“I still don’t really understand what makes wolverines tick,” Doug Chadwick says.” But I learned that they tick at a higher metabolic rate than other animals their size. If you were to picture them as organic cruising machines with a souped-up carburetor, you wouldn’t be far off the mark.”
On Thursday, July 28, at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Chadwick, a wildlife biologist, shares his work related to the Glacier National Park Wolverine in association with the Center’s photography exhibition Yellowstone to Yukon: Freedom to Roam.
The evening begins at 5 p.m. with a reception (cash bar) and book signing in the John Bunker Sands Photography Gallery where Chadwick autographs copies of his book The Wolverine Way as well as the Yellowstone to Yukon exhibition companion book to which Chadwick contributed an essay. At 6 p.m. in the Coe Auditorium, Chadwick talks more about his years of volunteer work catching and radio tracking the fierce wolverine. The event is free to the public, and attendees need only alert the Center’s admissions desk that they’ve come for the reception and talk.
“[T]here was the lure of the setting itself. Glacier National Park is the centerpiece in the section of the Rockies many call the Crown of the Continent,” the Whitefish, Montana, resident writes in his book. “When I’m away from this tall, never-tamed country, I ache to be back within its folds the way other folks miss home…It makes sense to me to wander around in Glacier purely to air out the soul.
But especially important to Chadwick is the wolverine. Even though he realizes the phrase is “shopworn and applies words to so many life forms these days,” he writes simply that, “The animals are in serious trouble.”
“It’s a real treat to have Chad come and share with us these topics with which he’s so intimately familiar,” says Dr. Charles R. Preston, senior and founding curator of the Center’s Draper Museum of Natural History. “He’s an exceptional speaker, and the stories he brings are thrilling. This will be a great evening for visitors.”
Chadwick earned a master’s degree in wildlife biology from the University of Montana in 1974. After that, he studied mountain goats in Glacier National Park and has since written countless articles and eleven books on natural history and conservation around the globe.
In describing the nature of wolverines, Chadwick concludes, “If [they] have a strategy, it’s this: Go hard, and high, and steep, and never back down, not even from the biggest grizzly, and least of all from a mountain. Climb everything: trees, cliffs, avalanche chutes, summits. Eat everybody: alive, dead, long-dead, moose, mouse, fox, frog, its still-warm heart or frozen bones.”
Committed to connecting people with the Spirit of the American West, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center weaves the varied threads of the western experience—history and myth, art and Native culture, firearms technology and the nature of Yellowstone—into the rich panorama that is the American West. The Center, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is now operating its summer schedule, open daily, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. For general information, visit www.bbhc.org, or call 307.587.4771.
Photo caption: Carl Rungius (1869 – 1959. Wolverine in a Rocky Mountain Landscape, Alberta, 1919. Oil on canvas. Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, Wyoming, U.S.A. Gift of Jackson Hole Preserve, Inc. 16.93.3