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Bobcat gains experience working with a new type of animal as Wolf Park intern

Published: October 26, 2021 Author: Jennifer Cochran

Ohio University junior outdoor recreation and education major Rebecca Bacon has loved wolves ever since she discovered the video game “Wolf Quest,” and this summer she got to live out a dream by working with wolves as an intern at Wolf Park, an education, conservation, and research facility in Battle Ground, Indiana.

"I chose Wolf Park because it would allow me to learn about wolves, educate the public, and interact with wolves and other animals,” Bacon said. “I have loved wolves my entire life and spending the summer with them was a dream come true.”

Bacon said every day at Wolf Park brought different tasks and activities, including helping to prepare food and treats for the wolves, cleaning enclosures, working at the park gift shop, giving tours, and supporting educational programming for park guests. In addition to learning about wolves and their place in the ecosystem, Bacon also learned valuable lessons in communication and teamwork from sharing intern housing with seven other people.

“It was stressful at times, but we learned to manage and became a family,” she said. “I learned a lot during my time at Wolf Park.”

Though she brought a passion for wolves to her internship, Bacon’s experience with the animals has turned her into an advocate. She urges others to learn more about wolves, the value they bring to the environment, and the impact of anti-wolf laws that are being passed in some states.

People have a lot of misconceptions about wolves, Bacon said. “There are many organizations working to educate about the species and how they can co-exist with people. Wolves aren’t vicious hunters that want to kill everything that moves. There definitely is a way for cattle owners and wolves to co-exist.”

Bacon enjoyed getting to interact with the six wolves in their habitat at Wolf Park.

“It felt like the most natural thing ever,” Bacon said. “Every wolf has its own personality, but my favorite was a large wolf named Niko.”

Bacon was able to help secure this dream internship with help from Hanna Jadwisienczak, an Ohio College2Careers Counselor.

Ohio College2Careers is a program offered at OHIO by Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) in conjunction with Student Accessibility Services. The program ensures students with disabilities have the support they need to complete their degree and succeed in their careers by offering counselors who a can assist students with their needs.

After the success Bacon found through using College2Careers, she intends to continue leveraging their support and resources as she explores opportunities for another internship after this year.

Any OHIO student with a disability can access services from OOD through the Ohio College2Careers program, which works with students at OHIO and other colleges and universities to ensure students with disabilities have the support they need to complete their degree and/or credential, earn higher wages, and meet the demands of tomorrow’s labor market. At OHIO, Jadwisienczak assists students with disabilities with career exploration and counseling, assistive technology, resume and interview preparation, internships and permanent employment, assistance navigating OhioMeansJobs resources, and connection to a network of employers.

Jadwisienczak is available to support Ohio University undergraduate and graduate students in cooperation with Student Accessibility Services. Though she serves only students on the Athens campus, any individual with a disability may be eligible for OOD services and can find contact information at www.oodworks.com. Students may contact Jadwisienczak directly via email  or by phone at 740-592-4411. They can also request a referral from their accessibility coordinator or find more information and complete OOD’s online application at www.oodworks.com.