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Wolves are reclaiming North America and Western Europe, but humans and wolves are still learning how to co-exist. Back me, and you’ll help me find out what wildness means in the 21st century.

  • 110%funded
    so far
  • 31days
  • $11,040raised
    so far
This project is no longer accepting pledges
* This project was successfully funded.
★ DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT ★ Beacon will match every dollar you pledge, up to $5,000 in total.

When you subscribe, you’ll get:

✓ Advance access to chapters of a book as I write them on the tension between managing wolves in humanized landscapes and our desire to keep them wild.

✓ Bonus materials that won’t appear in the book.

✓ Breaking news about wolves and wolf policy.

✓ Dispatches, photography and video from the field as I report on wolves in the wilderness and in developed lands.

✓ Access to every story, by every writer on Beacon.


Wolves are beginning to expand across landscapes where they have been gone for decades.

But the world changed while they were away. Today, wild wolves are bumping up against the tame landscape we’ve built in their absence, and scientists are just figuring out how much to let them cross boundaries.

How should wolves be kept away from livestock? What should be done if wolves mate with domestic dogs? How many wolves, if any, should we collar or otherwise track? Can wolves live near or even in cities?

My stories – which I will turn into a book – will use this tension to explore why and how humans continue to value wildness so highly in a world increasingly tamed, managed and humanized.

One wolf tracker I interviewed says, “I am not sure there is a place for the wolf except in the back of beyond. They are Pleistocene beasts. They will never be a crow or even a coyote, at home rustling through human trash at the edge of town.” What I want to know, what I still don’t know, is whether this is truth or legend talking. After all, from myth to fairy tales, the wolf is a potent and complex presence in human culture.

I plan to travel to visit wolves and the scientists who study them in Michigan, the Rockies, Canada, Europe and here in Oregon, where I live.


My main character will be a wolf: OR7.

OR7 became famous in 2011 when he left his pack in northeastern Oregon and walked over 1,000 miles to California, becoming the first wild wolf in the state since 1923. We know of his journey because government scientists had fitted him with a GPS-tracking collar as a young wolf. His long jaunt became a spectator sport and he became an unwitting celebrity. Recently, he found a mate and had pups, becoming Alpha male of the first wolf pack on the West Coast.

Collared but free, protected by humans but unaware of them, famous but hidden, this pack contains all the contradictions of the 21st century wild wolf.


As a backer, you will help me:

✓ Visit field sites where wolf research is underway and report on those projects from the ground.

✓ Attend conferences where experts share the latest findings in wolf biology, ecology, and policy.

✓ Carve out time to focus on the project and put the weekly freelance hustle on hold.

✓ Purchase a video camera.

(Image sources, from top to bottom: Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, ODFW, USFWS and Flickr/Bob Wick, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, California)

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Thanks so much for helping me get to 100%!

July 31, 2014 at 10:20 pm

Dear Backers,

Thanks so much everyone, for subscribing to this project. I know some of you very well; others of you are new to me. I hope you’ll enjoy my work. Please feel free to comment on stories and contact me directly about what you’d like to know more about or with other feedback. I am really looking forward to the interactivity of this model of journalism and I hope we can create a community and together explore ideas about wildness, wildlife and the meaning of the wolf in contemporary culture. I’ll be in touch more on how to get directly in touch with me to talk about my stories and provide me with feedback.

Now that I’ve been funded, my work will also reach the rest of Beacon’s readers, no matter to whom they initially subscribed. (You’ll have access to the rest of Beacon’s content as well.) And my stories need not stay isolated. If you share them on social media, those who click through will be able to read them in their entirety. So do feel free to share widely!

My first story will be an essay that will serve as an introduction to my current thinking about the paradox of “wildlife management.” This should be posted in about a week. Then I’ll launch into reporting on new science and social developments, Q&A’s with experts and short bulletins on breaking wolf news.

Thanks so much again for joining me on this journey and making it possible!



2 days to go!

July 29, 2014 at 1:39 am

Hi everyone,

Thanks again for continuing to support and share ‘Wild Wolves in the 21st Century.’ Emma is so close to meeting her goal and cannot move forward with this project unless it is 100% funded.

With just 2 days left in the campaign, if you could share the project page (http://www.beaconreader.com/projects/wild-wolves-in-the-21st-century) with just one other interested family member or friend, she can meet her goal and pursue this reporting.

This means so much to us and to Emma as well. We appreciate you and your support!


The Beacon Team

8 days to go and almost there!

July 23, 2014 at 6:25 pm

Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for your continued support of Wild Wolves of the 21st Century. The Beacon Team cannot wait to see the work that Emma is putting together for this extraordinary project.

Emma is so close to meeting her goal but can’t do it without your help! If you could share the project page (http://www.beaconreader.com/projects/wild-wolves-in-the-21st-century) with just one other interested family member or friend, she can meet her goal in the next 8 days.

Thanks for your association with Beacon, we appreciate you supporting the talented writers on our site.


The Beacon Team

We are off to a great start!

July 14, 2014 at 5:39 am

Hi everyone,

Wow, we are off to such a great start as we are more than halfway to our $5,000 goal. I really appreciate all the support and kind words.

As we continue the momentum on the campaign, it would help me so much if you could share the page with interested family and friends. A little help goes a long way and the more you share, the more people can find out about Wild Wolves in the 21st Century.

I’ll be in touch throughout the next month and I can’t wait to share my work with you!



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A one-year subscription to my work on Beacon, plus a signed copy of my upcoming book (see above). Your subscription expires after one year.
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A one-year subscription to my work on Beacon, plus a signed copy of my upcoming book (see above) and your name in the acknowledgements section. Your subscription expires after one year.
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A one-year subscription to my work on Beacon, plus a signed copy of my upcoming book (see above), your name in the acknowledgements section AND I will Skype in for a discussion with you and your book club or a group of interested friends. Your subscription expires after one year.
Note: All pledges are in USD.


I am an environmental writer and reporter. I have written for, among others, Slate, National Geographic, The New York Times and the scientific journal Nature, where I was on staff for about five years.

I have a Master’s in Science Writing from Johns Hopkins University. In 2011, I published my first book, Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World. The book highlights alternative conservation strategies that do not focus on holding or returning land to a historical baseline. From managed relocation of species threatened by climate change to the embrace of so-called novel ecosystems, I champion a blurring of the lines between nature and people, and a conscious and humble care of our humanized planet.

I grew up in Seattle and live in Klamath Falls, OR, with my husband and two children.

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