I take the Name Singing Tree from my 3rd great-grandmother Keziah Singing Tree Tebeau a Canadian First American.
I am a educator, fine artist, writer and environmentalist. I live and work in Menomonie. I’m the mother of three grown children and have five precious grandchildren, I earned my Bachelor of Science Degree in Art Education in 1992 from UW-Stout, graduating with cum laude honors. I’m currently working on series of live-streamed broadcasts called People & Wolves Talk Show in both the USA & Italy. I’m in the process of writing a book about White Eyes a wolf of Douglas county, recounting the individual story of the wolves I got to know. I am a member of The International Wildlife Coexistence Network and Wisconsin’s Green Fire, and support the educational works of the non profits Timber Wolf Alliance and Timber Wolf Information Network.
I have been an environmentalist since high school. As a matter of fact, I participated in the first Earth Day in 1971. Later, I participated in the protests of sulfate mines that took place in the early 1990s. I worked with activists John Trudell and Walter Bresette, whom I met at the Protect The Earth Festival near Hayward, Wisconsin. My first art teaching job was in Kyle, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1992.
In 1991 on a howl survey in the chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest I met Wisconsin’s Wolf Recovery Program Head Wolf Biologist, Adrian Wydeven. Seven years later I became involved in Wisconsin’s Wolf Recovery Program. I officially became a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Volunteer Winter Wolf/Carnivore Tracker in the year 2000, and as a result learned about the lives of wild gray wolves.
In 1999 I put together a story proposal about Adrian Wydeven’s volunteer Winter Wolf Tracking Program, and submitted it to National Geographic Television Channel. Although the proposal wasn’t accepted I received a telephone call from them to explain why. The National Geographic Channel at the time was busy working on starting a global network and all of their resources were tied up in working to get it off the ground. The National Geographic Channel advised me to resubmit the proposal in a year. I never resubmitted the proposal.
I continued working to draw attention to Wisconsin’s Gray wolf and wrote to Dr. Jane Goodall in Tanzania, Africa about the recovery program. To my surprise and delight received three handwritten postcards from Dr. Jane Goodall.
In 2011 Great Lakes wolves were delisted. I worked to draw attention to the plight of Gray wolves during the three years Wisconsin held wolf hunts. I garnered the attention of the press in an effort to bring public awareness to Wisconsin’s wolf hunt, especially the regulations that allowed dogs to be used to track and trail wolves. I made it known that Wisconsin quite literally throws dogs to wolves. I’ve put together public events, three film screenings, one film festival, in order to bring education and awareness about Wisconsin’s wolf hunt, and wildlife issues. In 2011 I started a grassroots Facebook Page and a blog and named it after the county she tracked wolves in; Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin (WODCW). WODCW became known nationally and internationally.
I’ve worked for over two decades as a volunteer wolf tracker spending my spare time & money to monitor grey wolves in Wisconsin. I am a stakeholder in what happens to Wisconsin’s wild wolf!
In 2011 I went from tracking the wolf to advocating for them and found myself within an advocacy network in Wisconsin that went against my values. I am tenacious by nature, and passionate about the grey wolves I got to know through tracking. Because of my desperation to save them, I found myself within a system of wolf-advocacy that wasn’t for me. I’m no longer a part of that system because of wide spread corruption which involved misogynistic behavior, misleading the public’s trust and widespread plagiarism. I discovered that as soon as money enters into a cause it becomes corrupted by attention seekers out for a buck.
Writer & artist Rachel Tilseth Tracking Wisconsin’s Gray wolf in 2017.