Tag: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Oregon wolves, and book writing!

Just wanted to share some good news with you. Well, regarding Oregon’s wolves!

My so-called book has rather ground to a halt.  Sturdy followers of this blog will recall that in November last year, I sat down and wrote the first draft of a book, under the umbrella of NaNoWriMo = write a minimum of a 50,000-word novel in the month of November.  That I did write in excess of 50,000 words (53,704) in under thirty days felt a wonderful achievement.

But then reality set in!

I subscribed to a NaNoWriMo webinar on editing hosted by David Henry Sterry and Arielle Eckstut of The Book Doctors. To my horror, half-way through the webinar came the realisation that what I had written wasn’t even a fictional novel: It was a personal story on the theme of what dogs have taught me over a life of approaching 70 years.

So those 53,000 words had to be rewritten as non-fiction book!

The next boulder to cause me to fall was the issue of tense.  The book had been written in the 3rd-person, as you can see from the draft of Chapter Twenty-Three.  But the more that I thought about the story the more that it felt that it should be in the 1st-person; namely this first person!  Reinforced by feedback from Jeannie and from reading Melinda Roth’s latest book Mestengo clearly written in the first-person.

Mestengo book cover.
Mestengo book cover.

Chapter One

I first smelled the smoke as I stood in the driveway of the farmhouse on the top of a hill in McHenry County in Northern Illinois that was, according to the man who leased it to me one month before, the highest point in all of Northern Illinois.

Damn, damn, damn!  Now the rewrite not only has to go from fiction to non-fiction, it also has to change the tense from ‘Philip’ to ‘Paul’; from him to me!  The words from The Book Doctors seminar rang louder and louder, “You write the first draft for yourself; you edit it for your readers!” (Smart arses!)

Then along came hope in the form of Kami Garcia, the author.  It was a NaNoWriMo pep talk.

So you made it through NaNoWriMo, and you have 50,000 words… Now what? It’s the same question a lot of writers face when they finish a first draft. The good news is you finished the hard part: you have a draft.

I can hear some of you cursing me now: “But Kami, my first draft is totally crappy and worthless. It’s terrible. I wasted an entire month of my life, and all I have 50,000 terrible words to show for it.”

My answer: It doesn’t matter if you wrote the crappiest first draft in the history of all first drafts. You have something to work with, which means you can fix it, mold it, and bang it into whatever shape you want. Here are a few tips to get started:

Read Your First Draft (and Possibly Cry a Little)

After you put away the pint of ice cream and the tissues, take an objective look at your draft. What are the strongest points? The parts that kept you reading? Whether you print out your draft to make notes or use software (I love Scrivener), mark the best bits—circle, highlight, whatever works for you. These are the parts you’ll re-read whenever you start to lose hope (which will be often).

All of which is a long-winded way of me saying that I shouldn’t be spending time writing blog posts but have my head down in the big edit.

But, hey, already come this far so going to leave you with this wonderful news.

ooOOoo

Hello Paul,

Good news: For the first time since 2009, the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife has confirmed wolves south of the Eagle Cap Wilderness!

Based on recent evidence, it’s clear that at least five wolves are frequenting an area in Northern Baker County. It may not be a story as epic as Journey’s, but it’s another good sign wolves are continuing to retake their rightful place on the Oregon landscape.

Those of you who have been tracking wolf issues for a long time, may remember the iconic photo of a scraggly Oregon wolf in sagebrush. The young wolf and his partner frequented an area near the Keating Valley in Baker County.

Sadly, the “Keating Wolves”, as they came to be known, were killed in 2009. Despite some tantalizing reports, since that time, only one Oregon wolf is known south of the Wallowas.

Later today, we’ll revisit the story of the Keating Wolves on the Oregon Wild Blog and post it on the Oregon Wolves Facebook page. Wolf recovery still has a long ways to go. But today’s news is significant.

Since 2009 – with your help – we’ve stopped round after round of wolf kill bills in Salem. We’ve stood up for wolves in court. We’ve worked with responsible ranchers. We’ve educated the public, highlighted the positive impacts of having wolves back on the landscape, and shared news – good and bad – of wolf recovery.

Things are far from perfect. Old prejudices die hard and wolves continue to be at the center of a campaign of misinformation and fear. The Obama administration is stubbornly pushing a scheme to strip wolves of important protections, and the state can still kill wolves on behalf of the livestock industry.

But today’s news is a sign that we’re headed in the right direction here in Oregon. And there should be more on the horizon. Wolves are mating, pups should be on their way, and Oregon will announce an updated wolf population estimate soon. That’s more news we look forward to sharing.

For wolves and wildlife,
Rob Klavins
Wildlife Advocate, Oregon Wild

ooOOoo

 

Oregon and the wolf

Sharing a beautiful aspect of this new home State of ours.

Let’s face it, Jean and I know as much about Oregon as we know about Timbuktu! A house and property requiring much love and care and 10 dogs, 5 cats and 2 miniature horses does rather cramp one’s style!  Actually, let me be honest.  We just adore the grounds that surround the house.  Almost every single walk around the property with or without a few dogs brings some new discovery.  Thus we are not lusting to get out.

Just by way of example, yesterday we discovered that the dam built across our creek, just upstream of the bridge, was used in days long ago for creating flood irrigation.  That’s the dam in the picture below.  The old plank and steel work are still in the undergrowth alongside the creek; to the right of the picture.

Irrigation dam on Bummer Ck.
Irrigation dam on Bummer Ck.

OK, to the point of this post.

Shortly after we arrived here in Merlin, Oregon we joined Oregon Wild.  Their Mission Statement says: Oregon Wild works to protect and restore Oregon’s wildlands, wildlife and waters as an enduring legacy for all Oregonians.  Can’t argue with that!

Last December a press release was issued about Bringing Wolves Back Home to Oregon.  Here’s part of that release.

Wolves in Oregon:

Gray wolves (Canis lupus) were once common in Oregon, occupying most of the state. However, a deliberate effort to eradicate the species was successful by the late 1940s.

Trouble for wolves began before Oregon even became a state. In 1843 the first wolf bounty was established and Oregon’s first legislative session was called in part to address the “problem of marauding wolves”. By 1913, people could collect a $5 state bounty and an Oregon State Game Commission bounty of $20. The last recorded wolf bounty was paid out in 1947.

After an absence of over half a century, wolves began to take their first tentative steps towards recovery. Having dispersed from Idaho, the native species is once again trying to make a home in Oregon. One of the first sightings came in 1999 when a lone wolf was captured near the middle fork of the John Day River, put in a crate and quickly returned to Idaho. In 2000, two wolves were found dead – one killed by a car, the other illegally shot.

In 2006, a flurry of sightings led state wildlife biologists to believe that a number of wild wolves were living in Northeast Oregon near the Wallowa Mountains and the Eagle Cap Wilderness. In May of 2007 a wolf was found shot to death near La Grande, OR.

As I explain on this blog, there is a deep connection between dogs and wolves:

Dogs are part of the Canidae, a family including wolves, coyotes and foxes, thought to have evolved 60 million years ago.  There is no hard evidence about when dogs and man came together but dogs were certainly around when man developed speech and set out from Africa, about 50,000 years ago.  See an interesting article by Dr. George Johnson.

Back to Oregon Wild.  Just three weeks ago came this update.

State Announces Wolf Recovery Numbers

With the state’s wolf killing program on hold, conservationists celebrate recent success, express concern for the future.

SALEM, OR Jan 16, 2013

Today the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) announced the state’s wolf population has risen to at least 53 animals and as many as five breeding pairs. Though still mostly confined to the Northeastern corner of the state, the news was welcomed by conservationists.

The confirmation of wolf numbers comes on the heels of a number of announcements of new wolf pups, interbreeding between packs, and new science demonstrating the important and irreplaceable role wolves and other native hunters play on the landscape.

The announcement also comes on the heels of the one-year anniversary of another great wolf recovery story. On December 28, 2011, a wolf known as Journey (OR-7) crossed the Oregon border to become the first wolf in California in nearly a century. The story was celebrated around the world.

Read the rest of this good news story here.  But I couldn’t resist showing you this photograph that appeared in that story.

These wolf pups born to the Wenaha Pack in 2012 helped get recovery back on track. But their future remains tenuous (photo courtesy ODFW)
These wolf pups born to the Wenaha Pack in 2012 helped get recovery back on track. But their future remains tenuous (photo courtesy ODFW)

Let me close with these two videos.

Imnaha alpha female wolf, July 2011

Snake River Wolf Pack howling

Published on Aug 1, 2012

On July 25, 2012, an ODFW wolf biologist on a survey for wolf pups took this video of a Snake River wolf pack pup howling. The video was taken in the Summit Ridge area within the Snake River Wildlife Management Unit, in Wallowa County.

In the video, the pup howls three times. A low returning howl is heard and the pup gets up. Then, other members of the wolf pack (not seen in the video) return the pup’s howls.

Wolves are highly social animals and howling is a common behavior that help packs communicate and stay together. Wolf howls can be heard from several miles away.

More information on wolves in Oregon can be found at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wolves.