Celebrate The Spirit Of The Wolf On October 9
Published: October 4th, 2022
By: Sarah Genter

Celebrate the Spirit of the Wolf on October 9 Visit the Wolf Mountain Nature Center on Sunday, October 9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for their 16th annual Honoring the Spirit of the Wolf Celebration. Admission is $10 per person, and children under five years old get in free. The annual celebration serves as a fundraiser for the center, with all proceeds going toward care of the animals. (Photo from the Wolf Mountain Nature Center Facebook page)

SMYRNA — The Wolf Mountain Nature Center, located at 562 Hopkins Crandall Road in Smyrna, will be hosting their 16th annual Honoring the Spirit of the Wolf Celebration from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 9.

"This is our 16th annual Honoring the Spirit of the Wolf Festival. I can’t believe that much time has gone by," said Wolf Mountain Founder, Wildlife Biologist, and Head Caretaker Will Pryor. "As a nonprofit it’s our major fundraiser that we have every fall. It started off a long time ago and 32 people showed up for the first one. Over the years it’s definitely changed and now we can get one- to 2,000 people here just for a short time. It’s only for four or five hours and then everyone leaves and it quiets down again."

During the festival, visitors can enjoy music, magic by Jim Okey, food from Kandi's Kitchen and Kettle Korn, the Sled Dogs of Smokey Hill, a DEC K9 demonstration, see the birds from the Cornell Raptor Program, and of course, watch as caretakers feed treat-filled pumpkins to the 13 wolves, three eastern coyotes, and three arctic foxes in their care.

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"We have Matt Nakoa, the singer-songwriter, it’s so hard to get him. He’s willing to come up and perform for about 45 minutes to an hour," said Pryor. "The New York State DEC is going to be here doing some police dog demonstrations, and we have food available for people. There'll be some food vendors and a couple of crafters, and the fun part is we give the pumpkins to the wolves and the animals."

Admission to the Spirit of the Wolf Celebration is $10 per person, and children under five years old get in free. Credit and debit is not accepted for admission, or in the center gift shop.

The Wolf Mountain Nature Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit run by volunteers, and receives no government funding. The center relies on money raised through fundraisers, donations, and occasional grants to care for the animals and continue to provide educational opportunities to the public.

"It’s all about the animals, so the animals come first. It’s their health and safety and wellbeing that’s the most important. But once in a while we just need to bring in some more funding so that we can do more great stuff," said Pryor.

The center offers several other events and activities throughout the year, including fundraisers, tours, camping, wolf communication programs and photography sessions, and more. Wolf Mountain is open to visitors every Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m. from September until June.

Pryor said he's been passionate about wolves since childhood, and the goal of starting the Wolf Mountain Nature Center was to educate the public on the species and what they provide to the environment.

"It’s something I love, and a passion and a calling that I’ve had since I was a little kid. I’ve always loved canines in particular, and particularly wolves," said Pryor.

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"The reason we do this is we want people to be aware that wolves [are] a very ancient animal that have been on the planet for about a million years," he continued. "When humans decided they were going to rule the earth, the wolves weren’t allowed to be able to do what they've been doing for so long. We believe the creator of all things put them on this earth for a reason."

More information on the Wolf Mountain Nature Center can be found at TheWolfMountainNatureCenter.org, Wolf Mountain Nature Center on Facebook, or @wolfmountainny on Instagram.