| National Wolfwatcher Coalition's Junior Adviser,
Alyssa Grayson, and Ambassador Wolf, Atka
Greet Rhode Island's Senator Jack Reed
at Wakefield Hills Elementary School
|Meet Alyssa Grayson |
On May 21, 2012 Rhode Island's Wakefield Hills Elementary School's students were gifted with a special presentation from a former student and classmate, Alyssa Grayson. In her role as the National Wolfwatcher Coalition's Junior Adviser, Alyssa graciously offered the opportunity to peer-mentor Mrs. Razza-Jones' class about the ecology wolves and the important role they play as keystone predators in the balance of nature. During her presentation, Alyssa explained the concept of "trophic cascade" as it relates to the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park. With only 5% of our nation's wilderness left, Alyssa emphasized the important role that complete ecosystems play in keeping all of us healthy and the wolf's positive and vital role as part of this wild ecosystem. Equipped with a genuine wolf's radio collar provided by the Yellowstone Foundation, Alyssa went on to describe Yellowstone as an ecosystem which has become a scientific laboratory for wilderness observation and ecosystem recovery as a result of wolf reintroduction. To enhance her presentation, Alyssa included detailed information about the challenges that red wolves and Mexican gray wolves face in the wild today.
Senator Jack Reed and Alyssa
To add to this special event, United States Senator Jack Reed (RI) attended Alyssa's presentation. Senator Reed is the Chairperson for the Senate's Subcommittee on the Interior and Environment. He has proven time and time again to be a champion for issues regarding wildlife and habitat preservation. Senator Reed stated that he first heard of Alyssa seven years ago when she contacted him about wolves, and he was excited to be actually meeting her for the first time during her presentation at Wakefield Hills Elementary School. Senator Reed reiterated Alyssa's theme about the importance of wolves to the environment, and he remarked how touched he was by Alyssa's strong passion for teaching others about wolf conservation. Reed also bestowed Alyssa with official recognition for her achievement as the recipient of the Humane Society of the United States' "2012 Kind Kid Award" for her work.
(L to R) Atka, Ambassador Wolf, Rebecca Bose, Maggie Howell,
Alyssa Grayson and Senator Reed
Thereafter, Wakefield Elementary students were paid a visit from the Wolf Conservation Center's Managing Director Maggie Howell, Curator Rebecca Bose along with special guest, Atka, an Arctic gray ambassador wolf who addressed a general assembly of the school's student body. Atka and his human companions embrace new faces and places making him a great wolf-educator by helping people learn about the importance of his wild "brothers and sisters." This, of course, reinforced Alyssa's mission in teaching others about the critical role wolves play in the environment and the human role in protecting their future.
|Maggie Howell (Wolf Conservation Center) with |
Wakefield Hills Elementary School Principal Keith Remillard was so impressed with Alyssa's presentation and a visit from the Atka and the staff of the Wolf Conservation Center that he said he hoped to make this an annual event, along with other similarly inspiring programs for the school in the near future.
Due to a special invitation by the Board of 4-H Club of Rhode Island, Alyssa continued her service that evening with another presentation. Her theme was the "The Wolves of Yellowstone." As part of her own research, Alyssa reached out to Yellowstone Wolf Project Leader, Doug Smith, and others affiliated with the project for the most current news and information about the status of Yellowstone's wolves as well as their impact of the wolf on the broader Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Wolfwatcher Board Members, Cindy White Overton, Dave Hornoff with Alyssa Grayson, Principal Remillard, and Maggie Howell
The National Wolfwatcher Coalition strongly embraces the participation of junior advisers from around the nation because our best hope for a better tomorrow is the next generation. If you would like to learn more about Wolfwatcher's Junior Advisory Service Program please contact Wolfwatcher's Education Director,
Diane Bentivegna for more information.
Board of Directors of the
National Wolfwatcher Coalition