Friday, April 29, 2011

A note from Endangered Wolf Center Board Chair, Ralph Pfremmer...

A note from Endangered Wolf Center Board Chair, Ralph Pfremmer...

I wanted to thank everyone for the confidence as transition continues to take place on the Endangered Wolf Center Board and with the center itself. Since sustainability is hallmark and the core focus of our efforts, it is important that I share something with you. Below is an open and honest narrative of our condition that will be at the center of most of the dialog moving forward. Please read and also please help by sharing this message. It is important that we all understand our situation. I like a happy ending to any story, so please read the whole thing.

The Crisis Short story.

First some facts. The Endangered Wolf Center sits modestly on a small parcel of land owned by Washington University off of Beaumont Rd in St. Louis MO; it is at Tyson Research Center, in Eureka. It is Washington University, who has been our ever patient partner, our land manager, who five years ago politely asked that we move to another location so that they might use the land for specific university endeavor. This was way fair enough. Washington University and the 63 acres that the center currently occupies, has graciously been home to the Endangered Wolf Center for 39 years. The request to move marked the end of an era, and a new journey for the Wolves, the volunteers, the benefactors and the custodians. An era what would soon become and extremely challenging time.

New land was purchased, a beautiful track south of the Legends off of FF in Farmington MO, a wooded location dotted with springs, ponds and caves in northwestern Jefferson County.

At the time, the Executive director, a notable scientist, leveraged heavily the possibilities of the location, and the board approved the purchase of the land that would become the new home for the wolves, a perfect center for scientific research on a very significant piece of land with multiple possibilities. But the move would never happen.

It's best explained as a series of unfortunate events, the perfect storm, a combination of decisions made on behalf of a group of people with best intentions in mind, the continued survival of the wolves and a dream vision project. Decisions were made without optimal fiscal scrutiny, and without warning, the recession of 2009 was upon us. No, it has not been just one event causing the crisis at the EWC, and not the fault of any one individual.

So it is important that, even while we remain in crisis, we also aspire to be united now more than ever before--committed to celebrating the service of all, and repairing that which we have fallen short.

There were many things that left the EWC in crisis; core benefactors were dropping off, many of the original group of grassroots donors and sources of revenue stopped giving, those taken for granted, those close to Marlin Perkins and wife Carol, those supporters, so important for all of those years, a lot of them disappeared. The recession hit, development opportunities dwindled and the board found themselves in severe conflict. Folks, it has been a tough couple of years.

But we are still here! And by God, there is much to celebrate. A new strategy and a strategic plan based on the core values, for one. A new mission and purpose contrived from the principals that got the center off the ground 40 years ago!

Let’s talk positively here for a second.

After any crisis, change occurs. A zero basing, important to embarking on a new path. The Endangered Wolf Center found the need to change gears, to reduce its staff to what makes sense economically, to change out board members, to move away from the center of influences keeping us from creating a strategic plan for recovery. We needed new relationships, better accountability from a business perspective, increased awareness and testimony from those agencies relying on us. And incredible testimonies we have; wonderful endorsements from The Fish and Wildlife, The SSP, the USDA, the BBB and every other agency wanting to evaluate our proficiency. A sustainable plan of attack was needed and we are in the process of rolling it out today! We have a bright future, if we believe. We need everyone to believe and everyone to get on board.

I am ready to serve and would encourage anyone to contact me directly if you would like to visit, or want to help get involved. My email is and my cell phone is 314-496-2317.

Thanks for believing.

Ralph Pfremmer

No comments: