A quick review of wolverine news over the past week, as well as a volunteer opportunity for the coming weeks:
Wolverines made the news in Calgary, Canada, with a short video piece on a study of the impacts of the Trans-Canada highway on the species. The segment contains some photos of camera-trapped wolverines, and highlights a different camera-trap method from the one employed by Audrey Magoun in Oregon.
Earlier this week, I had an interesting conversation with Forrest McCarthy, who is the public lands director at Winter Wildlands Alliance and who has worked with several wolverine projects in the past. He pointed me to two interesting sites. Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation is an organization dedicated to combining adventure in the wild with intellectual stimulation and exploration. In association with Wild Things Unlimited, ASC is hosting a wolverine and lynx tracking workshop from February 3-5. Information is available here; at last glance, they still had room for volunteers. The work will take place on the Gallatin and Helena National Forests and requires solid backcountry skills.
Forrest also suggested that I check out Bedrock and Paradox, a blog maintained by Dave Chenault, who works with the ongoing Glacier National Park DNA and camera study. Some of the entries deal with the wolverine work (the most recent here), and the rest with interesting questions about outdoor gear and existential crisis (not necessarily always linked….) He’s a good writer and an interesting thinker, and since Doug Chadwick doesn’t have a blog, this might be the best way to keep up with events in Glacier gulo land.
The Idaho Panhandle wolverine project has stepped up its PR with regular blog updates every Wednesday – be sure to check these out, as they also offer the opportunity to keep up with an on-going project, as well as insight into such esoterica as how to deal with a gigantic shipment of skinned beavers. Another account is available from the Idaho Conservation League. All of these pieces on wolverine work are heartening; it’s great that people are so inspired.
Finally, here’s an article from the New York Times on why introverts need solitude in order to do their best work. Is this related to wolverines? Kind of, because wolverines are the Solitary Creature par excellence, and, as a raging introvert, that’s one of the reasons I fell in love with them immediately. I’ll avoid the very long exploration of these connections and my own personal feelings about people who don’t understand the introvert mode of creativity, but suffice to say that this is on my mind because I’ve been having some issues (from the time I first went to kindergarten right on up through last week….) with people who think that doing good work and being a decent human being rely on formulaic group interactions and enforced collegiality. For people who truly are introverts, the choice is clear: do mediocre work by engaging in these enforced situations and keeping your own impulses suppressed, or do brilliant work by embracing the gulo model of existence and scaling the peaks that need to be scaled. I am not a creature of the lowlands, and I am not a herd animal, so I really appreciate public attention to this issue of different ways of getting things done. I know that associating this issue with wolverines is purely totemic, but once in a while it’s okay to admit that our fascination with the natural world is about the reflections and lessons that its features (and creatures) invoke.