Bad men, bad policy, rainforest half the size of Brazil is on fire…

The fires, most of which have been set by farmers clearing their land, are raging in uninhabited areas of rain forest and intruding on populated areas in the country’s north. Read the full article in The New York Times

Follow Rainforest Alliance Facebook Page Click here.

The lungs of the Earth are in flames. The Brazilian Amazon—home to 1 million Indigenous people and 3 million species—has been burning for more than two weeks straight. There have been 74,000 fires in the Brazilian Amazon since the beginning of this year—a staggering 84% increase over the same period last year (National Institute for Space Research, Brazil). Scientists and conservationists attribute the accelerating deforestation to President Jair Bolsonaro, who encouraged loggers and farmers to clear the land after taking office in January.⁣

⁣The largest rainforest in the world is a critical piece of the global climate solution. Without the Amazon, we cannot keep the Earth’s warming in check. ⁣

The Amazon needs more than our “thoughts and prayers.” So what can YOU do?⁣

✔ As an emergency response, donate to frontline Amazon groups working to defend the forest. ⁣

✔ Consider becoming a regular supporter of the Rainforest Alliance’s community forestry initiatives across the world’s most vulnerable tropical forests, including the Amazon; this approach is scientifically proven to be the most effective defense against deforestation and natural forest fires—but it requires deep, long-term collaboration between the communities and the public and private sectors.

✔ Stay on top of this story and keep sharing posts, tagging news agencies and influencers. ⁣

✔ Be a conscious consumer, taking care to choose products from companies committed to responsible supply chains.⁣ Eliminate or reduce consumption of beef; cattle ranching is one of the primary drivers of Amazon deforestation.

✔ When election time comes, VOTE for leaders who understand the urgency of our climate crisis and are willing to take bold action—including strong governance and forward-thinking policy.⁣

Source Rainforest Alliance

Photos: @mohsinkazmitakespictures | Windy.com

365 moments of nature, a video journal by Jim Brandenburg…

Video August 21, 2019 nature365.tv

A day to day webdocumentary. 365 moments of nature, from January 1 to December 31. A video journal filmed by Jim Brandenburg and directed by Laurent Joffrion. A naturalist and poetic vision of the northern wild biotopes.

Introduction by Jim Brandenburg, wildlife photographer and filmmaker

For many years I filmed the forests around my wilderness home in the great northwoods and the wide-open prairies of my childhood. I had no particular project in mind; I simply enjoyed documenting the moods of the day and the coming and goings of the wild creatures that were almost like family to me. It became like a diary and for many years it was rare not to ‘write’ something with my camera nearly every day.

Those precious experiences and memories have now found a safe home where they can be shared with many of my friends from around the world. It surprised me how extensive this diary had become. Day by day, year after year the pages accumulated. The resulting journal found its voice. Each day a one minute impression of a unique event that I was fortunate to witness is presented. Less can be more in this case. Like a good poem, the material that is left out gives weight to what remains. Nature has blessed me with its gifts of subtle but powerful teaching. One might even describe these moments I give back as a form of a small prayer; a mindful effort to pay homage to a wild and natural living land.

There were themes that kept presenting themselves to me – like the resident wolf pack that over the years learned to trust my presence. The wolf is a recurring subject, perhaps more than any other. In their trust, secrets were revealed to my camera that were not known, even to science. Then on occasion I entered into another world and encountered a ghost from the past in the name of a Native American spirit. Those that lived a natural existence here for centuries before me have left a strong presence. I felt their presence and knew it was appropriate to include that spirit.

The seasons would usually slide into their nearly imperceptive rhythm and other times the land transformed overnight. The magic of living and embracing the grandeur of wild nature is heightened by dramatic weather changes that can leave city dwellers unbalanced. Nature has become the enemy to many. That is a dangerous condition.

I have tried to project the miracle as I saw it. A translation of the unknown gift we often don’t understand or even see. I hope the message was received and understood, better yet felt. For that I would be honored; the land and its creatures would be eternally thankful. Read more about this project By clicking here.

The Gray Wolf & White-Tailed deer…

Predator & Prey Dynamic…

One feeds the other, while the one is kept in a healthy balance by the other. The Gray wolf has an amazing olfactory sense! A wolf walks up to an abandoned White-tailed deer’s bed, and gently blows on it. Then, all the particles, the scents, flow up into the wolf’s olfactory sense; allowing them to determine if the tick’s blood contains pus.

Photography credit: Gray wolf in Finland by Niko Pekonen

Wolves have a sense of smell about 100 times greater than humans and they use this keen sense while hunting!

Take Action!

Tell congress to keep the gray wolf on the Endangered Species Act!

To find you congressman click here.

”Cyanide Bombs” used to kill wild animals are banned in Wyoming…

In an article published By Mountain Journal “Ultra-lethal ‘Cyanide Bombs’ Used To Kill Public Wildlife Banned For Now In Wyoming” August 20, 2019

UNDER PRESSURE, EPA ALSO REVERSES COURSE NATIONALLY, REVOKES APPROVAL FOR DEADLY M-44S TO KILL PREDATORS THAT MIGHT EAT LIVESTOCK ON PUBLIC LAND

by Todd Wilkinson

Most Americans are probably unfamiliar with the federal government’s taxpayer-subsidized killing campaign carried out every year against public wildlife on public lands, most of them located in the West.

Most are probably unaware that their hard-earned money, paid in taxes to Uncle Sam, helps to operate a federal agency known as Wildlife Services, a branch of the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

One of Wildlife Service’s primary missions is functioning essentially as a protective hit squad for privately-owned cattle and sheep producers allowed to graze their animals on public land grass at rates that haven’t risen much in over half a century.

While most citizens are outraged when they learn what Wildlife Services does, they are incredulous even more when they discover that one of the weapons Wildlife Services and its state affiliates have used to wipe landscapes free of predators is ultra-lethal sodium cyanide “bombs” known as “M-44s.” They possess enough poison that can kill a human or pet if they accidentally come in contact with them.

In fact, a teenage boy from Pocatello, Idaho nearly died a few winters ago after he and his pet dog wandered into an M-44 placed by a Wildlife Services trapper near their suburban home. The dog bumbled into the M-44, a dose of cyanide exploded in his face and then died, foaming at the mouth, in the boys’ arms, leaving 14-year-old Canyon Mansfield understandably traumatized. (Read this piece that appeared in National Geographic.). Continue reading full story by clicking here.

Graphic is from The Revelator

The Trump administration is making drastic changes to how the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is applied.

Ecosystem Services: Think of bees that pollinate more than 90 commercial crops in the U.S. That’s the beauty, or bounty, that the Endangered Species Act provides. The ESA ensures these beneficial ecosystems just don’t unravel. You see the Endangered Species Act doesn’t just protect the individual species, it also protects the lands, or habitats, the endangered species need to survive. For sure protecting these habitats can make it difficult for certain industries, mainly extractive industries, such as; oil & gas, mining and lumbering. Renewable energy is out pacing coal, oil & gas extractive industries in America. It’s a well known fact that, extractive industries cause more harm for our vital ecosystems; such as land, water, air and wildlife. But there are several politicians, like Senator Barrasso, Republican from Wyoming, that supports these extractive industries and wants to rewrite the ESA to accommodate these dying-extractive-industries.

The Trump administration is making drastic changes to how the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is applied announced this week.

Chief among the changes is the removal of blanket protections for threatened animals and plants.

Until now, any species deemed threatened — a category for organisms at risk of becoming endangered — by the FWS automatically received the same protections as endangered species. They include bans on killing threatened and endangered species. Now, those protections will be determined on a case-by-case basis, a move which will probably reduce overall protections for species that are added to the threatened list, says Hartl.

The US government says that these updates will ease the burden of regulations and increase transparency into decisions on whether a species warrants protections. But critics say that the revisions cripple the ESA’s ability to protect species under increased threat from human development and climate change.

“These changes tip the scales way in favour of industry,” says Brett Hartl, government-affairs director for the environmental advocacy group the Center for Biological Diversity, who is based in Washington DC. “They threaten to undermine the last 40 years of progress.” Source

What are the economic benefits the Endangered Species Act generates from protecting vital habitats?

In the following article from Time The Endangered Species Act Is Criticized for Its Costs. But It Generates More than $1 Trillion a Year.

“Yeah, there are costs: it might slow down certain industries and help certain industries,” says Jason Shogren, an economics professor at the University of Wyoming. “We have to think about all the non-market benefits that exist for knowing these species exist, for knowing the web of life is intact, for knowing that these ecosystems aren’t going to unravel.”

Economists often describe this broad set of benefits as “ecosystem services,” and their value to the U.S. economy is enormous. Think of bees that pollinate more than 90 commercial crops in the U.S. like fruits, nuts and vegetables or birds that eat mosquitoes that would otherwise spread disease to humans.

A 2011 study prepared for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a government-affiliated conservation group, tabulated the total value of ecosystem services at about $1.6 trillion annually in the U.S. The value totaled more than $32 billion in National Wildlife Refuges protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Critics of the Endangered Species Act often couch their concerns in terms of the damage that it does to specific industries.

Speaking at a hearing on the law in 2017, Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming went through a laundry list of economic interests he said were being harmed by the 1973 law.

“States, counties, wildlife managers, home builders, construction companies, farmers, ranchers, and other stakeholders are all making it clear that the Endangered Species Act is not working today,” he said.

Biologist warn that changes to the ESA could be disastrous for species like the Monarch Butterfly.

But as the Trump Administration prepares a set of regulatory changes that could dramatically undermine the law, some supporters are highlighting the economic benefits of protecting endangered species.

They note that the law doesn’t just protect individual species, it also protects the ecosystems that support that species. That work sustaining natural lands and the species that call them home helps ensure everything from a hospitable climate to clean drinking water.

The Trump administration and republican law makers have been working to change the ESA…

Changes from Republicans in Washington would prioritize these industry concerns. The Department of the Interior in a press conference announced the changes to how the agency implements the law:

The changes finalized today by Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Commerce’s National Marine Fisheries Service apply to ESA sections 4 and 7. Section 4, among other things, deals with adding species to or removing species from the Act’s protections and designating critical habitat; section 7 covers consultations with other federal agencies.

These changes spell disaster for our natural resources…

The rule change would tighten standards for protecting new land, potentially allow regulators to ignore the effects of climate change on a species and, perhaps most significantly, allow for cost considerations when previously decisions were made on science alone.

Democrats are likely to fight these changes to the ESA…

Tinkering with the Endangered Species Act isn’t a political winner with polls showing most Americans broadly supporting the law, along with other environmental protections. But Democrats argue that their Republican counterparts have bet that reforming the popular law are ok with that so long as they reward the interest groups that helped put the current Republicans in office in the first place.

In a statement last year…

“The Trump Administration doesn’t seem to know any other way to handle the environment than as an obstacle to industry profits,” said Arizona Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, in a statement. “If a single company can make a single dollar from the destruction or displacement of an endangered species, it’s full speed ahead.”

Take action to preserve the Endangered Species Act…

Contact you Senator today! Center for Biological Diversity has an easy to use form and note to your congressman to tell the Trump Administration to stop gutting the ESA!

Use Center for Biological Diversity’s Take Action form click here.

Women & Advocacy…

Julia Huffman is the producer and director of the award winning documentaries Medicine of the Wolf and Wolf Spirit. This interview is from July 2016.

Julia can you tell the readers where you grew up?
I grew up in Southern West Virginia with a few years living in “Philly”, Philadelphia.

 Can you tell us about a childhood memory that helped create who you’ve become now?

My parents “dropped out” of living in the city, when I was very young and joined a “back to the land movement.”  They really re created themselves and didn’t follow the norm of mainstream society. This influenced me deeply. I developed a close connection to the land and to animals growing up in the hills and hollers of WVA. Nature is my base. I am interested in finding new ways to do and say things in this life time and my parents really taught me by their example to be true to that inner voice.

 Can you tell us about a person in your life that inspired you?

Jane Fonda. Beautiful spirit inside and out. An incredible activist and honest. I think we dismiss honesty at times In our culture, but she always struck me as someone who doesn’t apologize for who she is, but can admit openly she made a mistake. We all do. But the humility it takes to be out In the public eye and work on the many environmental issues she has over the years and then also say, “I missed the mark there”, to me, takes incredible courage.

People don’t realize how many years this woman has been using her voice, money and celebrity to speak out for women, human rights, Indigenous rights, and environment… It goes on and on. And lastly she is actually a bit shy by nature, but does it anyway, because she believes in it, I relate to this!

 Can you tell us a little about your post high school studies and why you chose them?

 I got a degree in broadcast journalism, at Bethany College in West Virginia.  I wanted to be a news reporter at one time.

 Can you tell us about a person that helped develop your creative artistic side?

 So many. At a point in my life, I learned, finally, to ask for help and I have been blessed to have found several amazing mentors over the years.

One of my latest is actress Sheryl Lee. She really liked the film and we found each other through a mutual friend. I always thought her work was very cerebral and magnetic and so we had this mutual admiration, which is a good starting place. She is incredibly generous with her talent and time. She is a teacher by nature. She has shared gems of wisdom with me and supported and inspired me to be true to my creative and ever evolving intuition.

 You chose wolves as the subject of your award winning documentary Medicine of the Wolf. Can you tell us what led you to that choice?

 I have always loved wolves. My connection to them, like many, is through my first dog Bozo, he was my soul mate. You’ve heard the term, “the wolf is in your living room? Well Bozo was my “wolf.”

My film was really this amazing opportunity for me to learn more about the dog’s wild cousin, the wolf, right along with the viewer, I really went on that journey.

Medicine of the Wolf Trailer

As a director can you tell us what was the most challenging segment to film in Medicine of the Wolf?

 All of it…ha ha. I call myself, “Me myself and I Productions”..

I say that with a smile, there are S0 many people who donated time energy, money love…into making it! And it certainly IS a WE film. But I bit off a huge chunk in wearing most of the hats. And I am grateful; it’s the doing that makes us learn.

 But maybe the pain was the hardest. The wolf hunt was happening when we were making it and I felt like the whole time I was sprinting (and I was) I had this crazy notion that I needed to save them…And I, we, do. And it took a toll.

 As a director can you tell us what was the most rewarding segment to film in Medicine of the a Wolf?

 I loved ALL of it truly. But being with Jim and my amazing crew up in Wolf country, in Ravenwood for several shoots was MAGICAL, it gets under your skin, the beauty and rawness of that country. And all that Jim shared and gave and revealed in the film was the biggest gift and life changing experience, I truly cherish and admire Jim so very much, he is one of my teachers.

 Can you tell us how has the making of the film Medicine of the Wolf touched you spiritually?

…..It changed me. I am fairly quiet about this, as I believe now that some of what we experience in life is sacred.

Chi Ma’’iingan, Larry Stillday who is in the film and has since passed, shared with me, that the Medicine of the Wolf is love, this I know now on a core level.

 Can you tell us how the overall production of Medicine of the Wolf enhanced your professional career?

New opportunities.

Well. I was invited to do a TEDx talk in Fargo, My talk is on the Healing power of Wolves, so that is a big honor..I have traveled all over now with the film, many seem to really like it. Maybe I am recognized more now as a director. I think as women, there are still a very low percentage of us getting our projects seen and so I am honored to help carry that torch for us.

 Now let’s talk wolves. Can you tell us why you think the topic of wolves drives such fear and hate in some people?

I think that the wolf issue in many ways represents a mirror into our own selves; meaning they remind us of our capacity to love deeply and hate deeply.

And just like the political battles and the bashing you see around us now, many humans seem to need to vilify something.

The wolf in my mind in certain circles has become a scapegoat of misplaced anger and resentment.

 Can you tell us what about the wolf inspires you? Why do you champion him?

The wolf has given so much, just by being. The film was a thank you for all that they have done for the planet and for us humans.

You’ve chosen the topic of Celebrating the wolf for your Ted Talk; can you tell us why you chose that topic?

We have been so programmed to believe that wolves are bad and evil, its everywhere in the news…ISIS attackers are labeled ”Lone wolves” The Wolf of Wallstreet…etc etc etc.

And anti wolf groups continue to spread propaganda about wolves that is incredibly destructive.

So my intention is to speak only of the wolf in the positive and celebratory way that they rightly deserve. I believe that words and ideas…can change hearts and minds. We’ll see! J

Julia’s Ted Talk

Final question. Can you tell us what’s next for you? 

Rest. Maybe a dramatic feature film…

You can meet Julia Huffman on Saturday August 24th, The Center Theatre for more information go to the Facebook event page by clicking here.

Wolf Spirit Trailer

___________________________________________

Women & Advocacy…

…the success of the wolf pack depends on the strength of the alpha female.

I’ve known Klein for several years now and have had the distinct pleasure of watching her grow into her role as a wolf and wildlife advocate. In that brief time she’s co-founded an organization, Plan B To Save Wolves, who’s mission is to assist wolf organizations in achieving their goals. Klein also co-organized the successful event Sedona Wolf Week 2017, 2018, & 2019. The 2020 Sedona Wolf Week is set for November 10-15th.

About Betsy Klein

Betsy Klein is co-founder of Plan B to Save Wolves, the annual event Sedona Wolf Week and founder of I Am Wolf Nation™. She started working with a wolf rescue in 2014 at a sanctuary in California and upon moving to Sedona, formed her own nonprofit to help educate people about wolves while driving awareness of their plight in addition to saving wolves and wolf dogs in need of rescue and care. She has recently joined the HSUS as a District Leader, joined the HSUS Wildlife Team of Arizona and is working to become a lobbyist for wolves and wildlife.

For over 20 years Betsy has collaborated with many nonprofits beginning with her position as Marketing Chair on the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Board of Directors in the mid 90s. Her nonprofit experience is diverse and has included Board, staff and volunteer positions with an emphasis on her development, marketing and leadership skills. Currently Betsy lives in Sedona, Arizona with her husband Timon, two cats and two wolfdogs, all rescues. When she is not working on her wolf projects, she is managing her own company The SmartGal Marketing Services.

Woman in Wolf Advocacy Series Interview of Betsy Klein

Tell us about a particular experience in your childhood that inspired the advocacy work you do today.

To be honest there isn’t an incident from my childhood that led me to this path of animal advocacy and specifically to wolves. In fact I grew up in a very rural area where we raised our beef and pigs for our family’s consumption, as well as chickens for their eggs, and the men in the family hunted during deer season. My neighbors owned the local slaughterhouse, and it was not unusual to see dogs and cats outside, never inside, at most of the surrounding homes and farms.

I think the turning point came much later in life when I connected to my inner spirit. When I refer to inner spirit I am referring to the understanding that we are all connected, including people and animals. I began to understand that because of this connection, what we do to animals we are essentially doing to ourselves. Hence our tagline “When we save wolves, we save ourselves” because wolves are especially connected to humans through culture, history, the ecosystem, our food and more.

I know that you were a volunteer for Wolf Connection. When did you start volunteering there and why?

When I lived in Sedona, Arizona in 2013 I went to the Medicine Wheel Lodge in Rimrock and met Healing Wolf and her wolves. I had begun following the plight of the wolf prior to that visit, and having that personal interaction with them solidified for me; that I was going to do all that I could to help these magnificent creatures. I had no idea at the time what that would be other than signing a lot of petitions and writing letters.

In the photograph: Timon Pratt and Betsy Klein husband and wife co-founders of Plan B Foundation

At the end of 2014 I moved back to LA and in my job search came across someone, who upon learning my passion for wolves, mentioned he was on the Board of Directors for Wolf Connection. He’s suggested I consider volunteering there. I immediately signed up, and the volunteer process is quite rigorous, as they work with you to gauge your commitment; in addition to learning about wolves. When I first started I washed a lot dishes and raked. I didn’t even get to pick up wolf poop for my first three months as that required going into their enclosures, and you had to go through a process first in order to be able to do that. I was so excited the day I learned I was eligible to now pick up wolf poop. Kind of funny when you think about it. 😉

I learned a lot at Wolf Connection, and it truly gave me my start to where I am today. I learned so much about wolves, wolf dogs and myself. We did a lot of programs at Wolf Connection and it is such pure joy to watch people experience wolves for the first time because it is in that moment they realize wolves are not the demons of fairy tales. But are rather magnificent animals that are essential and must be saved. If I could bottle that moment, and give it to everyone, I absolutely would.

“When we save wolves, we save ourselves” ~Betsy Klein

I will always be thankful for Wolf Connection, and that is where I met Paula Ficara and Steve Wastell who are the co-founders of Apex Protection Project . Our friendship has flourished and together we have made such an impact with the creation of Sedona Wolf Week and most recently I AM Wolf Nation. Paula and Steve are as close to Timon and I as anyone can get with what we have experienced together in this shared passion; to save wolves and wolf dogs. I sincerely could not imagine my life without them.

Why wolves? What about the Gray wolf inspired you to work to protect him?

The gray wolf is iconic and represents so much. Yet modern man has been on this campaign to eradicate them from the planet. How did the original man’s best friend become the perceived worse enemy? Why is there so much fear and complete lack of science and logic when it comes to dealing with wolves? My inspiration came from this injustice, and I knew I had to become a voice for them. To do what I could to try and penetrate the misperceptions, to remove the fear and loathing based on fairy tales. Just knowing if I could just impact one person, they in turn could impact another, and so on. I cannot and will not a world without wolves.

I have known you for a couple years now. I’ve watched you grow into your advocacy work; starting with being a Wolf Connection volunteer, then creating your own organization called Plan B To Save Wolves. At Sedona Wolf Week 2018 you talked about how you came up with the name for Plan B. Can you tell us that story?

When I moved back to Sedona, Arizona at the end of 2015, I knew I wanted to do something to help wolves, and wolf dog. But I just wasn’t sure what that would be. Timon was very supportive, we knew we didn’t want to start a sanctuary, but rather create something that would be helpful to many. A quick side note, I should mention Timon calls me “B” and I call him “T” as our nicknames for each other. With that said he would frequently say to me “What’s the plan B?” within our daily lives.

One day at lunch I was pitching to Timon the idea of creating an organization that helped other non profits that specifically supported wolves and wolf dogs with marketing, development/fundraising and board development. You see I have many years experience in this area, and I know a lot of smaller organizations cannot either afford full time staff or consultants. I would of course offer this for free to those groups.

As usual I was hesitating because I didn’t know if it was a good idea, if anyone would be interested or how to get started. A bit ironic given what I do for a living, but when it comes to yourself, and your personal journey, sometimes it is hard to put that focus on yourself.

So during my back and forth, wondering out loud if it was a good idea, and what we would even call the organization, Timon pulled out his phone and called up a file on his screen and showed it to me. It was a logo he had already created with the name Plan B. “You are their Plan B.” he said, “Everyone needs a Plan B.”

So obviously I started to cry because of his overwhelming love and support of my intentions that really gave me that final nudge to move forward by creating the name and logo. Officially we are Plan B Foundation, Inc., with the dba Plan B to Save Wolves. And pretty much daily Timon will say to me “What’s the plan B?”

Another interesting element to this story is when I first arrived in Sedona, I started working part time at the Humane Society of Sedona. The Executive Director at the time was Birgitte Silver and everyone just called her “B”. When she first interviewed me she reviewed my resume and said simply “I cannot afford you.” My reply? I didn’t mind I just wanted to work with animals, and so I started the following week. Life in rescue is tough and sometimes you have to make decisions that no one else ever wants to make. B gave her life to the humane society and I highly respected her. Unfortunately she passed unexpectedly one night in December 2012, but she is someone I will always honor.

You’ve organized an event for wolves called Sedona Wolf Week. When and why did you create this event? When is the next Sedona Wolf Week 2019?

So just thinking about the answer to this question brings a few tears of joy to my eyes. Such a journey! It all started unofficially in 2016 when I asked Patrick Schweiss, the Executive Director of the Sedona International Film Festival to take a look at the film Medicine of the Wolf, and consider it for the festival, which he did. However he did not put it in the festival but rather scheduled it for two showings before Earth Day giving it the attention it warranted.

At this time Paula, Steve, Timon and I had been talking back and forth about various things we could do together and so we came up with the idea of them coming to Sedona with the pack, and they could do a Q&A after each film so the audience could see a wolfdog up close and personal. And from there it just grew! We booked school presentations, decided to host a fundraising party at our home, and executed a raffle where the highest bidder could win a private hike with the pack.

Needless to say the four days were whirlwind, and exceeded all expectations. In fact the first two showings of the film sold out so Patrick called and asked if we could add a third, and we said yes. That sold out in 40 minutes. So he called and asked if we could add another showing and we did which also sold out with a waiting list. Patrick has since told me this is the first and only time this has happened in the history of the festival.

At the end of it all we were all sitting outside at Poco Diablo Resort restaurant, nine of us, plus four wolf dogs all completely exhausted eating, and drinking while we relived the last few days. It was at that point Kristen Lee, Lee Wastell’s (brother to Steve) girlfriend said “you guys should do this every year and call it Sedona Wolf Week.”

That is literally how the idea came into being.

Sedona Wolf Week 2017 we planned in about five months, 2018 we began as soon as the 2017 event was over, and we are in midst of planning 2019 which will take place March 25th through the 30th.

The reason for the tears of joy I mentioned? Because we have met and connected with so many people who have become lifelong friends and supporters. Because we watch children interact with a wolf dog, an experience so few ever will have, and know their lives are changed forever. Because people we consider our heroes come and tell us we are theirs because of our efforts to save wolves. Because I do this event with the three best people in the world. There is just so much love in Sedona Wolf Week.

Has working in wolf advocacy changed you? In what way or ways has it changed you?

I would say first and foremost I have a lot more discernment with everything. There is a lot of information out there, and you have to do your homework; your own research to be sure what you say is as accurate as it can be. I feel I have to be in integrity to the best of my ability when it comes to being a voice for wolves as anything I get “wrong” can become a negative reflection on all wolf advocates and wolves themselves.

It has also greatly impacted how I live my life. For me I cannot advocate for wolves, the great balancers of the ecosystem and nature, and not take personal steps to be in balance with our environment, and planet. I have since switched to a plant based diet, I buy only cruelty free products, I no longer purchase leather or even fake fur, and my mantra each day, when I rise; is to do as little harm as possible to where I live which is where I coexist with wolves, and all the other animal beings. I have to say that isn’t easy as so much is made from animals, but I do my best. I’d also like to reiterate this is a personal choice for me. I know many wonderful and amazing wolf advocates who do none or some of those things.

I have also become very aware of so many things I never knew existed including what the department of Wildlife Services really does, that killing contests, and derbies exist, trophy hunting and trapping to name a few. My eyes have been opened.

Speaking out against those atrocities is now my number one priority. I feel as though I have finally found my voice in wolf advocacy and fully plan on using it. In addition to Sedona Wolf Week, this year I will be speaking, along with Paula, at the 2018 International Wolf Symposium. I have also begun lobbying, starting in Phoenix earlier this year and will be going to Washington DC to lobby at our nation’s capital. Additionally I joined the HSUS AZ Wildlife Team and will be attending a conference in August to learn how to create legislation that protects wildlife.

I truly believe these acts, these “events”, these barbaric practices are unacceptable and should be abolished, that if humanity really knew about them, they would no longer exist. That is now my passion and mission.

What’s the hardest part about working to protect wolves? What or who helps you get through the “hard parts” and gives you hope to continue this work?

In terms of the mission of Plan B, Sedona Wolf Week and I AM WOLF NATION™ the hardest part is finding the balance between sharing what is really happening to wolves and wildlife (the bad stuff) with the good stories, and happy endings. Unfortunately we could post and email daily something heinous that is happening to wolves that needs public attention, and response. With that comes compassion fatigue, and pretty soon people won’t take action because they won’t even open the email from us. It gets tedious, and I absolutely understand that.

Unfortunately the more brutal images are what inspires and motivates people to take action. We ran a Facebook ad of a beautiful wolf asking people to sign a petition against trapping with very little response. When we ran the ad showing a wolf caught in a trap and a man laughing with a gun getting ready to kill it; the response was overwhelming. I get criticized for showing those images from time to time, but until it affects someone personally, affects them deeply, and personally, they will not act. It is that simple.

For me personally to say it is challenging sometimes to manage the overwhelming sense of helplessness, and frustration is an understatement. Thankfully I can just cry on Timon’s shoulder which I have done numerous times. I journal. I hike almost every morning with Timon and our two rescued wolf dogs among the gorgeous red rocks of Sedona and just try to be grateful for what has been done, what is being done and what we plan on doing to help make this a better world for wolves.

The important thing is to feel the grief, or the anger, then release it. You cannot let it take you over, and you cannot try to tuck it away.

If you could snap your fingers and cause immediate change; what would that change look like?

That there no longer is duality between animals and people. What I mean by that is that human “beings” recognize the “being” in animals and that we are essentially all beings deserving of love, respect and freedom. With that realization, the senseless need to trophy hunt, exterminate, trap, abuse and more are no longer even in our thought process. They are inconceivable.

We recently updated our mission statement to reflect this desired change we want to create and will be announcing our new vision and updating all of our content accordingly very soon.

About the photograph: Best Congressional meeting ever! Thanks to the staffers in Rep. David Schweikert’s office for sharing their two giant office dogs with us! Taking Action For Animals Conference 2018. Betsy Klein

Tell us about plan B To Save Wolves: what’s the latest news, and what are you working on now?

Such a great question, and very relevant as the team convened last week to discuss the overall strategic direction of Plan B to Save Wolves and I AM WOLF NATION™. Key initiatives for Plan B is an update on the branding, mission statement and initiatives for the organization. What we thought we would be doing 18 months ago when we started is so far from where we actually are as an organization, and I mean that in a great way! Plan B has made such an impact that we need to accelerate our thinking, and refocus our strategy to continue to be effective in making a difference. Expect more in terms of education, and outreach in the form of events including Sedona Wolf Week, speaking engagements, and fundraisers. I am very excited to announce I, along with Paula Ficara of Apex Protection Project, will be speaking at the 2018 International Wolf Symposium, and I hope that is just one of many to come.

Plus we will continue our every day rescue efforts where we fund what we can to help save lives. Most recently we have found ourselves the champions of mislabeled “wolf dogs”, dogs who have been labeled a wolf dog, their fate would have been euthanization if not for Plan B stepping in. Our plan is to reach out to local shelters, and animal control officers for some training in phenotyping to minimize the risk of any dog being euthanized because it has been mislabeled.

For I AM WOLF NATION™ expect to see more lobbying, and focus on major strategic initiatives; such as ending killing contests starting here in our home state of Arizona.

Do you have anything else you would like to tell us?

I hosted a dinner party once, and after talking about wolves one of my guests said to me “I hope you don’t expect me to care about wolves as much as you do.” I responded, “Absolutely not, but I do expect you to care about something. There are many causes that need champions and it is our responsibility to be of service in some way that makes this a better world for all.”

Find that cause that moves you and be their champion. Be a catalyst for transforming humanity.

For more about Betsy Klein’s work go to http://www.planb.foundation

The 2020 Sedona Wolf Week is set for November 10-15th.