The Green Fire Behind Lords of Nature

Have you wondered about the filmmakers of Lords of Nature?

Twenty-two years ago filmmakers Karen Anspacher-Meyer and Ralf Meyer began their quest, of engaging and motivating audiences on the day’s most pressing conservation issues. From the beginning, one story above all captured the essence of their ambitions. It was the classic nature essay, “Thinking Like a Mountain,” in which the great naturalist Aldo Leopold had a life-altering epiphany in watching the green fire fading from the eyes of a dying wolf. Karen and Ralf therewith dedicated themselves to inspiring modern generations of conservationists as the green fire had inspired Leopold. Thus Green Fire Productions was born.

And so it is, after two decades and more than twenty documentaries igniting green fires in their audiences, that the Meyers find themselves coming full circle. In their film, Lords of Nature: Life in a Land of Great Predators, they are bringing new light to the irreplaceable ecological role of top predators that Leopold himself had evoked more than half a century before.

Lords of Nature was conceived several years ago, when the Meyers caught word of the work of two Oregon State University researchers, Bill Ripple and Bob Beschta, exploring an ecological phenomenon transforming some of the great national parks of the American West. Ripple and Beschta were uncovering evidence that wolves and cougars, through their powers of predation, could ironically foster a more vibrant array of flora and fauna, from beavers to butterflies, wildflowers to willows—that these top predators could in essence grow forests, repair streams, and revive ailing ecosystems. This was science that the greater public needed to know.

But the story was more complex than just the science. The idea of bringing these big predators back as ecological lynchpins came with broad societal implications. It was this intricate story of science and society that the Meyers have set out to tell in Lords of Nature.

“We hope to see traditional wildlife management move away from artificial target numbers for predators, and move towards ecologically effective populations,” says Karen Meyer. “We also hope to encourage non-lethal approaches to reducing conflicts. By showcasing ways that livestock producers are living with wolves, we learn that it can be done—that by doing a few things differently, we can live our lives while allowing the great predators to live theirs too.”

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It’s National Wolf Awareness Week!

This week is the time to bring some much-needed attention to wolves and their importance to our ecosystem.  It’s Wolf Awareness Week 2011, and you can use this event to tell everyone you know about the important role wolves play in the environment. 

In the past, wolves have been given a bad reputation, as people have feared and misunderstood them.  They were exterminated, and they were driven from nearly all of their historic range by the early 1900′s.

In 1996, Wolf Awareness Week became a national event, with governors from 26 states proclaiming the third week of October as the official time to celebrate wolves.  The goals of Wolf Awareness Week are to dispel misconceptions about wolves while creating a consciousness about the important role wolves and other predators play in maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

What are you doing to celebrate Wolf Awareness Week?  To find events to attend and actions to take, check out the links below:

Wolf Haven International

Defenders of Wildlife

Mexicanwolves.org

And, here is a web calendar we created to help you plan your week:  Lobo Events

Photo Credit:  USFWFS Pacific:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwspacific/5535308242/sizes/m/in/photostream/

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This Weekend: Lords of Nature at the Ellensburg Film Festival

This Saturday, October 8th, Lords of Nature will be featured at the Ellensburg Film Festival in Ellensburg, Washington. Since 2004, this three-day festival has been showing an outstanding selection of critically acclaimed films, with numerous screenings and venues, diverse cultural and artistic offerings, and a fun and relaxed atmosphere open to all. Previous festival films have gone on to be featured (and even win awards!) at the Sundance Film Festival, Cannes, and other well-known festivals around the world.

The Ellensburg Film Festival uses movies to encourage dialog and to promote diversity, while forging new connections between the region and the rest of the world. Using a program of thought-provoking cinema, the festival exposes audiences to both the artistry and important issues in current independent film. The festival also provides a platform for students, colleagues, and community members to exhibit their work while advancing local economic activity.

Other films showing at the festival include Even the Rain, If a Tree Falls: The Story of the Earth Liberation Front, A Perfect Soldier, Pedal Driven: A Bike-umentary, and many more.     

Lords of Nature will be showing at 1:45pm at the Central Washington University Theater located at 400 E. University Way in Ellensburg.

Prior to the screening, viewers will be treated to a 10-minute short film, and they can look forward to a Q&A discussion immediately following Lords of Nature. Trust us–this is a film that will get people talking about wolves and why coexistence is crucial!

(Image from Ellensburg Film Festival’s Facebook Page)

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Host a Home Screening of Lords of Nature

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/caninest/4394675343/

Do you want to do more to protect wolves and other predators, but you aren’t sure how to take the next step? We’ve created a great opportunity for you to make a major impact as a wolf advocate.

You can be a champion for wildlife by hosting a screening of Lords of Nature in your own home. By downloading our free Home Screening Kit and Discussion Guide, and ordering the DVD, you’ll have everything you need to get started.

In 3 simple steps, you can organize your own Lords of Nature Evening of Action:

1. Download the Home Screening Kit, and work with the Green Fire Productions staff to plan an       event and action.
2. Invite family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors to your home for a screening of the film.
3. After the film, lead your guests to take action to protect the Mexican wolf.

We’ll be here to help if you have questions along the way. Why not ask a friend to co-host the event, and get started today?

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Building Community to Support Wolves and Other Predators

At Green Fire Productions, our films help frame the debate, build credibility, influence decision makers, and increase media coverage for predator issues. But, one of the most important aspects of our work is educating the public and inspiring citizens to speak out and stand up for the great predators. We know that our work cannot be accomplished without people like you, who get involved in the cause and spread the word to even more people.

You can help so much by joining us in our online communities and becoming part of the conversation. Did you know that we have a Facebook Page, Twitter account, and YouTube channel? You can immediately show your support and join the conversation by becoming our fan on Facebook, following us on Twitter, and subscribing to our YouTube channel. And, don’t stop there—become an advocate for wolves and other predators by inviting your friends and family to do the same. We welcome any and all who believe that predators are a vital piece of our ecosystem and that they have the right to co-exist with us.

Become our Fan on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our YouTube channel

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Take Action for Wyoming’s Wolves

Wolf

If you have already contacted legislators on behalf of wolves in Wyoming, thank you! The more people who get involved in advocating for wolves, the stronger our voice will be.

If you haven’t spoken out against the terrible “management” plan to be implemented in Wyoming, please take a few minutes to send a note to Secretary of Interior Salazar.

The State of Wyoming and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to allow wolves across most of the state to be shot on sight, without a permit and without limit. There will be no protections for pregnant or nursing wolves, and no protection for pups. It’s a license to kill wolves across most of the state.

The Endangered Species Coalition has created a letter, which can be personalized and edited, for wolf advocates to send to Secretary Ken Salazar. Please visit their website, and let your voice be heard today! You can amplify your voice by posting this action to Facebook and Twitter and by talking to your community about this terrible plan—and by letting them know how they can help.

(Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/arabfancy/2656850113/)

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Lords of Nature Screening at the Far North Conservation Film Festival

Lords of Nature is on tour with the Far North Conservation Film Festival. It will screen at the Murie Science and Learning Center at Denali National Park in Alaska on August 29th at 7pm. There will be a Q&A session about top predators in Alaska immediately following the film. We are excited to be a part of the festival, and we hope our Alaskan supporters and wolf advocates will enjoy the film!

Founded in 2003, the Far North Conservation Film Festival presents a diverse group of outstanding films sharing a common theme of conservation and sustainability of wildlife, wild places and cultures around the world. The festival, which is free and open to the public, is co-sponsored by the following:

  • The National Park service
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Alaska Public Lands Information Center
  • Fairbanks Arts Association
  • Fairbanks North Star Borough Parks and Recreation
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks Student Activities Office
  • The student chapter of The Wildlife Society
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New Wolf Pack in Washington

(Photo credit:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/sometimesong/2182803563/)

The Seattle Times reported last week that biologists have confirmed a fifth wolf pack in Washington. Biologists with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife found the gray-wolf pack living in the state’s northeast corner after they tagged and released a young wolf pup. This confirmation comes after ranchers in Stevens County reported seeing two adults and three pups, as well as hearing howling, earlier in the summer.

Just two weeks earlier, a breeding female wolf was collared in the Teanaway drainage near Interstate 90, which is about a 90-minute drive east of Seattle. After conducting DNA tests, biologists learned that this female wolf descended from the Lookout Pack in the Methow Valley, which descended from wolves in nearby British Columbia.

The newest pack was named the Smackout Pack, after the nearby Smackout mountain pass. The Lookout Pack, which was the state’s first pack, took up residence in Okanogan County in 2007 or 2008. Tragically, this pack has since been devastated by several poaching incidents. Northeast Washington is also home to the Diamond and Salmo packs.

Even though all of Washington’s wolves are protected as state endangered species, only the wolves west of Highway 97 have the protection under the federal Endangered Species Act. Unfortunately, Washington’s eastern wolves are considered part of the Rocky Mountain wolves that were removed from federal protection earlier this year.

To learn more about Washington’s wolves and to take action, visit Conservation Northwest’s website.

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Did Your Representative Vote for Wildlife?

Image credit:  (http://www.flickr.com/photos/forestwander-nature-pictures/5379581064/)

Last Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a measure to strip the 2012 Interior funding bill of the aptly named Extinction Rider. This measure was introduced by Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA) and co-sponsored by Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI). The proposal would have devastated wildlife and drastically undermined the Endangered Species Act.

Thankfully, 224 Members of Congress voted to protect the Endangered Species Act. However, 202 voted to put hundreds of species such as Pacific walruses, wolverines and Rio Grande cutthroat trout on the fast-track to extinction.

When it comes to endangered species protection, it’s important to let our voices be heard–whether they are voices of thanks or voices of condemnation. We want all threatened and endangered species, from wolves to birds, to be protected.

How did your Member of Congress vote? You can find out on the Endangered Species Coalition’s website here. If your Representative voted for wildlife, thank them. Let them know you support their decision to protect endangered species.

If they voted in favor of big money special interests, let them know that you’ll be following their votes and that you expect more from them.

Find out how your Representative voted and send them a message here.

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Oregon’s Livestock Compensation and Wolf Coexistence Bill

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dennis_matheson/4332300009/

As many of you know, the Oregon Senate recently passed a bill that will put into place a comprehensive livestock compensation and wolf coexistence program. The passage of this bill signals Oregon’s ongoing commitment to responsible wolf management. Here is an overview of the facts, as well as what it will mean for wolves:

  • The Oregon Senate unanimously approved the bill on June 24, 2011, allowing ranchers who proactively use nonlethal deterrents and best management practices to protect their livestock to receive compensation payments for subsequent losses to wolves.
  • This program resulted from the collaborative efforts of Defenders of Wildlife, the Governor’s office, the Oregon Cattleman’s Association, legislators, Hells Canyon Preservation Council, the Oregon Farm Bureau, Wallowa County ranchers and others who worked to reduce conflict and allow wolves and livestock to better coexist on the landscape.
  • Since 1987, more than 900 livestock owners have received benefits from this program, which paid more than $1.4 million through Defenders of Wildlife’s privately funded reimbursement program. This program has helped ranchers adjust to the return of wolves. Last year, Defenders of Wildlife announced the phasing out of its compensation program and has now turned its focus on helping ranchers implement preventative methods to deter wolves from preying on livestock.
  • Once the bill is signed by Gov. John Kitzhaber, the new Oregon wolf compensation and coexistence program will go into effect, officially ending Defenders’ long-standing wolf compensation program in the Northern Rockies.
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