I think stories have tremendous influence on children. So what do our children learn after reading that story [Little Red Riding Hood]? Will they learn to respect and value living creatures and seek to co-exist, or do they walk away fearing wolves and feeling a little bit happy and relieved at wolf’s gruesome fate at the end of the story?
From Maria Arefieva, school’s visionary and co-founder:
Long before I became a mother I was a wildlife advocate. Through many hours of volunteer work for various nonprofit projects I learned not only how incredibly fascinating our wildlife is, but also the tragic story of its mismanagement that led to the near extinction of such iconic and magnificent creatures as the bald eagle, American bison and of course the majestic wolf.
It was heartbreaking to learn that with the arrival of European settlers the population of the beautiful and gentle bison went from about 50,000,000 down to just about 23 bison who managed to survive in central Yellowstone. From 50 million to 23 individuals! (source: Buffalo Field Campaign).
But the wild creature and story that touched my heart most was the wolf. It was after having read a story of a biologist in the former Soviet Union who in his studies ended up living for 2 years among a wolf pack. His story of acceptance into the pack and his life among the wolves and my further studies on this subject, including a visit to the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center, made me realize just how wrong the common conception of the wolf is and what a dear price this incredible animal paid for it.Continue reading