Updated Thurs., 5/3 – The Timber Wolf Alliance has announced the addition of Radley Watkins of Hazelhurst as their new Education and Communication Specialist.
With the delisting of the gray wolf in Wisconsin and other western Great Lake states, the Timber Wolf Alliance is filling the need to share information about living with wolves. The Timber Wolf Alliance is a 25-year old conservation organization housed at the North Lakeland Discovery Center that is dedicated to using education to promote and maintain a viable population of wolves in the western Great Lakes region.
Watkins earned his master’s degree from Michigan Technological University with a focus on Landscape Ecology, and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Montana with a focus on biogeography and ecosystem management. His involvement with wolves started in the early 1990s as a conservation advocate in Montana when the Federal government was working to reintroduce wolves to Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho (the largest roadless area in the lower 48 States). In addition, he has worked on numerous wildlife and natural resource projects, including collecting DNA samples from grizzly bears and writing strategic, landscape-scale management plans for multiple species. He was hired as Oneida County’s first Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator in 2005, and served several years in that capacity.
Upon his return to Wisconsin in 1997, Watkins was a volunteer wolf tracker, a program run by the WI DNR with training assistance from the Timber Wolf Alliance. At that time wolves were returning to Wisconsin from Minnesota without any artificial relocation from government agencies, and the population was wellunder 200 individuals. Now, with populations in the Midwest estimated at around 800 wolves in Wisconsin, just under 700 in Michigan, and slightly under 3,000 in Minnesota, all reestablished naturally, the gray wolf has been delisted as an endangered species. With the Federal delisting, management authority went from the US Fish and Wildlife Service to control by state wildlife management agencies. Wisconsin and Minnesota immediately proposed a hunting season on wolves, with Wisconsin proposing to harvest up to two-thirds of the total State population.
With these recent significant changes Watkins believes this is an essential time to be involved in wolf conservation.
“The gray wolf is part of the natural diversity of this region and they provide valuable environmental services to our ecosystems. There are a lot of misconceptions about wolves and about living in areas where they exist,” he said. “They are not the evil creatures that fairytales have madethem out to be, but they don’t eat salads. With the proper education anyone can live with wolves, and we can all benefit from the services they provide.”
Watkins started at the Timber Wolf Alliance on April 26 by attending the Midwest Wolf Stewards Conference in Duluth Minnesota. He will be managing the Timber Wolf Alliance’s outreach and education efforts. The mission of the TWA is to use education to promote and maintain aviable population of wolves in the western Great Lakes region.
For more more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call the Discovery Center at (877) 543-2085, or visit discoverycenter.net. The Discovery Center is located on Cty. W, 1.2 miles north of U.S. 51 in Manitowish Waters.