A primary aim of environmental education is to promote environmental values. Significant life experiences (SLE) are a powerful, fast and long-lasting way to achieve this objective, but they have received little scholarly attention thus far. As examples to help us characterize SLE and understand their function, the cases of three well-known environmentalists, Seton, Leopold, and Rodriguez de la Fuente, will be studied. All three environmentalists came into contact with wolves and looked them in the eye. These experiences, described as SLE, resulted in major changes in these environmentalists' lives. Although SLE are not reproducible on demand, by studying these cases through the narratives and biographies of these environmentalists, we can shed light on how to facilitate or promote, when possible, the acquisition of deep and lasting values through environmental education.