February 20, 2013, by GL
Over summer I went on a two and a half week trip to Colorado with a program called The Road Less Traveled. On this trip I got the opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to white-water-raft in the Arkansas River, rock climb 2 different courses deep in the forest, participate in a hiking trip to a waterfall then to the peaks of granite sand-dunes which rose to be 700 feet tall.
The most challenging task of this whole trip was hiking a 14,000ft mountain. The most rewarding was the service work I did in Colorado. I worked at The Mission: Wolf Refuge. Mission Wolf is an non-profit educational wolf sanctuary that’s located near a small town called Westcliff in Colorado. They not only provide the chance to see wolves up close, but demonstrate a sustainable way of life and educate people through hands-on experiences with the wolves that live there. They operate on solar power energy; eat food which we helped grow from their green houses; and use only items that were donated or recycled.
As a volunteer, our job was to assist the staff in the daily care of the wolves and other jobs they needed to get done around the reserve — such as building and repairing old fences for the rehabilitation farm they have for horses. We worked inside the habitats to create a fire bunker for the wolves in case of a forest fire, as well as to provide them with more of a spacious and safe environment. We even got the chance to contribute extra hands to help feed the 47 wolves. Feeding the wolves was a very long process…
My favorite part of the trip was being able to observe and learn about the wolves’ behavior. I’m proud to say I got the chance to be in these wolves’ lives, and they got to be in mine. In the end, I walked away with a better understanding not only of conservation, sustainability and the environment, but great lessons I can carry throughout my lifetime and an experience that I will never forget.
Please check out my SlideRocket below and visit Mission Wolf website!
September 26, 2012, by AW
From July 2011 to June 2012, I participated in a study abroad program in Brazil. The program, American Field Service (AFS), placed me with a host family, and I spent my junior year attending a Brazilian high school. I lived in a small town called Aquidauana in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. Apart from going to school, I made friends, traveled around the region, and volunteered in a local orphanage. This was the subject of my presentation for TABA (“There And Back Again”), a chance for students to share their experiences on study abroad or service trips with others.
I have wanted to live in Brazil since I was ten years old: that was when I lived in Rio de Janeiro, and although I returned to the United States after just five months, I was always determined to come back. As I made plans for the long-awaited return, however, I decided to go to another part of the country, so that even as I returned to a place I had lived I would discover somewhere new. I told this to AFS and they certainly did their job to place me in a location totally different from Rio. Aquidauana is a very small, calm town, rather than a huge, bustling metropolis. Mato Grosso do Sul has a distinct culture mostly influenced by its environment, a wetland called the Pantanal; its proximity to Paraguay; and the many cattle ranches throughout the region. For my TABA presentation I talked about some of the unique elements of the culture around the Pantanal. Below is the slideshow, which you can click through and hear my narration of the photos.