Somewhere on my path to becoming a Wildlife Biologist I got derailed and ended up as an Engineer. No complaints, I’m enjoying a great career – but I’ve never lost my desire to understand the intricacies of the natural world.
I was delighted when gray wolves began colonizing my hunting area in the Central Forest Region in the mid-‘90s – my curiosity about their behavior and dynamics led me to join the WDNR Volunteer Tracker corps. As kind of a natural evolution, I’ve come to be a Regional Coordinator in the program, and wolf monitoring now occupies much of my free time – track surveys in winter and howling in the summer.
Another avenue of that evolution has been my interest and participation in TWIN – where I’ve met some great like-minded people with a rational perspective towards wolves and a mission to increase acceptance through awareness. I enjoy learning from them, and in turn teaching others.
Robert Welch, Treasurer
Robert was one of the founding-fathers and is the current and long-standing Treasurer. He has done this for years and has kept the books in excellent order. Bob is also a facilitator for workshops.
My love of the outdoors and wildlife started 11 years ago under the direction of Dick Thiel and his high school independent study program through Sandhill Wildlife Area. The Sandhill high school independent study is where my volunteer work with wildlife and my progression into TWIN and wolf tracking began. I have been wolf tracking and a part of TWIN for 9 years. Being a part of TWIN has allowed me to meet amazing people who share a passion and love for the outdoors and wildlife like I do. It also allows me to relax and leave all the stress of my nursing job and college behind.
Chris graduated from UWSP in 1983 with major in Forestry Administration and a minor in Resource Management. In 2003 he earned his Master Degree in Education from UW-Oshkosh. Chris has been a TWIN Member since 1995. From 1996-2008 he served consecutive terms on the TWIN board of directors. He joined the DNR’s Volunteer Carnivore winter tracking program during the winter of 1996 and followed up by conducting summer wolf surveys during the same year across central and northern Wisconsin. He has participated in these activities during every year since. For the last 8 years he has acted as Regional Coordinator in the tracking program, supervising and assisting other volunteer trackers across 9 survey blocks in the Northern Highland State Forest and the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest of northeastern Wisconsin. Since 1998 he has co-facilitated wolf ecology workshops at Treehaven Field Station in Lincoln County, Wisconsin as scout/tracker and leading the outdoor field experience for workshop attendees. He has provided educational experiences for school age children over these years. Chris believes in the TWIN mission “to increase public awareness and acceptance of the wolf in its natural habitat and its ecological role in the environment”.
Norma Donavan, Member
I grew up on a farm in Grant County and pretty much ran wild developing a deep love of the outdoors and especially anything involving wildlife. I won’t tell you how long ago that was except that it was before Saran Wrap and we still worked the fields with a team of horses.
Employment pulled me to Madison where I languished until joining the Madison Audubon Society and later became a wildlife rehabilitator through the Dane County Humane Society. As much as I loved working directly with wildlife, it only made me more hungry to observe them in their natural environment. Rehab work was becoming popular so I began to scale back on it and started spend most of my weekends in the local wildlife areas.
My experience with wolves began in the early 90’s as they started to come back to the central forests of Wisconsin. I had already become interested in the Sandhill area by then and had taken every course that the Sandhill Wildlife Area’s Skill Center offered. My favorite was tracking and with the region having so many sandy roads, the rest was a natural progression – the right skill, the right location and the right time.
Not only were the wolves starting to repopulate the area but also porcupine, turkey and fisher. It was a rich time to be in the back country scouting the sand for new species and still is. The arrival of the wolves enriched not only my physical but my mental landscape as well and soon they, like tracking, became an obsession.
Arnie Erickson, Member
I grew up on a farm in north central Wisconsin. Growing up, there was not a woods within five miles that we did not venture into in our search for deer, rabits, or grouse. Now that I have semi retired, I have come full circle and again I roam the roads of the central forest, this time doing tracking surveys.
I became involved with TWIN about ten years ago and I have been a volunteer tracker for the WDNR for about eight years. For a number of years I have also tracked for the education seminars conducted by TWIN during the months of January and February. I enjoy the people I have become involved with through TWIN and the opportunity to be continuously educated on the timber wolf in Wisconsin. Through my involvement on the TWIN Board, I hope to help form policy for the education programs TWIN provides.
Current board member, past secretary (20 years), co-lead instructor for wolf education workshops at Treehaven. Currently teaches high school Biology and college level biology at Ripon High School, UW-Oshkosh, and Marian University (35 years). Lives in Green Lake with wife Wendy. Enjoys outdoor activities, mountain bike racing, research, and reading.