We recently had the opportunity to talk with Wildlands Network supporters Dale Weiler and Loti Woods of Weiler Woods for Wildlife about what sparked their interest in our organization, and how our vision combined with their example can serve as inspiration to other who want to get involved in conservation.
Fierce wildlife advocates themselves, Dale and Loti have devoted their lives to celebrating —and championing the protection of—misunderstood species like bats, bears and red wolves. Dale is also a talented sculptor, and he and Loti are generously donating the proceeds from this magnificent red fox sculpture to Wildlands Network’s ongoing projects aimed at sustaining the wild across North America.
1. How did you first learn about Wildlands Network? What caught your attention?
We became interested in Wildlands Network when we researched wildlife corridors for a blog we were writing for our website, Weiler Woods for Wildlife. Your name kept appearing as the experts in connecting landscapes for the movement of wildlife. So we contacted Wildlands Network to learn more and the rest is history. We are now avid supporters and love the mission.
2. What about Wildlands Network’s work and mission gives you hope?
One of our mantras is we are stronger working together as a team than as individuals. Wildlands brings like-minded organizations together with the Connectivity Policy Coalition advocating federal and state legislation to connect wildlife habitats. This gives us hope that the Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act can be passed to help protect and restore our native species, both flora and fauna.
3. Tell us about a time you had the chance to meet Wildlands Network staff in the field. What made it memorable?
We have met a number of Wildlands Network employees and have been impressed with the passion each one brings to conservation. But the standout meeting was when Carly Creef-Alexander came to the unveiling of Dale’s red wolf sculpture at Alligator River Wildlife Refuge, home of the only remaining wild red wolves. We connected with her immediately as she told us of her efforts to engage local landowners in putting camera traps on their property to monitor red wolf and other wildlife activity. Since meeting her, we have stayed in touch sharing ideas to further build a community for coexistence with wildlife.
4. Why should more people learn more about and get involved with Wildlands Network?
Wildlands Network is leading the charge to develop strategies to connect habitats for wildlife. Their newly-released map shows how large swaths of unconnected lands can be reconnected. As they partner with other key conservation groups and individuals, they are in the best position to make wildlife corridors a reality.
5. What message do you have a message to share with readers?
We started our journey trying to help protect wildlife without really thinking about habitat. What we quickly came to realize is without habitat there can be no wildlife. Seems obvious but it took us a while to figure it out.
Wildlands Network’s work with habitat connectivity is critical to the survival of so many species. So we encourage everyone to think about wildlife and habitat protection at the same time. And maybe start in your own backyard by creating a wildlife haven as we are doing.