Friday, September 14, 2012

Iberian Wolf : environmental education

Grupo Lobo, the responsible for the IWRC, is an independent non-profit NGO founded in 1985. Grupo Lobo works to conserve the Iberian wolf (Canis lupus signatus) and its habitat in Portugal, where the wolf population has been declining for many decades. 

In 1987, Grupo Lobo created the Iberian Wolf Recovery Center (IWRC), aiming to provide a suitable environment for wolves that cannot live in the wild – giving wolves that have been rescued from inappropriate captivity, or are injured or disabled, a safe and secure sanctuary. 

The IWRC is located in central Portugal, in Picão (Mafra), about 30km fromo Lisbon, the Portuguese capital


Grupo Lobo's mission is to provide accurate and updated information about the wolf, to contribute to the development of scientific studies about the species, to educate and to raise awareness among the general public of the importance of this predator and promote practical conservation measures that increase coexistence between man and wolf.

Portuguese Iberian wolf Prado

The work of Grupo Lobo has been recognized by being awarded national and international with several prizes.

Now 25 years old, the Iberian Wolf Recovery Center, has already received more than 100,000 visitors from around the world. 

Now, Grupo Lobo (IWRC) is in trouble for keeping the area. The IWRC is very important in terms of wolf conservation. 

The wolves that find refuge here play an important role in raising awareness of the wolf’s plight and contribute to the conservation of the species, being true ambassadors of wolves in the wild. Every year, thousands of people have their first glimpse of a wolf in the Centre, and are made aware of the dangers that this species faces in the wild under the constant threat of extinction in Portugal.

Photo: Sofia Loureiro | Grupo Lobo


If you a are a good reader of my blog you already know that I am a huge fan of Environmental Education in school curriuculum. Not as a specific curriculum, but as a cross-curricula. Same ideal about IT. 

Environmental education must start in early years in school. Environmental education is not only talking and learning about climate changes. 

Environmental education is about help endangered species, teaching solidarity with animals, learning to protect animals and helping injured or disabled animals.

Curricula: Environmental education is a cross-curricular project.

But let's start taliking about some myths and realities:

The conflict between man and wolf has strong roots, originating in the medieval period when the wolf had a reputation as an evil beast, devouring men, women and children. 

We all know children literature about bad wolves. Little Red Riding Hood, also known as Little Red Cap or simply Red Riding Hood by Charles Perrault

And now youth literature, the Twilight saga by Stephenie Meyer.

The reality of the wolf is quite different. The wolf is a magnificent animal, which plays a vital role in nature. Read more here


We can ask students to start a research about the Wolf along the time, wolf's role in Liiterature, traditions by country, fables, tales.

And we can't forget the beautiful film Dances with Wolves based on the novel by Michael Blake.

Students must use their devices, ipads or smartphones in the classroom. You know me!

Portuguese Iberian wolf Aura

In 2007, in Languages curriculum, my students were involved in a competition (essay and design) opened to schols by Grupo Lobo that has the aim of demystifying  the wrong ideas about wolves. 

Students were very enthousiastic about the project and they won three 3rd prize. Two students have been invited to visit the IWRC with their families and they really enjoyed.

Grupo Lobo | Environmental education
cartoon : Cristina Sampaio

Environmental education and outdoor play is important for our children’s personal and academic growth. With students now spending 90% of their time indoors,  “nature deficit disorder” is on the rise. No doubt! Kids and young people love outside activities, nature walking, be familiar with animals. Remember my post about Environmental education and outdor.

Teaching our students about the world around them, giving them an appreciation for Nature and wild animals in environmental centers that are protecting endangered species.

Students are fantastic fans of helping NGO environmental organizations. And they are very creative when they are inivted to develop activities in curricula. Watch their blog about Polar Education (IPY).

Some Ways for Students' Help:

  • 'Adopt' a wolf;
  • Participate in Grupo Lobo projects;
  • Visit the IWRC (if they live in Portugal or virtual tour);

  • Become a member;
  • Become a volunteer (up-18 years old);
  • Tell friends and family about IWRC
  • Become a friend of Grupo Lobo at Facebook (up-13 years old on school account, teacher tutoring);
  • Follow IWRC on Twitter (school account)

Portuguese Iberian wolf Teixo


Visiting natural centers is the best way to have a practical lesson about Environment and Endangered Species. 

We had some good experiences in school. Of course this is something we must prepare carefully. But the final result is awesome.

Watch this video (student work from Arts Education) in Portuguese language.


The Center has a volunteer program for those, over the age of 18, interested in wildlife conservation. 

"Our program allows you to participate in a wide range of daily activities at the centre, including assisting with animal feeding, checking water, maintenance of the Centre infrastructure, fire prevention, cleaning, observing wolves to check their health, support for reception and administrative work and monitoring of visitors."

Read more on Volunteering

Adopting Online:

But for those students not living in Portugal, 'adopting online' a wolf could be a fantastic project, don't you think!

Grupo Lobo has an adoption program that enables people to adopt one or more wolves, helping to keep them in excellent conditions that mimic their environment in the wild. Students with their teachers can fill out the adoption form

Yes, compromise our students in environmental projects is a wonderful civic value. 

And spreading the word about endangered species is a crucial one.

Inspire your students to be part of the Iberian wolf project helping to save the wolves.


copyright © 2012G-Souto'sBlog,

Licença Creative Commons
Iberian Wolf: environmental education bG-Souto is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


Credits : photography Grupo Lobo

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