The wolves of North America have their Jane Goodall, and her name is Renée Askins…. An eloquent plea for nature unrestrained.” —Outside Magazine
“Delightful…fun to read. The seamless way Askins weaves the natural world into her narrative brings to mind Terry Tempest Williams’s memoir Refuge.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Demonstrates the kind of deep natural wisdom and sense of awe at the wild that has distinguished writers like Edwin Muir, Annie Dillard, and Aldo Leopold….Wonderfully poignant.”—BookPage
“Renée Askins is a modern-day hero, a woman of tremendous courage and creativity. . . . Never have we needed these words more. This book is a quiet revolution.” –Terry Tempest Williams, author of Refuge and Leap
Being given a wolf puppy to raise as a student researcher sent Renee Askins on a life path devoted to these charismatic wild animals. In this moving memoir, Askins relates how she founded the Wolf Fund, dedicated to reintroducing wolves into Yellowstone National Park.
Naturalist Askins narrates what is both an autobiography and the story of one of America's most controversial conservation projects the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park. Idyllic childhood summer evenings in northern Michigan; interning at a captive wolf project in Indiana; spending time on the west coast of Africa, Yale University and Montana accent the author's exploration of her life story as an enduring love of nature. Askins accomplishes her task with fascinating anecdotes and insightful introspection. The reader learns about the writer's life-altering experience as a college student raising a newborn wolf cub. The heartfelt bonding of the young woman with her wild charge and the enduring memory of this incident helped form her character and direct her future. In 1986, Askins founded the Wolf Fund, whose purpose and function was to reestablish wolves into their proper place within the ecosystem of Yellowstone. The author is most engaging when she candidly recounts the emotional bruises from her sometimes naive misperceptions about both the brutal natural world and the rough-and-tumble world of Western ecological politics. In honestly detailing these revelatory episodes, Askins reexamines her scientific suppositions and her personal premises. Those interested in wildlife, ecology and especially wolves will find this a delightful read. (June) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
While working at a wolf research facility in order to complete an undergraduate thesis, Renée Askins was assigned to raise a wolf puppy. This unexpected turn of events resulted in an unusually strong bond, so strong that when the pup (named Natasha) was suddenly sent away to another research facility in North Dakota, Askins resolved, "that I would find a way to make up for her species what I had failed to do for her." (p.19) Askins' vow leads her towards the controversial and largely successful restoration of wolves to Yellowstone National Park. Shadow Mountain is the story of what turned out to be a 15-year campaign. Her dealings with politicians, ranchers, wolves and other animals are intense and yet unromantic. There is pain and loss, but Askins' drive continues through all the roadblocks and shines forth from every page. This story is also just the beginning of another story: "There is a growing sentiment in America today that animals too have rights...This flies in face of Western civilization's stated assumption of man's dominion over the beasts. The way we resolve this conflict in our culture, or fail to, has much to do with who we are, who we will become and the legacy we'll leave for generations to come." (p.280) Highly recommended for all public and academic libraries. KLIATT Codes: SARecommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2002, Random House, Anchor, 336p., Ages 15 to adult.
Askins founded the Wolf Fund in 1986 for the sole purpose of reintroducing wolves into Yellowstone National Park. Here she offers a meandering memoir of her travels and activities, as a way of explaining to family and friends what she has been up to all this time. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A moving and affective, if overwrought, tribute to the wild. Askins, who led the wolf recovery program at Yellowstone National Park in the late '80s and early '90s, has never been a stranger to wilderness. She spent her youth in northern Michigan and then moved to the foothills of the Tetons, embracing nature in all its unpredictable and nurturing aspects: not just through coming to have a sense of place, but through knowing the independent presence of wild animals, being aware of the "other" that was nonetheless kith on some fundamental level. The author manages to intertwine the evolution of her philosophy-in part, to relinquish our need to control and give rein to the elemental spirit within us-with her passion for wildlife and her political role as a peacemaker/activist for the Wolf Fund. Askins was even willing to don the lobbyist's togs in an effort to change attitudes toward the reintroduction of wolves to one of their native habitats-successfully so because she was canny enough to entertain the emotions on both sides of the issue, to seek solutions rather than compromises, and to keep her perspective when "the maze of ethics becomes complicated in the face of the potential loss of an entire species" (for example, when golden eagles are feast on the eggs of endangered sandhill cranes). Occasionally, she trots out preposterous generalizations ("The fox is to easterners what the coyote is to most westerners"); more often, in fact pretty much nonstop, she overwrites. It pains her to leave a noun undraped by a compound adjective, a lively adverb often enough thrown in. Still, Askins's work has helped reshape the relationship Americans have with wild creatures.