Wolf-dog at West in video visit

       The wolf-dog pup came into the classroom, looked around… and happily started licking the first hand she came to.

In their classroom, West Elementary EAGLES students gather around Sue Cranston of the Indigo Mountain Nature Center and the wolf-dog puppy she brought, named Indigo Breeze.
Westside Pioneer photo

       This was no surprise to the fourth and fifth grade students in Anne Shargel's EAGLES class at West Elementary. In fact, soon afterward they were filming a video they'd already planned to make about the animal's visit. It will encompass their efforts this school year as “ambassadors” for the Indigo Mountain Nature Center, which provides a sanctuary in the Lake George area for wild animals born into captivity who cannot be reintroduced to the wild.
       Born in Florida and named Indigo Breeze (“Indy”), she is just over 12 weeks old, 57 percent wolf and 43 percent dog.
       She hadn't been out like this before. “She's doing all right for her first major school,” commented Sue Cranston, executive director of Indigo Mountain, who had Indy on a leash.
       She pointed out that it's not just the kids who benefit from the visit; it's also good for an innately wild animal to get used to domestic, social situations.
       Shargel's class has helped previously by seeking meat donations for the nonprofit sanctuary (which needs about 150 pounds a day, according to its website, indigomtn.org). The school has also signed up for the center's ambassador program, which provides a formal niche for people or entities that want to provide support.
       A current fundraiser is selling wolf hair. It can be used in clothing-creation projects, such as shawls, Cranston explained.
       Placed in clear vials, the hair is being sold at West and in a few other Westside schools, Shargel said. Also, “we will have a place to order on our website,” she said (w3.d11.org/westelem).
       “We hope to raise about $2,000 for Indigo Mountain Nature Center. The money will be used for all the animals, but wolves are their predominate animal.”
       As for the video, the link for it will also be put on the website, with copies available for sale, she said.
       EAGLES is a West Elementary program for gifted students. The effort fits with the class curriculum, Shargel has previously explained, because the involvement helps them develop skills in organization, writing, speaking and problem-solving.

Westside Pioneer article