Science On Tap Speaker Talks Leopold, Wolves

Feb 5, 2018

Credit Science On Tap Minocqua

The next speaker at the monthly "Science on Tap" program in Minocqua has Northwoods ties and will discuss Wisconsin's land ethic.

Dr. Tim Van Deelen is a professor in the department of forest and wildlife ecology at UW-Madison. He says the core topic is what he calls the "long shadow" of Aldo Leopold's 'Sand County Almanac'. Van Deeland says he was contacted to discuss Leopold's legacy and he will filter that through his own research. He says he did an online course on Leopold's view on hunting and those recordings brought him to this event.

Van Deelen has ties here...

"....I used to work for the Wisconsin DNR in Rhinelander. I used to be the deer research specialist. My career has been working on research having to do with management and conservation of large mammals. In Wisconsin, that means deer, bears and wolves, mostly studying population dynamics. In the case of deer and wolves, those are two iconic species Aldo Leopold spent a lot of time thinking about and writing about...."

Van Deelen says the more he reads Leopold the issues remain the same...

"....Leopold was working here while wolves were being extirpated in the Great Lakes. In his lifetime, he made the intellectual journey from viewing wolves as essentially vermin to viewing wolves as essential parts of an ecosystem. It was his thinking about wolves that really influence dhow he thought about predators generally. I think you see the same controversies over wolves in the Great Lakes region, not just in Wisconsin, not just in northern Wisconsin...."

Van Deeland is currently investigating carnivores on the Apostle Islands. He says the animals travel between the islands now when ice is on Lake Superior. But he says that likely will change as winters warm and the ice becomes less thick.

Science on Tap is being held February 7 at 6:30 p.m. at Minocqua Brewing Company in downtown Minocqua. The programs are free and are live-streamed at the Minocqua Public Library each month.