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Oregon's wolves first topic of lecture series

Southern Oregon's famed wolf OR-7 and his kin will be among the topics in the second year of a lecture series highlighting fish and wildlife issues in the region.

Three local lectures will be presented in this year's edition of Discovering Wildlife. The nonprofit group Oregon Wildlife will team with the Oregon State University Press and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in the lecture series, which will move this year from the Expo grounds in Central Point to downtown Medford's Craterian Theater.

This year's series begins Wednesday evening with a presentation about the dispersal of wolves, including OR-7, as they spread into the state from reintroduced populations in the northern Rocky Mountains. OR-7 attracted international attention as he migrated from northeastern Oregon to Southern Oregon, where he and a mate produced a litter of pups last year.

Titled, "Collared: The Politics of Oregon's Wolves," the talk by author and journalist Aimee Lyn Eaton will present some of the stories and findings from her book "Collared" about the repercussions of wolf reintegration in Oregon.

Politician-turned-filmmaker Jason Atkinson will give a presentation on Feb. 18 on his new documentary, called "A River Between Us," which is set for release in March. The documentary highlights the importance of communities amid basinwide restoration efforts.

The former state senator from 2001-2013 said he believes the film highlights "a new kind of conservation" that replaces the litigious-based Endangered Species Act model.

"It moves away from endangered species toward endangered habitat, which is much bigger," Atkinson said. "It involves folding local communities into habitat."

Tim Palmer, a river conservationist who authored  "Field Guide to Oregon Rivers," an unprecedented publication that profiles 120 waterways throughout the state, will give a photographic presentation on Oregon's rivers March 4.

Each of the presentations will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will be in the Craterian's lobby, which will be set up to seat about 100 people, said Geoff Gibson, the organization's marketing director.

The series is an offshoot of one that began six years ago in Portland, according to Oregon Wildlife, which was formerly called the Oregon Wildlife Heritage Foundation. The group last year expanded regional lectures to Medford and Bend, which also has a new round of presentations this year, Gibson said.

Last year's presentations looked at the impacts of dam-removal in the Rogue River, migratory patterns of the region's black-tailed deer and the status of the Pacific fisher.

Tickets for this year's lectures can be purchased online at the Craterian's website or at the box office during normal business hours. Tickets can also be purchased at the door. Tickets cost $5 each, or $3 for members of Oregon Wildlife.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.