Alyssa Grayson, 14, of Greene, R.I., a member of the University of Rhode Island 4-H in Kingston and an eighth-grader at Rocky Hill School, is an enthusiastic wildlife advocate who gives presentations at schools, libraries, fairs, wildlife refuges and other venues about wolves and the importance of protecting them in the wild. When she was about 5 years old, Alyssa saw an animated film about a wolf-dog and started to fall in love with wolves, she said. Shortly after seeing that movie, I saw a commercial on the aerial hunting of wolves, and people gassing mothers and pups right in their own dens. I wanted to tell everyone how terrible this was.
In second grade, Alyssa started a wolf club at her school that almost every student soon joined, and began producing a handwritten monthly newsletter about wolves. Next, she joined a 4-H dog club and put together a presentation on wolves and coyotes, using a trifold display and a wolf stuffed animal as a prop. Since then, her presentation has grown to include a 40-minute slideshow, 7 tri-fold displays, skulls, furs, track molds and other exhibits, and she has delivered it to all kinds of groups some as large as 300. Alyssa also has lobbied federal officials to maintain wolves status as an endangered species, volunteers to help study coyote populations, and both participates in studies and plans family-friendly nature programs as a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service volunteer.