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The wonder of wolves

Posted by mmillay at Dec 25, 2012 11:20 PM |

Join our wolf interns as they experience the wonder of wolves in the field and what the return of wolves means to them, while appreciating wolves from Aldo Leopold's point of view with our communications intern.

The wonder of wolves

They may be elusive, but wolves are making a comeback!

The wolves' wild world

Early this year, on a trip to find evidence of the Teanaway pack, wolf interns Danna Bowers and Jamie Sandberg, whose normal days are spent in-office researching predator-prey patterns, discovered that for some people, the presence and promise of a wilder Washington and wolves on the rebound is an adventure all its own.

As we began hiking, I felt chills on my neck at the possibility of seeing a wolf. We were taking a member and her daughter to see if we could spot the rendezvous site of the Teanaway pack. Within minutes we had found wolf scat and paw prints. The rest of our hike was spent whispering, eyes darting around at any type of movement.

By day’s end, we had examined multiple piles of scat and heard many a twig snap, but the wolves had alluded us. Though we hadn’t seen a wolf, the excitement remained, especially in the eyes of the daughter’s. I am proud to have helped younger generations get excited about wolves and that Conservation Northwest has given them with a wilder backyard. -Danna

Once again we trekked down an old dirt road searching for signs of the Teanaway wolves. I could hardly contain my excitement at the thought of seeing them, or (more likely) of them seeing me. The dry August heat left little leeway for imprints by paws or claws of any kind and turned scats into crumbly raisinets of their former selves.

We may not have found wolves that day, but as luck would have it we found an entirely different pack of animals with green hats, a host of equipment, and two beavers! We were in the exact same middle-of-the-wilderness spot as WDFW staff releasing the two beautiful animals along the side banks of a creek. I was quickly reminded of the dynamic nature of the wolves’ wild world and the value they hold for all the creatures that live among them. -Jamie

From Klingon to collaboration

Communications intern Mallory Millay spends her days keeping our website updated and ready for action, keeping our members informed. Working with wolves in the media kept her up-to-date on Washington's new arrivals and allowed her to realize the value of community involvement in conservation issues.

As a communications intern, I spend most of my day keeping current news, events, and wildlife program info up-to-date on our website. I also get to be part of the communications team, attending meetings every Tuesday morning.

At first this was a daunting task. I was unfamiliar with all Conservation Northwest’s issues and sitting through the first meetings was like listening to someone with a foreign accent speak Klingon. But as the weeks went by, I began to pick up on the names and places. I hadn’t realized what leaps and bounds I’d made becoming familiar with various programs and concerns until I had the chance to inform a group of Aldo Leopold fans on the status of Washington’s wolves after a showing of the documentary, Green Fire.

This beautiful film, depicting the life of one of America’s most well known and timeless conservationists, highlights the recovery of wolves to the American West and the “green fire” Leopold saw die in the eyes of the wolf he killed as a young man.

After the film, I decided to speak up, despite my fear of public speaking. I explained the importance of the wolves in the film and the many packs and habitats Conservation Northwest has been working to help recover.

My comment was like lighting the fuse on a firecracker. You could watch the fire of an idea burn through the crowd, thinking and remembering. One fellow voiced a question about the Wedge wolf pack that was recently removed, and boom. The powder explodes. The mediator turned to me.

As I begin to explain the issue, from the cattle depredations, to the removal of the pack, to the need for and benefits of collaborative non-lethal programs like range riding, I realized, I know what I’m talking about!  By keeping abreast of all the news, press and events, I’ve gained knowledge and insight into a complicated and controversial issue. We are all of us gaining that insight, day to day.

And as any good Leopold follower knows, great realizations don’t happen all at once. -Mallory

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