Evening with Our Ally: The Wolf Highlights the Wolf-Human Connection
6:00 pm Saturday, August 24
Jackson Hole Center for the Arts
JACKSON, WY (AUGUST 12, 2019) – Hosted by Wyoming Wildlife Advocates (WWA), the Evening with Our Ally: The Wolf, brings the stories of the wolf-human connection to Wyoming. In a state where wolves are vastly misunderstood, persecuted, and characterized as vermin or pests, WWA seeks to elevate the position of these important sentient, family-oriented creatures in Wyoming by celebrating their connection to humans.
The evening will feature The War In Between and Wolf Spirit, two films that showcase how humans interact with and connect to wolves. The War In Between is the story of Lockwood Animal Rescue Center (LARC) located in Los Angeles, California and founded by Navy Veteran Matthew Simmons and Dr. Lorin Lindner, a clinical psychologist and public health educator (bios below). The Mission of the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center is to provide permanent sanctuary to rescued wolves, wolfdogs, coyotes, parrots, horses, and other animals, as well as employment for veterans who care for these animals where they learn valuable job skills for future permanent employment. The unique relationships that develop are therapeutic for all. LARC is not open to the public so that the Veterans, wolves, wolfdogs, horses, and other residents are given the privacy they need to heal. Matthew and Lorin and the LARC’s Wolves and Warriors Program have been featured on Animal Planet in the show Wolves and Warriors, which can be seen on Animal Planet and Amazon Prime. Lockwood Animal Rescue Center is home to the WolfGuard Program that is dedicated to helping veterans through innovative means. The WolfGuard Program sends veterans to monitor the woods of Montana to document and put an end to atrocities against wild wolf populations. WolfGuard works to end canned wolf hunts and illegal trapping by reducing the number of wolves killed, bringing cruel hunting practices into the public eye, and persuading the public to support legislation that ends wolf hunting and trapping in the United States. Matt and Lorin will be here to answer questions and speak about The War In Between and the special bond between wolf and veteran that promotes healing for both.
Film director Julia Huffman (bio below) will be present this evening to present her short film, Wolf Spirit. Wolf Spirit is the follow-up story to the award-winning film Medicine of the Wolf which WWA brought to Jackson in 2017. Julia’s film features world-renowned scientist and photographer Dr. Jim Brandenburg who has lived with and studied wolves for over 45 years. Jim speaks about the connection that wolves have to humans, the relationships between them and why nature is more complete with them present. Julia will offer her perspective on interviewing and travelling with Dr. Brandenburg in the north woods of Minnesota. Following both films will be a brief discussion and question and answer period with Julia, Matt, and Lorin.
This event will also feature artwork that celebrates wolves. Shannon Marie will be live painting a wolf piece that will be auctioned off at the end of the night and several other art pieces and items will be available for auction and raffle including beautiful images by Tom Mangelsen, Jim Brandenburg, Nicolette Maw, Matt Flint, Gisele Olsen, and Helen Seay. In The Center Lobby, the Valley Bookstore will be present selling books featuring wolves and WWA will be selling their new wolf leggings featuring artwork from local artist Shannon Marie Schacht. Informational booths will feature the status of wolves in Wyoming and will offer an opportunity for attendees to send a message to Governor Gordon explaining how wolves are important to them. Complementary hour d ‘oeuvres will be served with a cash bar for drinks. Events in the lobby are free, $15 tickets available for purchase at The Center includes both films and are available at the door or online at http://jhcenterforthearts.org/.
“Millions of humans worldwide feel a strong spiritual and ancestral connection to wolves. We are excited to bring to Wyoming a story that portrays wolves as what they have been for so long: teachers, mentors, companions, and a reflection of ourselves,” says Kristin Combs, Executive Director for Wyoming Wildlife Advocates. “Westward expansion and the taming of the West brought undue persecution of wolves when for hundreds of thousands of years, we have been honoring them. It’s time we brought a sense of reverence for the wolf back to Wyoming.”
Thanks to our partners and sponsors, Shannon Marie Artistry, Valley Bookstore, Teton Toys, Images of Nature Gallery, Brandenburg Gallery, Matt Flint, Ringholz Studios, Art by NGM, Gisele Olsen, and Helen Seay.
Matthew Simmons, Navy Veteran, is the co-founder, along with his wife, of the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center (LARC) and the Wolves and Warriors program. Matthew is the Chief Operating Officer of both LARC and Serenity Park and has been volunteering his service since 2008. Matthew co-created the WolfGuard Program and is dedicated to helping veterans through innovative means. Matthew understands that there isn’t a cure for PTSD, survivor’s guilt, and many combat related injuries, but over the years he has come to realize that working with the animals at Serenity Park and LARC can make all the difference in a veteran’s life. He wants to be sure more veterans are helped to thrive not just survive after their military service.
LORIN LINDNER, PHD
Lorin Lindner, PhD, MPH, is a clinical psychologist and public health educator using nature and alternative methods of healing. Dr. Lindner was Clinical Director of New Directions for Homeless Veterans at the Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare Center. Then she began an inter-species recovery program that places rescued parrots in sanctuary where they are cared for by veterans undergoing rehabilitation from trauma. Each of them helps the other along the way. At that sanctuary she met her husband, Matthew Simmons, and together they started the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center. Dr. Lindner’s has published a book about the history of Serenity Park Sanctuary, Birds of a Feather (St. Martin’s Press, 2018) and she has also published in various journals on trauma in animals, domestic violence, child abuse, and the Link between violence against people and cruelty to animals. For over 20 years she has utilized eco- and animal-based therapy as part of her treatment protocol.
Cutting her teeth as a television producer, Julia left her 9 to 5 job to pursue her passion for documentaries and giving the voiceless a voice. She went on to become one of a handful of female directors to win multiple awards and distribute her film on all major streaming platforms and cable VOD world-wide. Julia is a 1st place winner of the Humane Society’s ACE Entertainment Grant, TEDx speaker and lover of wolves and the wild! Endorsed by Dr. Jane Goodall, her last film, Medicine of the Wolf, won the Grand Jury prize at the Arizona International film festival, the BEST of FEST and Audience choice award at the Minneapolis Film Festival and Audience choice at the G2 Film Festival in Venice California. Medicine of the Wolf has been viewed in hundreds of thousands of homes world-wide and was rated #1 best nature documentary on HULU, #9 best documentary on iTunes, and #1 Best Wolf documentary on IMDB.
Julia is currently in production on her second feature documentary starring actress Sheryl Lee from the highly acclaimed, Twin Peaks. The film is about an unsolved double murder in her hometown in West Virginia.