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Tonight! Howl With Us At Night Of The Wolves

On Tuesday, January 10 at 7 pm, noted retired Yellowstone wolf biologist Doug Smith and wildlife advocate Pat Byorth will talk the truth of Yellowstone's famous packs

Dr. Doug Smith and one of the live Yellowstone wolves he studied during his distinguished career. Photo courtesy NPS
Dr. Doug Smith and one of the live Yellowstone wolves he studied during his distinguished career. Photo courtesy NPS

by Mountain Journal

You as a valued Mountain Journal reader are invited to join us for a howling good evening that honors Dr. Doug Smith, who recently retired from his leadership post overseeing wolf conservation in Yellowstone National Park. He will be joined by Pat Byorth, a respected aquatic resources advocate for Trout Unlimited, who recently served on the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission and who grappled with the state's controversial wolf hunting and trapping season that resulted in the annihilation of Yellowstone's Phantom Lake wolf pack just outside the park.

Pat Byorth
Pat Byorth
The event, "Night of the Wolves," begins at 7 pm at the historic Ellen Theater in Bozeman on Tuesday, January 10. If you're in town, you are invited to the free event but get there early because seating is limited. If you can't make it in person, we will be live-streaming the event from Mountain Journal's Facebook page and we hope to have a tape of the event available for viewing later.

Below is a guest essay that appeared in a Wyoming newsletter late in 2022, published as Smith was leaving government service. The piece was written by Peyton Curlee Griffin, board member of the Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative in Jackson, Wyoming, and its founder, Dr. Susan Gail Clark.

by Peyton Curlee Griffin and Susan Gail Clark

Yellowstone National Park, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and wildlife registered a major change in the guard with Dr. Doug Smith moving on from his world class wolf/predation studies at the end of 2022. He leaves his job in the National Park Service as Project Leader for the Yellowstone Wolf Project and Senior Wildlife Biologist. His work, and that of his team, is recognized as among the best long-term ecological research anywhere in the world.

When the Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative (NRCC) presented Doug with the Craighead Conservation Award in 2021, Rolf Peterson (Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Project Leader) told us: “What we’ve learned about wolves in the Yellowstone ecosystem since 1995 is phenomenal…. Doug helped spawn a scientific renaissance that has been truly remarkable, even by Yellowstone’s standards.” 

Another luminary in wolf science, Dave Mech (International Wolf Center), said: “Doug not only excelled in leading the Yellowstone aspect of the wolf reintroduction since the late 1990s … he has maintained the world’s most extensive and intensive wolf research program ever since.”

Norm Bishop (retired interpreter at Yellowstone) says: “[Doug] built an extensive network of collaborators, consultants, and volunteers that have contributed to a massive body of science on the impact of reintroduced predators on ecosystems. He has authored or co-authored 25 annual reports, 85 scientific publications, 3 books, 22 book chapters, 37 popular articles, and 27 technical reports.” He has given innumerable public talks.

We are indebted to Doug for the many years he worked and volunteered to spread understanding of wolves in nature. Doug has helped countless students, community groups, peers, and the public better understand the workings of nature. 

We have not heard the last of this innovative, hard-working scientist, whose work in the public interest has been of world class significance. We wish Doug well.

Peyton Curlee Griffin and Susan Gail Clark

If you value Mountain Journal's quality education events like this, intended to leave you more informed, inspired and entertained about important wildlife conservation issues in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, please consider supporting us so we can do more of them and get more reporters in the field.  What's the value of that? Priceless.  Also, sign up for our free newsletter so that you never miss one of our free stories and we'll let you know when we host other events like "Night of the Wolves."

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