Midwest Wolf Steward's Conference - 2012
Wolfwatcher's President Dave Hornoff introduces
the Great Lakes Regional Team
Tara Morrison, Dave Hornoff, Nancy Warren, Laura Menefee
The Midwest Wolf Stewards Conference meets annually to discuss wolf conservation in the Great Lakes region. It includes professionals from state and federal agencies, the province of Ontario, NGO's, universities, tribes, and others interested in the management of wolves in the Great Lakes region. Wolfwatcher President Dave Hornoff, Great Lakes Regional Director Nancy Warren and Great Lakes Advisers Tara Morrison and Laura Menefee were our representatives this year in Duluth, Minnesota.
Message from Wolfwatcher President, Dave Hornoff
"One of the most important highlights that I brought away from the Conference was the overall theme of 'common ground.' I was surprised to see a devoted effort on both sides of the wolf issue to come together, to talk genuinely and to exchange information and ideas freely. This certainly is not Idaho, and Idaho was mentioned more than once as a state that makes it difficult for others to seek common ground. Of particular interest to me was a compelling presentation, Of Wolves, Men, and Wildlands by Jim Hammill.
Tara Morrison, Peggy Callahan , Founder/Director of Wildlife Science Center, Dave Hornoff
Jim said, "We have missed the boat on wolves! It is now not so much about wolves as it is about habitat." Jim went on to show detailed evidence that indicates that the wolf habitat of the Great Lakes Region is imperiled by a projected 20% increase in human encroachment - housing, businesses and logging. He urged that we focus strongly on preserving habitat going forward, and suggested that we give great attention to supporting Land Trusts.
The other speaker that I found most informative was retired DNR biologist Randy Jurewicz of Wisconsin. Since his retirement, Randy speaks freely, about the WI wolf hunt legislation; he considers the plan to be bad because it allows for night hunting and also hunting with dogs. He provided the visual scenario of dogs chasing wolves, wolves chasing dogs, and the opportunity for abuse by the dog owners should a dog be killed in the process of the hunt. Randy provided insightful information as to how we can better advocate for wolves and make a difference in the numbers by presenting a common ground approach ~ he believes the ability to make change will come from gaining inside ground, and not from the outside looking in."
As always, it was great to visit with Wolfwatcher's Great Lakes Regional Team. Our discussions about vital issues in the region and their "boots on the ground" perspective about these issues are instrumental in designing meaningful educational and advocacy campaigns in the future.
Meet Wolfwatcher's Great Lakes Regional Team
Nancy Warren, Great Lakes Regional Director
"My passion began about 20 years ago when I learned that we had a handful of wolves in the U.P (Michigan). I attended workshops, conferences and lectures and discovered that for wolves to survive there needs to be human tolerance. One way to improve human tolerance is by gaining a better understanding of wolf behavior through education. As a volunteer for the Timber Wolf Alliance Speakers Bureau, I give programs at schools and various organizations throughout Northern Wisconsin and the Western U.P. I have been a volunteer tracker for the Wisconsin Volunteer Carnivore Program since 1995, conducted howling surveys and have assisted with the collaring of several wolves in Wisconsin. I represented Defenders of Wildlife on the Michigan Wolf Roundtable where we developed the guiding principles for the MI Wolf Management Plan. I live with my husband and two dogs near Ewen and have welcomed and adapted to having wolves and other wild animals frequent our property."
Minnesota Adviser, Public Lands Outreach Adviser
Tara Morrison at the Wildlife Science Center
"I am a lifelong wildlife-watcher and stay at home mom of 3 kids (and 3 dogs). I love taking road trips out west with my kids to hike and see wolves, bears and other wildlife. My "hands on" wolf experience has come from my 7 years of serving as an Education Volunteer at the Wildlife Science Center in Columbus, MN (where Animal Planet's "Growing Up Wolf" was filmed). I've spent a summer hand-raising wolf pups that were rejected by their mother, have had the opportunity to observe/assist with various wolf surgeries such as a cesarean-section, implantation of abdominal radio transmitters in 4 month old pups, and observing different types of research. I love teaching about wolves, especially to children who haven't had much, if any, exposure to wildlife...watching their interest and enthusiasm for the wolf come to life before my eyes is one of the most rewarding things I've ever experienced. In my volunteer work with WSC I've had opportunities to talk with people on all sides of the wolf issue and I hold a very middle of the road view on wolf management."
Hillari Vashaw, Junior Adviser, Michigan
Hillari is a typical 16 year-old.Although school, family, track, dating, proms and texting are a big part of her life, what makes Hillari stand out in the crowd is her willingness to share her passion for wolves with others. Hillari has a contagious
Hillari at work in Mich
smile and her enthusiasm comes through in her wolf presentations. Over the past four years, Hillari has developed several wolf programs for children including one specific to smell and hearing another about the wolf's coat and teeth. For yet another she explains the process of capture and collaring wolves for monitoring purposes. She even developed a game of "Wolf Jeopardy". You can see Hillari in action at "Wolf Day With Hillari" where she is teaching a 4th grade class about the wolf's keen night vision. We are pleased that Hillari has agreed to be a Wolfwatcher Junior Adviser.
Laura Menefee, Wisconsin Adviser
|Nancy Warren and Laura Menef|
Laura writes on environmental issues for Sierra Club and other organizations. She has worked as a volunteer biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is a carnivore tracker for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and is a member of the Coalition of Wisconsin Wolf Trackers.
Recently, Laura authored a compelling article about Wisconsin's wolf plan: Wolf Hunt Based on Politics, Not Science.
As a national grassroots organization, we strive to be a responsible voice for wild wolves through education and advocacy. If you would like to take a more active role in this mission, please contact Wolfwatcher's Education and Resource Director, Diane Bentivegna for details about ways you can use your time and talents to help wolves.
Howls for now from the,
National Wolfwatcher Coalition