After a seven-year tenure at the North Lakeland Discovery Center in Manitowish Waters, Wis., the Timber Wolf Alliance is in the process of returning north to Northland College.
“We birthed this program and handed it off during a period when we couldn’t sustain it, but now it makes sense to bring it back,” said Assistant Professor of Natural Resources Erik Olson, who sits on the TWA board and will provide faculty support to the programs.
Northland College started TWA in 1987 as a way to educate citizens about the wolf recovery plan in Wisconsin. In 2008, the Discovery Center offered to house the program — an offer Northland accepted.
“As a small non-profit nature center in northern Wisconsin,the North Lakeland Discovery Center is very proud to have fulfilled the role of host organization for the Timber Wolf Alliance,” said Executive Director Azael Meza.
From early 2008 through 2014, the Discovery Center provided a home for TWA Board meetings, delivered outreach educational programs and events, managed memberships, and directed fundraising efforts, such as the Wolf Awareness Week poster.
“But as the vision for the Alliance expands from a regional focus to the national arena, we are delighted to work with the Northland College Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute and the TWA Board, to ensure a smooth transfer that is mutually beneficial,” Meza said.
The belief is that Northland College will provide TWA with fertile academic ground, additional resources, and dedicated leadership that will help it flourish.
Olson will provide faculty support to the TWA program by assisting with the development of Wolf Awareness Week activities and by organizing three one-credit courses that align with the TWA mission —Wolf Ecology and Management, Furbearer Ecology and Management, and Carnivore Tracking — available next year to both students and the public.
Olson is also teaching an upper level course titled Wolf Ecology, Management, and Research. This year students in that course completed a survey of local attitudes regarding various wolf management strategies.
Leadership will also come from Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute Executive Director Mark Peterson who is shepherding the move.
“As a society, we have a long way to go in finding common ground that benefits humans and predators like wolves,” Peterson said. “My hope is that with the science and research of our faculty combined with our outreach efforts, we will not only educate the public, but help resolve conflicts.”