The remarkable tale of the first wolf to roam the Pacific Northwest in nearly a century. Filled with maps, sketches, and photos, this intimate account of Journey teaches us not only about wolves, but about our own relationship with the natural world.$ 16.95 – Buy Paperback
Join the adventures of the famous wolf OR-7, also known as Journey, as he trots across the landscape of the Pacific Northwest into territories that have not seen his kind for nearly a century. Follow this remarkable animal as he searches for and finally finds what he's seeking during his three-year, 4,000-mile trek. Along the way, you’ll discover fascinating facts about wolves and meet the humans that have had a role in Journey’s quest. Enjoy the many photographs, maps, and sketches that help tell the tale of this courageous wolf. Journey: The Amazing Story of OR-7, the Oregon Wolf that Made History was created for middle-grade readers but will be appreciated by everyone with an interest in wolves and a desire to better understand these complex and essential canines.
He awoke to the distant sound of howling, stood on wobbly legs, and shook the dirt from his short, gray coat. His littermates still slept, their blunt noses buried in the warmth of each other’s fur to ward off the morning chill. The long climb out of the den wasn’t easy for the three-week-old wolf pup, but he was the adventurer of the litter, already curious about the world outside. Sharp claws scrambled on stones and packed earth as he climbed up the narrow tunnel. Finally, he reached the opening of the den his mother had dug a month earlier in anticipation of the birth of her litter.
The pup blinked as sunlight touched his eyes, and he took a deep breath of the fresh mountain air. For the first time in his life, he gazed at the dense forest around him. The broad trunks of the ponderosa pine and Douglas fir filled his view, and then he saw the sudden shifting of leaves on an aspen as the wind stirred. His nostrils opened wide to take in the surrounding scents. The young wolf did not yet know what the smells were, but they excited him. He noticed a familiar scent, one that carried with it warm milk and a gentle tongue. He heard the sound of a twig cracking and spotted his mother trotting through the forest toward the mouth of the den. She saw him and quickened her pace.
The mother wolf approached, her coat steel-gray like his, and the pup rushed to her, whining. The two licked each other’s muzzles and their tails wagged. The pup’s tail wagged so fast that he nearly lost his balance and toppled over. His mother gently nudged him in the direction of the den. He tried to hold his ground, wanting to stay outside and explore the vast forest, but the larger wolf won out, and the pup’s seven-pound body tumbled down the slope of the tunnel.
The den* echoed with the whines of the blue-eyed babies as they pounced on their mother. The gray pup joined in, and they all scrambled in the cramped, dark space, trampling each other as they greeted her. There was a medley of high-pitched squeaks, a flashing of pink tongues, and a furious wagging of tails. When the welcome ceremony was complete, the adult wolf dropped to her side, and all six pups, most gray like her, a few black like their father, rushed to her belly, pushing each other aside in an effort to feed. The babies locked on, and their tiny paws pressed against their mother’s body, working the milk down as they suckled. She sighed and laid her head on the floor of the den. Her young nursed as she drifted into a sound sleep, worn out by the morning’s hunt.
The adventurous gray pup finished feeding first. He took a few slow steps toward the entry of the den. His round belly, full of milk, nearly touched the ground. He walked a few feet before he became too sleepy to go on, then his short legs gave way, and he plopped down, gazing longingly at the bright oval of sunlight that shone through the door of the tunnel. Later, when not so full and not so drowsy, he would explore again. But not now. His eyes closed and he fell fast asleep.
This inquisitive wolf pup was born deep in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest of northeastern Oregon in mid-April of 2009, among one of the first litters born in the state in more than sixty years. Although he was an average-looking wolf, raised with his brothers and sisters far from the eyes of humans, this young animal soon became one of the most famous wolves in history. He is known as Journey, and for a very good reason.
Journey left his pack as a two-year-old and made for faraway lands. This is not unusual behavior for young wolves, but this curious creature traveled much farther than most. Within a few months, he traversed hundreds of miles to become the first wolf in Western Oregon in more than seventy years. As if this wasn’t enough of a jaunt, Journey then wandered into California, a state that had not seen wild wolves for almost a century. All in all, he logged over four thousand air miles before settling down in his new home in southwestern Oregon, where he finally found what he was searching for.**
Newspapers, television stations, and the Internet told the world about Journey’s remarkable travels. People cheered for him from the sidelines, hoping for his safety from all the dangers wolves face. Journey became an inspiration to many, as well as an ambassador that taught us much about the ways of wolves.
Journey: The Amazing Story of OR-7, the Oregon Wolf that Made History is an informational text that weaves a narrative story with factual information about wolves, the environment, and the humans involved in the life of OR-7. The fictionalized elements of the book engage even reluctant readers, while the more factual sections encourage critical thinking.
Journey provides background information on a variety of subjects, including biology, history, geography, politics, and current events. Readers employ informed decision-making skills in contemplating the past and current management of wolves, as well as understanding their own thoughts about this enigmatic but controversial animal.
The book also promotes further study of wolves and other wildlife, subjects of interest to many young readers. The vocabulary presented in the book is explained in a detailed glossary. In-depth source notes provide a context for what students are reading and also helps to encourage further research. Journey includes a long list of wolf-related books and websites to explore.
Journey is a richly illustrated book, filled with photos, sketches, and maps. The visual appeal of the book, along with the fascinating true story of a four-legged hero’s journey, is one that students will enjoy and learn from.
While Journey is a complete and detailed text that includes sidebars, source notes, a glossary, an index, and a bibliography, we chose to create a Teacher’s Guide to further the educational value of the book. This guide is organized to align with the four chapters of the text. Each section covers additional facts about wolves, related to the book’s four chapters, followed by activities and discussion questions. The guide was developed with an upper-elementary and middle school audience in mind; however, teachers can easily make adjustments to alter the content for other age groups. We hope this guide helps spark some interesting discussions and gives teachers a foundation to create their own wolf-related activities and questions.
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