— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — August 1, 2017 A sweet young volunteer, Gwen, came into the office walking softly, her hands cupped together in front of her ever so gently, holding something apparently very delicate and precious.  It was a baby bird. She had seen it tumble off our roof from under the gable onto the ground. She rushed to pick it up. It was still alive. It was far too young to survive out of the nest, having just sprouted a few tufts of feathers sticking out in ungainly fashion from its naked pink skin.  It was a baby sparrow. Left to Right: Baby sparrow just fallen off roof, baby sparrow in hand | Photo by Earthfire Here was a golden opportunity for Gwen,...

-- by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. -- A call came – can we take a baby beaver? Yes. When it arrived it was tiny – close to a newborn. It was crying piteously. There was no one in the state available to care for it except us and we did our very best. Jean used his special energy to try to infuse life force into it, spending hours trying to get her to take a bottle. I had a special pouch made so that I could carry her with me close to my beating heart for the sense of companionship so crucial to beavers. We put fresh and crushed willow with her for a familiar smell in case that would give her ease. Despite our best efforts, research, vet care, the baby beaver didn’t make it. The last two...

We will be continuing our in-depth, heartfelt conversation from May, contemplating some key questions that arose in the conversation and remain in our hearts and minds: • When we say, “all life is sacred,” what does it mean for how we live? • How do we connect with animals and nature? • What is our story? • How can we support each other on our journey to healing our connection with wildlife and nature? The online video conversation takes place on Wednesday, June 21, at 6pm Mountain time (5pm Pacific; 8pm Eastern). The cost is free, but space is limited, and advance registration is required. Reserve Your Spot Now for this Heartfelt Community Experience...

— by Susan B. Eirich, Ph.D. — I recently listened to a reading by poet David Whyte about “beautiful heartbreak.” I immediately thought about the rehabilitation license we just received. It essentially guarantees heartbreak. But it is necessary. In some cases there is a moral imperative – to try to undo some of the harm other humans have done, sometimes deliberately and callously; other times by accident but none the less human-caused harm. Sometimes we just need to give aid to a helpless living being who needs it. If we don’t accept both halves of life, the joy and the sorrow, we are in a sense rejecting the nature of life, wanting it to be what we want, rather than accepting...

-- By Susan Eirich, PhD -- After 19 years of trying, Earthfire Institute has finally received a formal rehabilitation license from the State of Idaho Department of Fish and Game. We have been working with them informally over the years on a case by case basis when they needed help with specific animals, but this is different. We can now take calls from the public and they are coming in several times a week. The need is so great! And so many of the issues are human caused that we owe it to the animals to do what we can. At this time of year it is mostly orphaned babies. To date we have welcomed coyotes and beavers but soon there will be black bear babies and others. I am afraid that I am...