The Newcomers Club of Marco Island’s luncheon at Marco Island Yacht Club on May 12 was the first of the club’s monthly luncheons to be presided over by this year’s new president, Beverly Novak, who took over from last year’s president, Lisa Gandy. Novak and the other all-volunteer members of the board, many of whom have recently changed roles, are excited about the “many fabulous” ideas they have for the up-coming months that they “feel will continue to help build relationships for the 2010-2011 Newcomer year.”
While the ladies enjoyed their lunch and each other’s company, Program Scheduler Marge Superits introduced the special guest speaker for May’s luncheon: Mark Scarola, a Board Member of the Shy Wolf Sanctuary, Education and Experience Center, located at 1163 27th Street in Naples.
Scarola explained that the sanctuary, run by an all-volunteer team, is home to a large variety of resident animals, including prairie dogs, foxes, tortoises, wolves, wolf dogs, cougars, and a leopard. Currently, the animals cared for at the sanctuary include 38 wolf dogs, of which four are puppies that were just taken in last week. This sanctuary is one of the few that will allow people to visit and interact with the animals in their natural habitats.
Scarola showed a video of some of the current residents of the sanctuary and of volunteers interacting with the animals. The ladies at Newcomers were interested to learn about the wolves and wolfdogs in particular. Some were surprised to learn that wolves are not aggressive animals, but actually shy of humans and always stay far away from them. In fact, there is no documented attack from a wolf on humans in the U.S. Wolves are an endangered species. They were introduced into the states, but people are allowed to shoot them. Two per cent of livestock are lost because of wolves.
Scarola himself works with the shyer wolves, with the help of his dog, George. One was so scared at first, that she scaled an 8-foot fence to try to get away from him! (She now allows Scarola, but only Scarola, to pet her.) The wolves and wolfdogs are fed raw chicken, with the bones, and raw beef, plus vitamins. Only red wolves are native to Florida, but at the Naples location there are three enclosures of wolves that were bred at the sanctuary. The Sanctuary also takes in unwanted wolfdogs (hybrids in which a wolves are bred usually with Shepherds, Malamutes, or Huskies). To learn more about adopting a wolfdog, check out www.wolfdogrescue.net.
Animal encounters and educational programs that target many different topics and age groups are available year-round by appointment (call 239-455-1698). Children aged six or older are welcome and private animal encounters or photo opportunities may be arranged for a small donation. Shy Wolf Sanctuary is always looking for volunteers as animals take a 24/7 commitment that includes: animal care, cleaning, feeding, medications, fundraising, grants, event planning, fence building, new construction to name just a few. To learn more about Shy Wolf Sanctuary, go to www.shywolfsantuary.com or call 239-455-1698.
Besides the monthly luncheon, the Newcomers Club of Marco Island offer a host of other opportunities to meet and enjoy fellow Marco Islanders, including: a lunch brunch, a couples dinner club, and special interests and mini clubs, such as “Arts & Entertainment”, “Artists’ Café,” Book Clubs, Bridge, Cooking, and Canasta—and that’s just the A’s through C’s!
If you would like to learn more about joining Newcomers Club of Marco Island, contact Phyllis Ostrow at 642-3842 or Joanna Todisco at 394-8213 or go to www.marconewcomers.org.