Asheville Made’s February issue went to press too soon to report the predictions of any national or local celebrity groundhogs, though it’s safe to say, by now, that spring will be warmly welcomed. Meanwhile, there’s the red wolf, whose official day to holler has been simmering for several years.
In 2018, Weiler Woods for Wildlife — comprised of wildlife sculptor Dale Weiler and his activist wife Loti Woods, who raise awareness of endangered animals via public art projects — began work on “Just Settling In,” an alabaster carving of a red wolf and her newborn pup. Their efforts drew the enthusiasm of the Cadettes of Girl Scout Troop 1819, who were earning their Outdoor Art Badge and who pledged proceeds from their annual fundraising project to help the wolves. Since then, the troop has continued to work on behalf of the animal; middle-school-age Scouts will direct their efforts toward earning their Silver Award, a leadership designation, in 2021.
Fewer than 20 red wolves, native to Eastern North Carolina, exist in the wild. Karma and Garnet, a mated pair, live at Asheville’s WNC Nature Center, where a total of 13 pups have been born. Late last year, the budding activists of Troop 1819 got to meet their furry beneficiaries, a rendezvous long delayed by the pandemic.
And it all began with art. “Watching the Girl Scouts connect with my red-wolf sculpture was what every artist hopes to attain in his/her efforts,” Dale Weiler notes in a press statement. Weiler Woods for Wildlife, partnering with Defenders of Wildlife, will donate a limited-edition casting of “Just Settling In” — one of 30 distributed nationwide — to the WNC Nature Center, to be installed later this year.