It's easy to draw parallels between wolves and humans. Wolves live in packs, and the job of rearing the young is spread across this family unit; some species mate for life, and yet there is something about the image of the lone wolf that appeals to confirmed bachelors and young toughs alike. But romanticizing the nature of wolves also leads to the demonization of the animals. Evil motives are easily ascribed to them: Wolves kill livestock out of maliciousness or become fairytale monsters lurking in the dark. But the truth is that wolves are just animals, and they are endangered by humans because we choose to see them as anything but a valuable and beautiful piece of the ecosystem.
The Wild Canid Survival and Research Center (I-44 at Beaumont-Antire Road in Washington University's Tyson Research Center, Eureka; 636-938-5900 or www.wolfsanctuary.org) is dedicated to helping save the wolf from man's folly through education. Once a year the center hosts the Rendezvous with the Wolves, an open house where visitors can tour the facilities, meet the volunteers and researchers, and photograph the wolves. There are also demonstrations by police dogs, sled dogs and search dogs, kids' activities, and a chainsaw artist. The Rendezvous runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission is $15 per carload. -- Paul Friswold
Just Plane Fun
So, you thought you'd get out of clipping hedges this weekend by suggesting a trip to the St. Louis County Fairgrounds (Eatherton and Wardenburg roads, Chesterfield), did you? And she agreed so easily, praising you for your charitable nature. And you nodded, not even sure with what you were agreeing. And now you're standing in front of a parked airplane with nineteen other people, ropes in hand, about to determine just how fast you can pull that plane a distance of twelve feet, and you keep thinking you'd have been better off clipping hedges. Lighten up, buddy: The registration fee you paid for the privilege of lugging a plane benefits Special Olympics Missouri. Sure, those gawkers watching you sweat got in for free, but after you risk hernia and humiliation, you too can enjoy the inflatable village, car display, canine demonstrations and concessions at the Family Fun Festival, which runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. You should have visited www.somo.org or called 314-961-7755 for more information last week. -- Paul Friswold
Barn-B-Q Come and get it
So you've been to barbecues in all manner of places, from your Uncle Chop-Chop's backyard o' fire to that "grill" you rigged up while tailgating. But you've never actually commanded a nice hunk of grilled meat within the authentic confines of a barn, have you? Oh. Was it a barn built in 1929? Didn't think so. Head out to such a barn at Goshen Farms (7126 Goshen Road, Edwardsville, Illinois), where you can enjoy grilled meats, barn tours, live music, fundraising auctions and more beginning at 4 p.m. Tickets for the "Barbecue at the Barn" cost $35 and can be purchased by calling 618-656-7562; proceeds benefit the Madison County Historical Society's Museum and Archival Library. -- Alison Sieloff