Chenango County nature center celebrates spirit of the wolf

SMYRNA, N.Y. - An animal education center in Chenango County is celebrating all things related to wolves this weekend.

Wolf Mountain Nature Center is holding its annual Honoring the Spirit of the Wolf Festival on Sunday.

Wolf Mountain opened 11 years ago on 64 acres in Smyrna, which is northwest of Norwich.

It features 14 gray wolves including a number of rare and endangered subspecies like the tundra wolf.

The animals live in fenced-in enclosures, one as large as 10 acres.

The Nature Center provides the animals shelters and food, but the wolves prefer digging their own dens and also feed on wild birds and mammals and snack on berries and other fruit.

Founder Will Pryor says his love of wolves began at a young age.

"The center was a childhood dream that I had when I was only 4 years-old.  I dreamt about wolves, as I got older, I read about wolves, I studied wolves, and I just couldn't get enough of wolves.  I decided that some day, I don't know how long it would take me, but that I was going to have that wolf center," said Pryor.

Wolf Mountain also has four eastern coyotes and six arctic foxes.

Pryor says they all love the winter weather.

The center is a non-profit that relies on volunteers and money made in its gift shop.

Honoring The Spirit of the Wolf is its largest annual fundraiser.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday there will be a series of enrichment programs.

Plus watch the animals eat from pumpkins stuffed with dead fish and mammals.

There will also be live music, food vendors, a DEC K-9 demonstration, sled dogs, a drum circle, and the Utica Zoomobile.

Admission is $5.

For directions and more info, go to thewolfmountainnaturecenter.org.


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