— 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. — In April I received an anguished email…..:  Hi Susan, We have a situation I could use advice on….Gigi the Grouse. For about a month Gigi has been hanging around the house. She walks right up to us and Jasper the dog.  A few times she has jumped on Jasper. She waits at the back door for us, follows us on walks with Jasper and hangs around the garage if we leave the door open. Now I have to check to make sure she isn’t by or behind the car. She will talk grouse talk at us as though we understand and she would eat out of my hand if I fed her which I don’t. I’m concerned for her safety and wonder if she has a mental or emotional problem. Any...

-- 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...

-- Deb Matlock, MA -- A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog entitled A Confusion of the Heart which explored the depths of the human heart and our connection to wild animals. In this post, I spoke of the death of a baby bison after the baby was placed in a car by Yellowstone Park visitors and driven to a ranger station. Why? Because the visitors feared the animal was cold and abandoned. In a similar story reported in The Washington Post on January 7, 2017, a family was devastated after game wardens in Kansas shot a deer they had been keeping as a semi-house pet, while they watched in horror. This deer, named Faline, was reportedly tamed by the family, enjoyed time in their home, and also...

-- by Deb Matlock, M.A. -- At the time, I lived at about 9,000 feet in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies.  I had two lovely dogs, Levi and Kaia.  It was the middle of the day…a bright, sunny, clear, beautiful western day.  Levi and Kaia were basking in the sun while I was hanging laundry on the line. Chickadees were bouncing around the trees and the dry air was warm against my skin. Suddenly, Levi, the more vocally expressive of the two dogs jumped up and started to bark wildly.  It was then that I noticed that Kaia, a 35-pound border collie mix, was standing frozen at the fence, staring intently off towards the shed which was about 30 feet away.  I ran to her and tried to...

-- by Deb Matlock, M.A. -- At Earthfire Institute, the powerful idea of starting a conversation, any conversation, as a way to explore how to best live on this earth is rooted in every offering…from retreats to presentations to blogs like this one.  In fact, Conservation Conversations, gatherings of change makers for the purpose of discussing some of the most challenging conservation issues, are at the core of Earthfire’s mission.  Also though, at Earthfire, the concept is taken one step farther than is often the case.  The voices of wild animals are considered a valued and critical part of the discussion...ones that are often left out or dismissed in common human communications....