A Wisconsin premiere of “Medicine of the Wolf” explores ecological significance
by Craig Johnson Source: The Isthmus
October 13, 2016
Why are we afraid of the big, bad wolf? Is it because they kill so much livestock, or steal our babies? Or is it because they have been vilified for centuries in every manner of media from folk tales to blog posts?
Julia Huffman’s award-winning documentary, Medicine of the Wolf, explores the lives of wolves in Minnesota, their place in the ecosystem, their relationship with humans and the continued smear campaign against the predators.
It includes footage shot by National Geographic photographer Jim Brandenburg, and will screen at the Barrymore Theatre Oct. 19 as part of Wolf Awareness Week. The 7 p.m. screening will be followed by a panel discussion with wolf experts and advocates, including Robert Mann, an elder from the Ho-Chunk Nation, and Randy Jurewicz, former wolf administrator for the state Department of Natural Resources.
Wolves once ranged throughout the lower 48 states, but by the late 20th century they could only be found in northern Minnesota. After decades of protection and management, their range expanded to more than 10 states, and they were removed from the endangered species list. Here in Wisconsin, 528 wolves were “harvested” from the north from 2012 until 2014, when a federal court ruling put wolves back on the endangered list.
“A forest with wolves is a healthy forest,” says environmentalist and author Barry Babcock, who appears in the film and will speak on the panel. Babcock says wolves spark a “eutrophic cascade,” which influences plants and animals throughout the wilderness: Wolves cull the deer population, which means the deer don’t eat as much foliage; more foliage means a greater variety of herbivores are sustained, which leads to a greater variety of small predators and scavengers (eagles, foxes, weasels, etc).
Despite their beneficial effects, the vilification continues, with propaganda fueled by exaggerated tales of wolves killing livestock. Now, the push is on in various states, including Wisconsin, to allow wolf hunting again. Sometimes the hatred crosses into the irrational. Animal behaviorist and panelist Patricia McConnell says she heard “one hunter in Northern Wisconsin say he liked to kill wolves in as painful a way as possible, because ‘they are evil.’” The truth is that incidents of wolves attacking humans are about as common as them blowing over pigs’ houses.
Huffman and the panelists hope that Medicine of the Wolf will help turn society’s mistrust and hatred for wolves into a respectful partnership. Learning to share the world with wolves would not only improve their lives, but our own as well.
Featured Image Jim Brandenburg
Purchase tickets here: http://www.barrymorelive.com/tickets/1610194.html
The Humane Society of the United States, (HSUS), and Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin present in celebration of Wolf Awareness Week the Wisconsin premiere of the award-winning documentary film “Medicine of the Wolf.”
Produced and directed by Julia Huffman, the showing will take place on Wednesday October 19, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at the Barrymore Theatre, 2090 Atwood Ave, Madison, WI, 53704.
In 1991 Governor Tommy Thompson proclaimed this week – Sunday October 16th through Saturday October 22nd – as Timber Wolf Awareness Week in Wisconsin.
Reserve your tickets Tickets are $10.00 advance/$12.00 day of show.
Advance tickets are only available on-line at: http://www.barrymorelive.com/tickets/1610194.html or by phone at (608) 241-8633.
After the screening there will be a panel discussion and Q&A with:
HSUS Wisconsin State Director Melissa Tedrowe; certified animal behaviorist Patricia McConnell, Ph.D.; Robert Mann, Ho-Chunk Nation Elder; Woodsman, environmentalist and author,Barry Babcock (who appears in the film); Randy Jurewicz, retired Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Wolf Program Administrator, and emcee Carl Anderson.
Wolves are part of Wisconsin’s wild heritage.
250 Commemorative posters will be given away at the screening
This is the official commemorative poster for the Wisconsin premiere screening of Medicine of the Wolf taking place in Madison Wisconsin. These masterfully designed commemorative posters by artist Ned Gannon http://bit.ly/2aDsrRO Commemorative posters will be given away at the event by our donor Timothy Jon Coburn.
About the film
In this beautiful and important documentary, filmmaker Julia Huffman travels to Minnesota and into wolf country to pursue the deep intrinsic value of perhaps the most unjustly maligned animal on the face of the planet. Medicine of the Wolf focuses on these extraordinary sentient creatures and the remarkable, world-renowned National Geographic photographer Jim Brandenburg who has photographed and studied wolves for 45 years—longer than anyone in history. As our guide, Brandenburg enables us to see the world of the wolf as we have never seen it before. Documented with stunning cinematography of the Northern Minnesota landscape “wolf country”, Medicine of the Wolf tugs at the emotions while presenting the complexities and highly charged politics now surrounding an animal being pushed towards extinction.
The following is what Dr. Jane Goodall has to say about the film ‘Medicine of the Wolf’ “The sound of wolves howling under the stars is for me one of the most haunting and beautiful of nature’s voices. Native Americans revered wolves for their wildness, courage, and loyalty. Today science respects them for the important role they play in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. And countless numbers of the general public are fascinated by them. Yet the myth of fierce and dangerous beasts, handed down from early white settlers, informs much of the horrific and unjustified cruelty and persecution that wolves faces today. Medicine of the Wolf explores the facts. It is powerful, informative and moving, and as I watched I was first enchanted and then enraged. I urge you to watch this compelling and courageous film and tell everyone you know to watch it as well. Thank you, Julia Huffman for making it.” Review by Dr. Jane Goodall
Let’s send a clear message that; wolves are part of Wisconsin’s wild heritage! Wolf advocates join us on October 19th for the Wisconsin premiere of Medicine of the wolf. Get tickets here: http://bit.ly/24FDUkL