Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy

Documentary Film "Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy - The Yellowstone Story” (WT)

Stories of people working to preserve the legacy of wolves in Yellowstone National Park.

Co Produced by Rachel Tilseth And Maaike Middleton
Directed by Rachel Tilseth

This is a Wolves of Douglas County Film - Rippling Waters film Productions (c) 

The vision of the film is to tell the stories of the people who work to preserve the legacy of wolves in Yellowstone. Telling their story will be the inspiration that helps the viewer to gain insight into the heart of wolf advocacy. 

Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy - The Yellowstone Story is the story of the people that advocate to preserve the legacy of wolves in Yellowstone. There are four protagonists; Nathan Varley owner of Yellowstone Wolf Tracker and president of Bear Creek Council Ilona Popper writer, wolf watcher and member of Bear Creek Council. Rick Lamplugh author and member of Bear Creek Council. Marc Cooke founder of the nonprofit Wolves of the Rockies The four featured wolf advocates have a story to tell. Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy-The Yellowstone Story presents the viewer with a complete picture of what it means to advocate for an imperiled species protected within Yellowstone National Park contrasted against an uncertain future because of Trophy wolf hunts taking place beyond the parks borders. 

ImagesRick Lamplugh is one of the film’s featured wolf advocates. Rick Lamplugh lives in Gardiner, Montana, at Yellowstone’s north gate. He is the author of two Amazon best sellers, In the Temple of Wolves and Deep into Yellowstone. His writing has appeared in Yellowstone Reports, and the literary journals Composite Arts Magazine, Gold Man Review, Phoebe, Soundings Review, and Feathered Flounder. He won the Jim Stone Grand Prize for Non-Fiction.

In this promotional teaser Rick Lamplugh talks about his path to wolf advocacy.

Nathan Varley, Ph.D Currently Varley is the owner of The Wild Side, LLC, a wildlife touring business specializing in outfitting groups of all ages to view wolves and other wildlife in Yellowstone National Park, including interpretation related to the park’s natural and cultural history and sciences. He and his wife, Linda Thurston, lead tours that champion a land ethic that places the highest value on wildlife and habitat within the Yellowstone ecosystem, focusing on forever preserving and enjoying the places that have provided Nathan’s inspiration.

As a contributor to the historic Gray Wolf Recovery Project in Yellowstone Park, Nathan served under Supervisor Doug Smith from 1995 to 2005, working on studies that included tracking, from radio telemetry and ground observation, observing gray wolf interactions with ungulate species, field necropsy, data collection, capture and handling.

Ilona Popper a writer and wolf advocate living in Jardine, Montana just at the north entrance of YNP. Ilona has worked intensively on preserving wolves in the YNP area and in Montana. She helped establish and served as chair for the Bear Creek Council Wolf Committee and was invited to sit on Finding Common Ground, a council called by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to bring together wildlife advocates and environmentalists with sportspeople and livestock producers. The participants were often at odds, especially about wolves, but she saw that “each person shared a love of wildlife and nature.”

Marc Cooke founded Wolves of the Rockies headquartered out of Stevensville, Montana. Wolves of the Rockies is the most active local and national wolf defender and protector in Montana. Wolves of the Rockies has developed long-term relationships with other hunting and pro-wolf state and national conservation organizations. Along with decision makers such as Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Commissioners and state and federal elected officials. Under Wolves of the Rockies leadership, we have achieved many pro-wolf accomplishments. The creation of two subunits 313 & 316 that border Yellowstone National Park.

Listen to Yellowstone National Park wolves howl:

A pack of wolves howl during the evening while near an elk kill at Soda Butte. A Black-billed magpie flies by (1:00). CREDIT / AUTHOR: NPS & MSU Acoustic Atlas/Jennifer Jerrett DATE CREATED: 2016-01-11

The film will interview staff from the Yellowstone Wolf Project Doug Smith, Rick McIntyre and Kira Cassidy.

Maaike Middleton Co Producer

M.A Documentary by Practice, University of London – Royal Holloway
Graduated with Merit  B.A Media & Theatre Arts, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana
Graduated Cum Laude

Raised in the Paradise Valley, schooled in London, traveled to 25+ countries, rooted in the Montana wilds. Growing up in Paradise Valley all I wanted to do was travel and see the world. After getting my BA in Filmmaking from Montana State University I did just that. I traveled to some amazing places, from the wild Gobi dessert in Mongolia to the temples of Angor Wat in Cambodia to the hustle and bustle of London where I received a Masters in Documentary filmmaking from the University of London. Returning to Paradise Valley to document the beauty that surrounds me daily. My passport ever ready for the next international adventure and hiking boots ready to explore the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Rachel Tilseth Co Producer and Director

Rachel holds a Batchelor of Science Degree in Art Education and is a retired art teacher. Tilseth’s interests in nature, specifically wolves, led her to advocate for wolves and wildlife. In the year 2000 she became involved in WI DNR Wolf Recovery Program working as a volunteer winter wolf tracker to present. She founded the blog and social media network Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin to bring education and awareness to Wisconsin’s wild wolf.


Tilseth has spent several years speaking out against wolf trophy hunts. Tilseth is active in working to ban Wolf Hounding in Wisconsin. She has a strong background in the visual arts. She’s a sculptor and oil painter. Tilseth has expanded her interest into filmmaking. She’s currently in the process of creating a documentary film about the heart of wolf advocacy.

Featured photograph is artwork donated by artist Lindsay Carron more about this artist and donated work forthcoming 

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