April 20 is the birthday of sweetpea Alawa, the wolf my family adopted/sponsors at Wolf Conservation Center. Happy birthday, Alawa!
Our beautiful Alawa howling!
We first learned about Alawa via 4amwriter’s “Save El Lobo Writing Competition”, which put out the challenge to write an original piece showcasing wolves in a positive light, as both a learning and writing experience. I wrote a piece for the competition…but I also fell in love with the wolves at WCC, and with one wolf in particular: Alawa (ai-lay-ewa), whose name means “sweetpea” in Algonquin. You can read more about why in this earlier post.
Alawa is part of the Ambassador Pack of wolves under protection and care at the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, New York, about an hour outside of New York City. She lives there with her littermate Zephyr and their younger brother, Nikai. Alawa and her brothers descend from the Canadian/Rocky Mountain gray wolf. You can occasionally see one or more of them walking or roughhousing around their part of the conservation center on the WCC’s webcam.
Follow any of the wolf links above to learn more about the ambassador wolves or the Wolf Conservation Center in general. They offer tours, support opportunities, even camping nights under the stars with their wolves! You may even decide to adopt one of them, too. 🙂
The adoption package for Alawa, from Wolf Conservation Center.
Alawa is doing well. She has even been recorded as having the “laziest” howl! 😀 Listen to her lazy howl here:
Last week, Kate Johnston, AKA 4amwriter, posted a writing contest on her blog. The contest involved writing a 250-word (max) story featuring wolves in a positive or hopeful light. Three entrants will be chosen as winners by Kate’s panel of judges on April 10, 2017.
It had been a while since I’d participated in a good, old fashioned writing contest, and this one was for such a good cause, I had to put down my editing/rewriting pen and give it a try. I’ll post my entry after the winners have officially been announced on the 4amwriter blog, so as not to potentially skew any of the judges, for good or ill. Not that anybody reads this blog anymore, let alone those judges, but I need to decide how to present my entry anyway (first draft with changes, or just final submission version?).
Part of Kate’s contest involved her donating $5 for every entry received. I was so touched by that endeavor, I decided to check out the site that prompted her to offer the contest in the first place. That site turned out to be the Wolf Conservation Center, a private, not-for-profit environmental education organization located in South Salem, NY. Per their webpage, the Wolf Conservation Center teaches people about wolves, their relationship to the environment and the human role in protecting their future.
I clicked through a bunch of the pages on the site, when I came to the Adopt a Wolf section. Now, I love looking at pictures of animals, and wolves have been a long-standing animal love of mine since the days of reading about the Wolfriders in Elfquest. I scrolled down the list of wolves, and then I saw her:
It seemed so fitting. Those sparkling eyes, that wily smile, and her name: Alawa, meaning “sweetpea” in Algonquin. For those of you who have read my “Finding Mister Wright” series, you’ll know that one of the principal cast characters, Paige, has several nicknames, most of them involving the letter P: peanut, pickle, and, as her grandparents call her, sweetpea. Nobody else would remember that little detail, but I did. The word sprung out at me from the screen, making me think of all of the happiness I’ve felt sharing Paige’s and her family’s stories. And so, I just had to adopt this gorgeous girl.
I’ve felt weighted down for a long time. Even my writing has lacked a certain spirit. But, this adoption made me feel good. Not just for the charity, but for the feeling of being connected to a greater whole. It’s naive to think that my writing can connect people that way, though that is certainly something I strive for. What this good feeling of giving gave me was a breather, a moment of openness to a world made more beautiful for this creature’s presence in it. I can only hope for me and my stories to mean as much, someday.
Did you do a wolf-write for 4amwriter’s Save El Lobo contest? What version of my own entry might you like to see? Who are your favorite wolves from stories?