11th annual awareness event to take place Friday, Oct. 19 through Saturday, Oct. 21
For centuries mankind has misunderstood wolves, be it the cinematic defamations in films like The Grey, or the latest federal delisting of gray wolves from the endangered species list. Wolf hunting season is now underway in several states across the Midwest, and the need to inform has never been greater.
While articles, books and documentaries can surely enlighten us, those outlets don’t seem to do wolves justice when a place like Seacrest Wolf Preserve exists just 80 miles west of Tallahassee.
Wayne and Cynthia Watkins founded Seacrest in 1999. What began as the rescue of a single 8-year-old gray wolf from an abusive owner has blossomed into a nonprofit wolf preserve that is now the largest of its kind in the Southeastern United States.
It is home to several packs of Gray, British Colombian and Arctic Wolves as well as a lone coyote named Pacos.
Visitors do not solely observe the wolves from outside fencing, but instead, guests are taken inside the enclosures to meet the wolves firsthand, barrier free.
Nearly every Saturday, Seacrest’s committed volunteers take visitors onto the grounds inhabited by the preserve’s 37 wolves. As tour leaders share heartwarming stories with guests, the curious wolves approach their visitors, greeting the lucky ones with kisses.
As the tour carries on, guests are granted the profound opportunity to communicate (howl) with the wolves, to be answered by the howls of the packs scattered throughout the property.
Following the wolf tour, Seacrest’s visitors can extend their day with the optional Small Animal Adventure, which includes meeting gray and arctic foxes, de-scented skunks, hungry raccoons and a groundhog named Billy.
Friday, Oct. 19 marks the beginning of Seacrest’s 11th annual Howl-O-Ween, the preserve’s most celebrated event of the year. Aside from the wolf tours and Small Animal Adventures running throughout Saturday and Sunday, Seacrest will host a weekend of activities including hayrides, raffles, bonfires and a Dog-O-Ween costume contest. Attendees have the option to camp on the grounds by night.
Seacrest’s philosophy, “preservation through education,” does wonders for the suffering wolf species, educating visitors through a remarkable experience.
“Education is one of our last hopes left to raise the consciousness of humans about the importance of the natural world,” said Cynthia Watkins. “Someone once said, ‘We will conserve only what we love. We love only what we understand. And we understand only what we are taught,’ so that is a very profound call for education.”
Visit seacrestwolfpreserve.org for more information about Seacrest Wolf Preserve and their Howl-O-Ween event.
Photo Credit seacrest wolf