Thursday, January 30, 2014

Getting to know the black-footed ferret (and how they came back)!

On my first day as a Volunteer Ranger at Wind Cave National Park, I had the blessed experience of releasing a captive-bred black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes) into the wild prairie. I won't say much more about the event here, because I hope to tell the story as a single-page comic for the park newspaper/ visitor guide. In the meantime, I have been getting to know the ferret, via the literature and my sketchbook. Although the mustelid looks cute, it is a fearsome predator of prairie dogs, and makes a chattering noise that will send chills down your spine. With its stark black and white pattern, and “mask” on the face, the ferret looks like a natural born superhero. The critter should lend itself well to the stark and iconic imagery of comics.

And the black-footed ferret is indeed an icon, for species recovery. From the brink of extinction, these critters, guided by the hands of wise and daring biologists, have made a comeback to beat Aerosmith! This remarkable story is chronicled at .

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Hawk and the Flying Turtle

I composed this drawing as a gift for my friend Lesley, whose spirit animal is the hawk. The turtle could represent all the animals she aids. However, my choice to add the reptile was influenced by the story of my grandmother, Evelyn Wood Moyle, who departed from this earth four years ago, in January 2010. My family members know all about her connection to an aerial chelonian; for now, I shall let it remain a mystery to the outside world. I also recall the Dakota story of "How Turtle Flew South for the Winter;" I rather enjoy giving the turtle an odd voice when sharing this story with youngsters. You can choose your own interpretation of the flying turtle.

Happy 2014!