Experiential Education

M:W and COVID-19

Dear friends of Mission: Wolf,

Thank you for your support and generosity during these difficult times. We are excited to reopen on June 3rd, 2020, with these additional safety protocols in place. To all interested visitors, short-term volunteers, and groups: if you are feeling sick, or think that you may have been exposed to COVID-19, please stay at home! 

Drop-In Visitors (Day Visit)

  • We are now only open to drop-in visitors on our big feed days: Wednesdays and Saturdays. All other days are reserved for those who wish to volunteer.
  • We will be requiring reservations for all visitors so that we can appropriately spread out traffic and maintain social distancing during tours. Please arrive fifteen minutes before your scheduled tour time. You can schedule your tour between 9am and 4pm Wednesday or Saturday by following this link: https://calendly.com/missionwolf/tours
  • Tours are limited to ten people and all unrelated groups will be required to socially distance during the tour
  • All visitors should wear facemasks and bring hand sanitizer
  • We will be temporarily suspending behavioral sessions with our Ambassador Pack due to the potential for face-to-face greetings to spread this disease
  • Please expect delays as we adjust to this new scheduling system. We are all learning and appreciate your patience!

Short-Term Volunteers (Overnight to two-week stay)

  • We can use your help! We are still building and working to improve the sanctuary every day out here.
  • All overnight visitors should contact us at info@missionwolf.org or 719-859-2157 first to schedule their stay
  • Short-term volunteers will be expected to bring their own tent and food supplies, and will work with staff to spread out camping areas and bathroom usage with other visitors and volunteers
  • Short-term volunteers should also bring and wear their own facemasks, and bring hand sanitizer as well
  • Short-term volunteers will be asked to help regularly sanitize the shared spaces they are using

Groups

  • We are asking groups to consider the American Camp Association (ACA) regulations when conducting their groups, which can be found here.
  • Groups will be limited to ten people, in accordance with county gathering size regulations
  • Group leaders will be asked to implement and maintain their own safety protocols, including but not limited to: daily temperature and wellness checks, social distancing and proper sanitizing during travel to/from M:W, proper cleaning and sanitation protocol around mealtimes
  • Groups will be asked to bring and wear their own masks, and should bring their own hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies
  • There will be limits on the number of groups on property at any given time, and all unrelated groups will be asked to camp away from each other
  • Groups will be asked to clean and sanitize port-a-potty and cook areas after usage
  • Group leaders should be prepared to be largely self-directed, as limited staff resources and the need for social distancing will prevent working closely with M:W staff

All scheduled groups and visitors are subject to change, up to and including the day of the visit, due to the changing virus situation or an outbreak at M:W.

We have been touched by the overflowing support from our friends and supporters during this novel and difficult time for all of us. Above all else, we wish to keep the wolves and humans healthy out here! Thank you for your continuing support and we look forward to seeing each other again starting June 3rd.

Howls of Gratitude,

M:W Staff

Mission: Wolf hosts school field trips, summer camps, college break trips, scout trips, and international volunteer camps. We welcome visits from a few hours to a couple of weeks.  The rules are simple: As long as you do not place a burden on the staff or startle the wolves, you may camp out and wake up to howls. Most education groups pitch in to help with projects around the sanctuary — unless you specify otherwise while planning your trip with us, we will expect your group to offer their volunteer labor.

Groups need to bring their own staff, tents, toilet paper, food, and other supplies. Please come prepared for unpredictable mountain weather, and keep in mind the road conditions during snow and mud seasons.

We require at least two weeks notice via email to let us know the desired date and time of your arrival, duration of stay, size of your group, and any special requirements. If you would like to bring your accredited program to Mission: Wolf, please contact us a few months in advance to schedule it. Be prepared with alternative dates for your trip in case we are already booked. Summers fill up fast! The sooner you begin to communicate with us, the greater the chance of receiving the dates you want. If you are looking for an organization that brings coordinated trips to Mission: Wolf, Cottonwood Institute, Experiential Learning Associates, and The Road Less Traveled all lead trips here.

We do not set age limits for our volunteers, but instead look at ability, motivation, and maturity. However, we strongly recommend a minimum age of 7 years old, as young children can easily disturb our wolves and visitors.

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Staff members Austin and Charles give Kansas University Alt Breaks an introduction. Photo by Laura McGehee

Large Group Requirements

Mission: Wolf becomes more and more accessible every year. In an effort to maintain a sanctuary atmosphere for the wolves, and an intimate learning experience for people, we need to monitor group numbers. Our facility is limited in the amount of people it can accommodate. It is our belief that everyone deserves the best experience possible. In order to continue offering such experiences, and lessen the strain on the refuge, we have created a simple protocol.

  • Total group number must remain under 15, including counselors/staff. We can only support two group camps (30 people total) on site at a time.
  • Every group must have at least one leader over the age of 18. Co-leaders are encouraged.
  • We require one counselor for every 5 participants under the age of 15.
  • We prefer to have at least one leader per group that has worked with M:W before; at minimum, one leader must have outdoor camping and work experience.

Groups that wish to bring more than 15 people: Please contact the refuge directly to speak with a representative.

What to Expect

Upon your arrival, you will meet one of our staff who will be your liaison for the duration of your stay. You will receive an introduction to the organization, and then a full educational tour of the facility. During your stay, we may offer the group an opportunity to meet a wolf face-to-face. Be aware that we are on the wolves’ schedule, and we cannot guarantee any contact with our animals.

If you are at the sanctuary on a Wednesday or Saturday, it is possible that you can help us with feeding the wolves. We throw huge quantities of raw meat over the fences to hungry wolves and watch them devour it all in a few minutes. Often times, we have more feeders than wolves to feed. Priority will be given to groups and volunteers that helped with service projects during their stay, especially those who helped prepare the wolf food itself.

If you are staying for more than a few hours, we always have projects for groups to help with. This can be anything from constructing a new building or fence, to planting trees, to splitting and hauling firewood.

We are surrounded by public land with miles of hiking. If you start walking from Mission: Wolf, you can find adventure in all directions.

We have spaces available to cook, eat, and escape from inclement weather. We have a 380-square-foot tipi that’s open to the public and shared among all visitors.

For overnight stays, we have spots available on-site for primitive tent camping. You may also camp on nearby National Forest land. We place no limit on length of stay, as long as your group does not become a burden for us.

Guidelines For Your Visit:

Upon your arrival, we ask that the entire group remain in the parking area while the group leader meets with one of our staff, to go over these general guidelines for your stay and fill out necessary paperwork.

  1. Do not touch any of the fences during your stay.
  2. No yelling, running, or horseplay in view of the wolves. We are surrounded by public land, so if you want to exercise and play, we can show you the best places.
  3. Our water is pumped from a well by solar power. We can supply you with drinking and cooking water if you are unable to bring your own, but awareness and conservation are a must. Our water needs to be shared with our wolves, our greenhouses, and our on-site staff.
  4. Do not go near the wolves after sunset, as they are near-sighted and get spooked easily. Do not approach the wolves before 9 a.m., as the staff will be trying to administer vitamins and medication to the wolves, and we do not want to stress them out with strangers nearby.
  5. Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
  6. Fire bans are frequent at Mission: Wolf. Please ask a staff member before starting a campfire. We ask that you bring your own firewood, or make a contribution to Mission: Wolf to use ours. We do not permit bonfires.
  7. Quiet time starts at 9 p.m., lights/campfires out at 10 p.m.