Want to...
Address a Cause You Care About?

Contact ...

Chuck Kaparich

Yellowstone Wolf Restoration Project
Contact: Mike Phillips
P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone, WY 82190
(307) 344-2243

Local Hero ...

Renee Askins

Moose, Wyo.
15-year veteran
Founder Team Wolf Fund

Motto: Democracy is based on passion and engagement.

Renee-ism: "I listened very closely to what others had to say. Doing that creates a lot of trust because when people feel heard, they are willing to listen."

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Renee Askins' lifelong passion for wolves and the wilderness led to 15 years of work to return the gray wolf to Yellowstone National Park -- a place where wolves had been hunted to extinction by the 1920s.

Supported by federal legislation protecting endangered species and allies in the conservation movement, Askins faced bitter opponents in ranchers who saw themselves as the endangered species, and wolves as a threat to their livestock and their livelihood.

Fourteen wolves were eventually reintroduced to Yellowstone in 1994 after $12 million in scientific studies, more than 100 public hearings and comments from 160,000 people. But it took more than facts and support to earn the respect of the opposition -- and to arrive at compromise. Askins often confronted crowds of angry ranchers herself, and she knew a mere protest was a dead end.

"My goal was to be able to argue the opponents' position better than they could," she says, "so that I truly and completely could be absorbed in their concerns. I listened very closely to what they had to say and in doing that, it created trust. When people feel heard, they are willing to listen."

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