ELKINS – Dr. Edwin D. Michael, wildlife biologist and former WVU Professor of Wildlife Ecology, will speak on the “History of Coyotes and West Virginia Wolves” at the Tygart Valley Master Naturalist program Wednesday at 7 p.m.
The event will take place at the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Operations Center, 738 Ward Road, Elkins, and will include information about registering for the Master Naturalist Certification Program. New classes start this spring.
Michael will discuss the history of these closely related carnivores and provide predictions for their future in West Virginia. A professor of wildlife ecology at the University of West Virginia from 1970 to 2000, Michael published two books focusing on these large canids.
“The Last Appalachian Wolf” details the lives of timber wolves in central Appalachia between 1750 and 1900. The book is a fascinating look at the habits and behavior of wolves, as well as a highly entertaining natural history of the Cheat Mountain ecosystem.
Describing the unique challenges faced by successive generations of wolf packs, Michael reveals how human intrusion has disrupted wolf life and led to a steady decline in their numbers.
“Canaan Coyotes” details the daily behavior of an extended family of coyotes, as well as insightful, unique, and in-depth insight into their lives. The historical novel shows, with great empathy, how coyotes and wolves live, care for each other, and raise their offspring.
The book also describes how coyotes hunt, their highly developed social bonds, their connection to the Canaan Valley/Dolly Sods ecosystem, their interactions with humans, and, despite enormous odds, their ability to survive and thrive. Coyotes were not present in West Virginia until 1950. Today, they play a vital role in maintaining a balanced ecosystem in central Appalachia.
Michael will have copies of his books available for sale at the meeting.
The WV Master Naturalist program is designed to educate volunteers in the fundamentals of natural history, nature interpretation and teaching, and to instill the importance of responsible environmental stewardship.
If you are interested in the natural world and want to learn more about animal habitats and how to identify birds, trees, flowers, and amphibians, the Master Naturalist Certification Program may be for you. Volunteers can also contribute the scientific knowledge needed to conserve the state’s natural resources and share what they learn about the natural world with others.
The program provides a corps of highly trained volunteers to assist government agencies, schools, and non-governmental organizations in research, outdoor recreation development and education, and environmental protection.
For more information on the WV Master Naturalist Certification Program, visit: mnofwv.org. For more information about the event, contact Kay Hart, Tygart Valley Chapter Coordinator, [email protected]