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Twenty students with The Immokalee Foundation recently visited the Shy Wolf Sanctuary Education & Experience Center in Naples, which provides sanctuary and rehabilitation services to unreleasable wild and captive-bred exotic animals, including wolves and wolfdogs. During their experience, students learned about and interacted with some of the reserve’s more than 60 animal residents.

“Many people believe that we are about rescuing animals only,” said Deanna L. Deppen, executive director of the Shy Wolf Sanctuary. “While that is the foundation of our organization, we have always been about sharing the animals and their stories with our community and, especially, with groups of children who might otherwise never meet these animals.”

Shy Wolf Sanctuary works to educate the public about the need to provide a home for the animals it serves. Wolfdogs, for example, are generally considered unadoptable by domestic animal services. More than 80 active volunteers help care for the resident animals housed throughout the two-plus-acre property. Visits to the sanctuary are by appointment only and are limited to small groups for a better experience. To learn more about Shy Wolf Sanctuary, visit

The Immokalee Foundation visit was especially eye-opening and impactful for the students interested in working with animals in their future. Some of the students who attended want to become veterinarians or zoologists, and this trip was an experience that will help make them more assertive on their career pathways.

The visit was made possible by foundation benefactors Harry and Mary Ann Debes. “Our students had a wonderful experience thanks to the Debes’ generosity,” said Noemi Y. Perez, president and CEO of The Immokalee Foundation. “We thank the team at Shy Wolf for being so accommodating and providing excellent presentations.”

The Immokalee Foundation provides a range of education programs that focus on building pathways to professional careers through support, mentoring and tutoring, and life skills development leading to economic independence. To learn more about The Immokalee Foundation, becoming a mentor, its signature events, volunteering as a career panel speaker or host, making a donation, including the foundation in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit


Twenty Immokalee Foundation students enjoyed an educational visit to the Shy Wolf Sanctuary underwritten by foundation benefactors Harry and Mary Ann Debes

The Immokalee Foundation student Joel Guerrero visits with a wolf at Shy Wolf Sanctuary

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