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Wild Wolf Encounters
Songs for a Beloved Friend
This July we backpacked into Wolf Lake in Yellowstone National Park. Wolf Lake ranks as one of my most special places. Its beauty is wild and calm; the Gibbon River babbles through the meadow here. In a short while, the river’s flow and drop become ferocious. But at Wolf Lake, the world is gentle.
The bugs were wicked, but the chance to spend time in the park and on the water made them bearable. Comfortable in the backcountry now, in a way I never was as a young adult, I can relax and enjoy my surroundings.
Time changes when one backpacks. There is no need to mind the clock, to rush along and be back to the car before dark. Distance is halved; there’s plenty of time to sit by lakes and streams, to watch birds and waterfowl, to contemplate the clouds, and to swim if one chooses. We did choose.
The first time we swam in Wolf Lake, loons and geese came out of nowhere to greet us. I thought this was a coincidence, until it happened every time we got in the water. Loons were nesting in our favorite spot, so we camped farther afield.
Loon voices are varied and magical. Visit this Cornell Lab of Ornithology website to hear them. Here’s our audio file with one of their calls.
In the evenings, we heard another loon call sounding much more like a wolf than a bird.
On the return trip, we stopped at Ice Lake for lunch and a swim. The swans, normally so aloof, started moving toward us the moment we got in the water. So did the loon. (The same or a different one?) Who were these strange water creatures?
Honey Moon over Mountains, June 13, 2014
I tried hard to locate public domain audio of this song, but can find it only at the end of a Turner Classic Movie trailer for the movie of the same name. Thirty seconds of advertising may precede the video – apologies! Listen to Doris Day and Gordon MacRae.
The night before wasn’t bad, either:
I can’t wait to see the stars!
Originally posted on Mungai and the Goa Constrictor:
Today, Saturday 29th March 2014, billions of peoplein over one hundred and fifty countries (that means over seven thousand cities) will turn out the lights. A World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) initiative, dating back to 2007, has once again united the world in an effort to bring attention to energy consumption, sustainability and climate change issues.
This remarkable annual global occurrence takes place between 8.30 pm and 9.30 pm (YOUR) local time. Starting in New Zealand and ending in Tahiti, lights of some of the world’s most iconic monuments, landmarks and skylines will be switched off. Many will also turn off their televisions, computers, Xboxes and PlayStations, and any other power-driven gadgets they have.
This is undoubtedly the largest ever collaboration to help safeguard the planet, and numbers of participants are growing every year. The hour has, in many places, evolved into something much longer. Environmental projects are taking…
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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is the federal agency charged with administering the Endangered Species Act (ESA) on land. wikipedia/Endangered Species Act The ESA was enacted by Congress in 1973 and has been called “the Magna Carta” of the environmental movement”. –Historian Kevin Starr, quoted in Wikipedia above.
USFWS is required to use fact and science to decide which wild creatures will be added to or removed from ESA protections. This is a tall order for a politically-impassioned reality that encompasses wolves. It seems fair to say that USFWS has not yet lived up to its mandate.
The currently-proposed USFWS rule would remove wolves from the ESA in the remaining 45 states where they continue to enjoy federal protection. USFWS recently extended the comment period on this proposed rule until March 27, 2014. The comment period was extended to give those interested an opportunity to speak about a recently-issued independent scientific peer review report on USFWS’s proposal.
This report was prepared by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis at the University of California, Santa Barbara (NCEAS). It discusses the benefits wolves bring to ecosystems they inhabit and NCEAS’ conclusions that the present state of wolf recovery does not justify removing them from ESA protection.
It is important to understand what the proposed USFWS rule will and will not do. Wolves in three states – Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana – have already been removed from federal protection. This was accomplished a few years ago by congressional action on a “must-pass-or-the-government-will-cease-to-function” budget bill. This bill included the wolf de-listing proviso; many voted for it who might otherwise have opted to continue wolf recovery. The legislation stipulated that each of the three states submit to the USFWS a plan for the management of wolves within their state. When USFWS approved the plan, as it has done in all three states, hunting could begin. Wyoming’s “shoot on sight” management plan was approved and is in effect. Wolf numbers are down by huge percentages in these states.
Sadly, nothing about the proposed rule will change this. Wolf hunting in these three states will continue whether or not the proposed rule is promulgated. The only fix for Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, where most wolves in the lower 48 are located, will be either congressional action or a wholesale change in attitude. The proposed rule anticipates removing federal protections for wolves elsewhere in the lower 48 states.
Nevertheless, opposing this rule is important. Wolves have not recovered; removing them from ESA protection throughout the U.S. would insure they never will.
Please raise your voices for those without a voice:
Submit your comment to USFWS by March 27 by following this link:
and sign the petition circulated by Congressman Peter DeFazio of Oregon and directed to USFWS Director Dan Ashe:
This gorgeous video comes courtesy of Shelley Coldiron, executive director of W.O.L.F., and Amelia Curzon, who blogs at Mungai and the Goa Constrictor The video explores the ways in which wolves are regenerating the ecosystem in Yellowstone National Park and even changing the course of rivers!
As regular visitors for years to Yellowstone, we have noticed the change in elk and even buffalo behavior. More wary and alert, elk do not graze, heads down, for long periods in one location. They watch and move. We assumed this was a learned response to wolf re-introduction. And now the beneficial effect on vegetation, streams and rivers, and the animals who congregate there is becoming clear.
Wolves renew, taking the weak and the sick, who might otherwise die of starvation; leaving the strong to procreate, returning balance to the areas they inhabit. Like fire, like wolves. The fire that cleanses, purifies, makes room, restores, renews, regenerates, gives life. Like fire, like wolves.
Wolves give life! Let us raise our voices in praise!
A note to my special blogging friends on WordPress, whose work I adore:
Please forgive me for being less responsive of late. I have begun two projects, potentially major. Both involve wolves. These projects are in the thinking, planning, and researching stages. In order to get them off the ground, I will have to join with other people – Yikes!! I have always preferred to work alone, and that will have to change! I must be more like a wolf in cooperative effort – my survival is at stake, too.
When the project is something more than an idea, I want to share it with you and get your feedback. In the meantime, I am thinking of you and hoping what is dear to your hearts is also bearing fruit. Blessings to you, dear Bloggers!
The “deer” in the video are really elk, but this has no effect on the point made.
I have a TV screen in the kitchen, where I often indulge my addiction to Turner Classic Movies (TCM) while I cook. Today I saw a few snippets from the middle of Tugboat Annie, a 1933 classic with Marie Dressler and Wallace Beery. Both Dressler and Beery have the most expressive voices and faces – faces which could launch a thousand tugboats.
Here’s what I heard:
Wallace Beery dancing with Marie Dressler:
You seem to have more feet than most people!
And she to him earlier in the movie when talking about his uncomfortable new shoes:
I told you to wear the box they came in!
A drunken Wallace Beery talking about his erstwhile employer:
I wouldn’t spit on him if he was on fire!
Marie Dressler to her son (Robert Young) about Beery:
Your father never struck me in his life!!! … except in self defense!
Maybe you had to be there! Cheers and good belly laughing!
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is setting up Citizen Advocacy programs across the U.S. and inviting us all to participate. These programs are focused on approaching the challenge of dealing with climate change. The NRDC proposes to train participants in the art of changing minds. Here’s what they say about their purpose:
NRDC Citizen Advocates has two purposes. The first is to create the political will for a livable planet and a clean energy future. Our initial focus is to support the President’s climate plan. If we successfully defend the Clean Air Act, the EPA, and the President’s plan to reduce CO2 emissions from fossil fuel power plants, the result will be a 25% reduction of those emissions by 2025 and a 30% reduction by 2030.
These outcomes are a critical step forward. They will increase the competitiveness of green energy alternatives and increase the rate at which they are deployed in the economy.
The engine that will generate these results is the energy, passion, and activities that you and other Citizen Advocates will take. And that leads directly to our second purpose…
The benefits to you
The second purpose of NRDC Citizen Advocates is to empower individuals to have breakthroughs in expressing their personal and political power. This is HOW you will help us achieve our first purpose. It is also a huge benefit to you. Can you imagine going from feeling the situation is hopeless and that you can’t make a difference, to feeling like you are truly making a difference?
As a Citizen Advocate, you’ll start from wherever you are—in terms of your personal skills and power— and learn to do things you’ve never done before. We’re committed to doing everything we possibly can to make sure that you have those breakthroughs and feel that your efforts really are making a difference in dealing with the carbon crises.
The NRDC as an organization knows how to accomplish its goals. The possibility of sharing in some of that knowledge and accomplishing something of value appeals to me. If it appeals to you, too, here are the times and places for the initial meetings in Little Rock, Arkansas; Springfield, Illinois; Lansing, Michigan; Des Moines, Iowa; St. Louis, Missouri; and Denver Colorado:
The NRDC invites you to find out more by attending a 2.5 – 3.0 hour Advocacy Team Startup event:
Little Rock, Arkansas
Saturday January 25, 2014
1:30 – 4:30 pm
100 Rock Street
Click to R.S.V.P.
Sunday, January 26, 2014
2:00 ‐ 5:00 p.m.
6760 Old Jacksonville Road
Click to R.S.V.P.
Monday January 27, 2014
6:30 – 9:30 pm
Michigan Environmental Council
602 W. Ionia Street
Click to R.S.V.P.
Des Moines, Iowa
Tuesday January 28, 2014
6:30 – 9:30 pm
The Mickle Center
1620 Pleasant Street
Click to R.S.V.P.
St. Louis, Missouri
Thursday January 30, 2014
7:00 – 9:30 pm
9001 Clayton Road
Click to R.S.V.P.
Saturday February 1, 2014
9:30 ‐ 12:30 am
Capitol Heights Presbyterian
1100 Fillmore Street
Click to R.S.V.P. (I’ll be there.)
For questions or comments, please contact Harold Hedelman at: hhedelman@NRDC.org