By Rachel Tilseth

I met Adrian Wydeven (WDNR Head Wolf Recovery Program Biologist) on a warm summer day on a drive through Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Adrian talked about WI Wolf Recovery Project as we drove along on gravel roads checking for wild wolf sign.

At the time I met Adrian in 1991 he had just started as WI DNR Head Wolf Recover Program Biologist. Wydeven was responsible for starting the WDNR volunteer wolf tracking program (which this blogger was a part of for 13 winters).

In Adrian’s words, ” I was sitting in the Northwoods of Wisconsin in summer 1995 doing a bird survey for the State Breeding Bird Atlas. It occurred to me that the Atlas model was a terrific way to engage a large number of interested volunteers to assist in a wildlife survey. For the Atlas, volunteer birders are trained to periodically travel set territories and record breeding, nesting and field notes. The composite information will form a statewide record of the distribution and range of birds that breed here. I wondered if the same might be possible for mammals, particularly the gray wolf whose range is spreading in northern and central Wisconsin.

I was interested in building a cadre of trained trackers who might search for wolves and other forest carnivores during winter in northern and central Wisconsin, then file reports on their spreading range.” http://dnr.wi.gov/wnrmag/html/stories/2001/feb01/tracks.htm

Wydeven spent the last several decades managing WI’s wolves during wolf recovery while they were an endangered species. He taught me everything there is to know about tracking wolves. Adrian was always available to answer questions making him the perfect teacher in the opinion of this blogger.

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Adrian worked hard to make the wolf recovery program a success. Adrian will be retiring on October 3rd, 2014 from the WDNR marking the end of an era in Wisconsin wolf recovery.

This blogger would like to extend gratitude for his dedication and best wishes for a happy retirement.

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