Monday, December 5, 2011

Welcome to Wild Bytes

Welcome to Wild Bytes!  The International Wolf Center education department is excited to launch our new blog. Adding to our other electronic education and social media offerings feels great and we couldn’t be more excited about the possibilities.  We hope to engage readers from our unique position as educators, residents of Minnesota’s Northwoods and as people who care deeply about wolves and the wildlands that serve as their home.

This blog will be many things.  We will write about wolves for sure, but this space will cover much more.  From interesting scientific topics, to experiential pedagogy, to our own observations and experiences in the natural world; we hope you join us on our educational journey and become an integral part of a dialogue that will allow us all to learn.  We will feature written word, pictures and video and hope it moves you to comment and engage with us.

The primary contributors will be the permanent education staff at the International Wolf Center interpretive center in Ely, Minnesota.  Tara Johnson, program specialist, is a licensed elementary educator.  She has worked at the Center for three and a half years and is finishing up on her Master’s degree this winter.  She has a wealth of knowledge and keen interest in learning.  She is currently working on Minnesota WolfLink, a project funded by the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, which allows us to connect with Minnesota students through outdoor education and videoconferencing.

Jess Edberg, information services director, is our go-to wolf person.  She knows the biology, she knows the wolf management issues and she knows how to communicate with people of all ages.  She particularly enjoys working with high school and college age students and adults.  Jess is an avid outdoorswoman and spent time working as a field tech with the USGS wolf and deer study, experience that informs her work every day.

Lori Schmidt, wolf curator, has a broad range of knowledge and interests.  Along with being widely respected for her knowledge of the care and management of captive animals, she has an intricate knowledge of wolves in the wild.  People from around the globe seek out her expertise on not only wolves, but many subjects concerning wildlife management and forestry.   In addition to her work at the Center, she is the Program Coordinator of the Natural Resources Department at Vermillion Community College in Ely.

As the Director of Education, I will also be contributing regularly to Wild Bytes.  I have been with the Center for nearly two years.  I have almost twenty years of experience in experiential and environmental education.  I have Master’s in Education and was teaching in the classroom for nine years before accepting the chance to move up to Ely to join the Center.   One of our first entries will be about my unsuccessful efforts to retrieve a collared wolf that died last winter inside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

We will also have guest contributors, from biologists to educators to wildlife artists and more.  We truly hope this will be an engaging and enjoyable endeavor for readers and contributors alike.  We hope to post weekly, but sometimes it may be a little more.  We plan for this to be a useful space for classroom teachers, wolf enthusiasts, hunters, people who care about our natural resources in general and many others as well.  We will gladly accept any suggestions on content, ideas for improvement and suggestions to make this a true resource.

Thanks for your interest and we look forward to learning with you.