The beginning of Summer brought many transitions to the land and the Buffalo as the migration pattern began from the now protected Horse Butte area near West Yellowstone. The Bison bison took their steps into Summer as volunteers at BFC headquarters also transformed into field science operatives and outreach educators within Yellowstone National Park. Tourists from all over the world were generous of heart for the Bison bison, Buffalo, or the original Lakota name, “Pte.” Visitors to Yellowstone engaged with science students, outdoor educators, activists, and native volunteers from all around Turtle Island.
One young environmentalist and journalism student, Daniel M., also known as “Ryker,” shared Native and U.S. historical stories relating to the 40-60 million Buffalo followed and studied by many Native Nations that once roamed together over 1/3 of what is now occupied territory called the United States. In his gentle and quiet tone of voice tourists became engaged in the story of how this majestic relative became reduced by Western U.S. Settlers, U.S. Military Personnel, and poachers to 23 individuals in the Pelican Valley, deep inside Yellowstone. The summer program included research of over 20-years of documents, field science patrols into Lamar and Hayden Valleys for weekly studies of familial behavior (from a Native instructor) and counts as volunteers began to identify the differences between genders, ages, and herds. Ryker continued to share updates with the tourists as 1,100 Buffalo were counted in Lamar, and approximately 900 in Hayden Valley.
“Hollywood,” a 25-year-old Master’s Degree candidate from Staten Island, New York also shared his excitement to be amongst the Buffalo and his concerns were shared with compassion for the one-ton males whom he had first seen in an exhibit in the Bronx Zoo. One commentary he shared was his enthusiasm that “wild” means migratory and the importance that the Buffalo have access to new burn areas, ability to travel and choose their own food sources, and to maintain their families without harassment. “Responsibility of the care of the herd is Worldwide,” he expressed, “They were here from the Stone Age and are the most genetically and behaviorally intact population in the U.S. and need our work as volunteers to be protected.”
A 22-year-old Outdoor Educator in Big Ben, California aka “DJ Red,” also spent five weeks between BFC Headquarters and outreach in Yellowstone. “There is a beauty about them that children deserve to see for themselves and that needs to happen by protecting the herd and increasing migration into National Forest areas surrounding the park,” DJ Red stated. This was especially impactful as he had spent over nine nights up close and personal with one elder bull, and two younger buffalo. These three individuals have been affectionately named, “Brutus, Thunder, and Lightening,” by the Campground Host and a long-term visitor at the campsite. Conservation is our accountable responsibility was the main theme during his visit with Buffalo Field Campaign and he departed back to his family in Ohio with his chin high and a heart of a Rainbow Warrior to protect Buffalo, ecology, and children’s rights to a clean and intact environment from his individualized lessons from cooperative non-profit Herbal Gardens Wellness instructors.
Volunteering for and helping to educate the public about environmental and animal rights movements are essential to turning around the destructive patterns of government agencies like the Montana
Department of Livestock and National Park Service that target the herds as soon as the bison approach or cross National Park Boundaries into Montana. This coming winter season, it is vitally important that BFC patrols remain strong and effective in the field with the Buffalo. We must ensure that our beloved National Mammal, the Pte (Buffalo, Bison bison) remains intact as a population that can bring great healing to the Earth and to all of the people who travel to learn and work with Buffalo Field Campaign. Please join us.
Nancy Clark Summer Volunteer Coordinator Buffalo Field Campaign