The Weekly Newspaper of El Segundo
Herald Publications - El Segundo, Hawthorne, Lawndale & Inglewood Community Newspapers Since 1911 - (310) 322-1830 - Vol. 109, No. 22 - May 28, 2020
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Patriotic Pride in El Segundo
El Segundo homeowners, Mr. and Mrs. Sheldon Butler, provided a beautiful visual display of respect to our fighting military men and women past and present! Parked in front of the flag is their friend’s
1962 Chevy Corvette Roadster. Photo Courtesy: Jim Marak
Two-Legged: How Wolves Change
Lives at The Shadowland Foundation
By Chase Maser
Photos by Ariel Romeo Davis
Paul Pondella couldn’t fill out a job application.
His dyslexia was too overwhelming, and
at the age of 18, he was kicked out of high
school. Two weeks later, in 1978, he was
arrested for growing marijuana. Standing in
front of the judge, he was given a choice:
get a job or go to prison.
Paul played baseball during school. He
was an all-star for 12 of the 13 years he
played, and remembering that McDonald’s
was one of his team sponsors in the past, he
found a contact and met for an interview. The
manager was happy to see him. Right away,
he gave Paul a free meal and an application
to fill out, but panic set in.
“I was so embarrassed that I couldn’t read
the application,” says Paul.
“I snuck out of the restaurant and left the
food there, too. Then I went back home
and the only place I knew where to go next
was outside. I couldn’t apply for a job, but
I had enough courage to go and knock on
neighbors’ doors to ask if I could mow their
lawns and clean their yards.”
So after a failed interview at McDonald’s,
Tree King Tree Service was born and it
evolved from there.
Located in Lake Hughes, CA, Paul and
his wife, Colette Duvall Pondella, run the
Shadowland Foundation—a non-profit that
hosts on-site events and programs to educate
people about wolves.
Colette serves as Co-founder and Program
Director of Shadowland, but her affinity for
wolves began when she met Paul outside of
a spiritual center.
“We were friends for about a month,” says
Colette, “but we had similar stories of how
our marriages ended and I felt bad for him.”
Before crossing paths with Colette, Paul
went through a whirlwind of trauma despite
becoming an arborist and building a successful
As a young man, he struggled with alcohol
and drug addiction, but that didn’t keep him
from working hard. Out on the job, he would
often get calls from clients to remove cats and
iguanas from trees. Even the SPCA would
enlist him to help with rescue efforts in the
Angeles Forest, and one day in the early
1980s, he got a call to rescue a wolf-husky
mix that was sick with Canine Parvovirus.
“Everyone said to have it put down, but I
took it to a veterinarian that I knew and he
treated her—she lived. Her name was Panda
and she was amazing, but time with the fourleggeds
expires way too quickly,” says Paul.
“Now, I don’t know if that’s what they were
supposed to do or not, but the energy of the
forest spoke to me and brought Kiva and I
together. That’s when I realized, too, that
this was something I needed to bring back
to the community to educate people about.”
There are four different programs that the
Shadowland Foundation has to offer:
Playing with Wolves: Wolf Education for
Children of All Ages —children have the
opportunity to learn about the true nature of
wolves and interact with them up close to
help understand their beauty, majesty, and
ensure their survival for the future.
Wolf Pack: Teen Motivation Programs
—using the unity and power of the wolf to
educate teens about community and selfacceptance.
Teens are introduced to the
wolves to help develop their individuality,
passions, and purpose.
Power of the Pack: Successful Teams
and Organizations —reserved for groups
and organizations to develop and attain their
highest potential. Wolves embody strong
leadership qualities and true interdependence
that others can learn from to build their own
Wolves & Warriors —designed for service
members to help process and understand
trauma developed from PTSD. Like the wolf
pack, servicemen and women epitomize
the safety and survival of everyone—this
After Panda died, Paul was called once
again to the Angeles Forest in the early 90s
to rescue a timber wolf named Kiva.
“We rescued her and I asked animal control
what I was supposed to do, but they just
turned and walked away,” Paul explains. See Wolves, page 5