-- 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 Susan Eirich, PhD -- Hope, a feral wolf-dog, was caught between two worlds. Not just the wild and the human, but even more, between deeply ingrained hard-wiring for fear and self-preservation, and the need to connect. Once we trapped him it took a very long time for him begin to tentatively trust anything; dog, wolf or human. But he so wanted to! On some level he understood that to connect was to fill a hunger. And in the larger picture, that to connect was to ensure survival. These things, when one considers them, are mysterious. He took a chance; he dared. Why? We humans made an effort. But so did Hope. This wasn’t humans “taming” a wolf dog. He had to participate...

-- 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....

-- by Susan B. Eirich, Ph.D. -- There was a national sadness at the euthanizing of a baby bison in Yellowstone last May. It was taken away from its herd by well-meaning but ill-informed tourists, and the rangers made the decision to kill it when it couldn’t be introduced back. It was causing difficulties running up to cars looking for help. We all become a bit traumatized by news like this. There have been radically different responses to this highly emotional event. An environmental educator wrote in response to what she perceived as cruel attacks on the tourists through social media. She talks about the basically loving, concerned impulse of the tourists, however misguided, and how...

-- by Deb Matlock M.A. -- Recently, in Yellowstone National Park, a couple of visitors from out of the country saw a baby bison laying by the side of the road.  Fearing the baby was cold, they placed the baby in the back of their car and drove to a ranger station seeking help for the young one. Locals and those familiar with the etiquette of living with bison know these individuals made a very dangerous decision for everyone involved. However, this situation speaks to the deeper need to understand the world around us so that our heart can make informed decisions when we feel compelled to act. The tragically unfortunate ending to this story is that the baby bison ultimately had to be...

Jean sensed something was wrong. He was using the backhoe to dig a pond for our new beaver rehabilitation project.* He noticed two killdeer running on the ground and fluttering their wings as if wounded, trying to attract his attention. He suddenly realized, ‘There's a nest somewhere here!’ and they were trying to lure him away with the promise of themselves as prey. He was digging for a good cause – to save beaver. But apparently the birds had decided this is where they were going to have their family. He stopped the backhoe and got out to look for the nest. The ground was all rocks and killdeer eggs are perfectly camouflaged for that setting. He could look for a long time and not...