posted March 13, 2008

Address to Focus on Isle Royale Wolf Project

A landmark, 50-year study of wolves will be the focus of an address at Hope College on Monday, March 24.

Wildlife biologist Dr. Rolf Peterson of Michigan Technological University will present the address "The Wolves of Isle Royale - After 50 Years" on Monday, March 24, at 4 p.m. in room 1019 of the college's A. Paul Schaap Science Center.

The public is invited. Admission is free.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of a comprehensive study of wolves at Isle Royale National Park. It is the world's longest-running study on any wild animal.

Peterson has worked with the project since 1970. His research focuses on the wolves and the moose on the island and their relationship as predator and prey, with an eye toward carnivore restoration.

He notes that his work provides the scientific foundation for political, social and ecological responses to carnivore activity. "This is a challenge because these species may compete directly with human interests and we have typically persecuted them for centuries," he has said.

Peterson's work has been highlighted in publications including "National Geographic," "Newsweek," "Michigan Natural Resources," "Ranger Rick," "National Wildlife," "Audubon," the "New York Times" and the "Wall Street Journal," as well as annually on national wire services for news media. His nine books include "The Wolves of Isle Royale - A Broken Balance," published in 1995 and updated in 2007. He has also had 72 technical articles published in "Science," "Nature" and 18 other scientific journals.

His numerous awards include the Founders Award from the Isle Royale Institute (2002); the "Best Reporting" Award from the Minnesota Magazine and Publications Association for his article "Of Moose and Wolves" in "Lake Superior" magazine (1999); the Distinguished Moose Biologist Award from the 26th North American Moose Conference, awarded for major contribution toward management of moose in North America (1990: and a Wildlife Society Publication Award, Outstanding Monograph of the Year, 1979, for his monograph "Wolf Ecology and Prey Relationships on Isle Royale" (1980).

Peterson is a professor in the School of Forestry and Wood Products at Michigan Technological University, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1975. He holds his Ph.D. in wildlife ecology from Purdue University and his bachelor's degree in zoology from the University of Minnesota in Duluth, which presented him with a Distinguished Alumni Award in 2004.

The A. Paul Schaap Science Center is located at 35 E. 12th St., at 12th Street and College Avenue.

Also in Holland, Peterson will be speaking at the city's DeGraaf Nature Center on Saturday, March 22, at 2 p.m., presenting "The Wolves and Moose of Isle Royale National Park - A Study of Interdependence." Pre-registration for the DeGraaf event is required, and admission is $3 for the general public and $2 for members. Additional information about Peterson's talk at the DeGraaf Nature Center may be obtained by calling the center at (616) 355-1057 on Tuesdays-Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

While in West Michigan Peterson will also be speaking at Calvin College in Grand Rapids on Monday, March 24, at 12:30 p.m. and at Grand Valley State University in Allendale on Tuesday, March 25, at noon.