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Jenn Wissmann
Fall 2016

Since I was a little girl, I have always had a great admiration for all wildlife, especially wolves. Being able to spend the last four months living side-by-side with these animals has changed my life. My experience at WERC has given me a different outlook on nature and really the whole world. Before I arrived in Winchester, I thought I knew a lot about the animals I’d come to care for but I was definitely proven wrong within the first few days.

I’ve learned so much about wolves and myself these past few months that it’s difficult to tell just one particular moving moment I’ve had during my stay. But looking back, I do believe one of the most unforgettable moments I’ve had took place during an enclosure walk. It was a cool October morning when I was in the middle of checking up on the girls. When I ventured towards what we refer to as the summit area of the enclosure I spotted XayXayx standing at the fence line, staring off into the distant trees. Her eyes locked onto mine as I approached and sat down only a few feet away from her. After a few minutes, she finally laid down her eyes once again resting on the trees on the far hillside. I sat there with her for a while until I saw KucKuc approach from the path below us. I could tell KucKuc was cautiously inching closer. She stood near XayXayx for a few minutes; I could feel her eyes on me and knew she was weary of how close I was. Always keeping XayXayx between us but to my amazement, KucKuc laid down a couple of feet behind XayXayx. For about thirty minutes, I sat there, closer than I ever had been, with the girls just relaxing and enjoying their company. It was truly a peaceful, amazing moment between the wolves and I. Having fought to earn the trust of these non-social wolves for the previous three months, I was happy they had finally trusted me enough to relax and rest only a few feet away from me. I had never felt such peace as I had during that short time spent with the girls.

The last few months here at WERC have flown by and now it’s time for me to say goodbye. This experience has only proven to me that this- working with wildlife especially wolves- is what I want to do with my life. During my future endeavors, I’ll look back on my time here and the memories I made with Jeremy, the interns: Danae and Lindsey and the wolves and I’ll smile knowing they have had an ever lasting impact on my life.

How Your Donation Helps! $15,200

Intern Experience

$8,000 - INTERN EXPERIENCE A hallmark of WERC's 20 years caring for wolves is the ability to teach countless interns who come from under and post graduate programs around the world. Each intern spends a summer (and sometimes longer) in the wilderness under the care and instruction of our biologist Jeremy Heft. And since Jeremy began as an intern, we know this program works to create deep conviction and understanding in tomorrow's veterinary, biology, and ecology leaders. Program costs includes modest stipends paid to interns weekly to cover their food and incidental costs and insurance necessary for related liabilities. Each intern has access to some civilization though the majority of their time is in Camp and helping run WERC's day to day operations and greeting visitors.

Volunteer Experience

$7200 - VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE.  A growing outreach at Wolf Camp, the Volunteer Experience offers terrific projects not only at Camp but in the surrounding community of Winchester, Idaho. From laying bark dust along trails at Wolf Camp to mending fences with our neighbors, WERC is a member of the Winchester area community and works to attract volunteers who share that interest. The cost of promotion, division of labor, and investment in outreaches averages $7,200 annually and is a wonderful way to introduce our region to our heart for wolves.
I want to thank you backā€¦ Keep up all your wonderful work.. These beautiful wolves are one of the most incredible animals on this planet.
Patricia Hawkins-Weibel