but the most important fact to have taken away from the day was that wolves are by no means pets.
When asked if the audience was allowed to pet Atka, speaker Maggie Howell, WCC managing director, said, “We really don’t want to do that when we’re doing our presentations because we want people to understand what and who he is.”