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Nathan Varley

Nathan grew up in Yellowstone National Park in a small village called Mammoth Hot Springs. His parents, biologists and park rangers, lived in the park for three decades. Following in their footsteps, Nathan studied biology at Montana State University; earning a B. S. and M. S. degree in wildlife. He received his doctorate degree in animal behavior. He conducted field research on mountain goats in Wyoming, moose in Alaska, guanacos in Patagonia, and pine martens in Idaho. But, his path always led home to Yellowstone where he did research on coyotes, bears, river otters and gray wolves. He worked as an assistant producer on numerous film documentaries done by National Geographic and Landis Films on wildlife in Yellowstone, including Return of the Wolf, the Otters of Yellowstone and the Living Eden: Yellowstone. In addition he was involved in media productions for Nature, Time, BBC, and the Jason Project. These films are often shown on public television.

He was part of the original research team for the Gray Wolf Recovery Project at Yellowstone. His study of gray wolves included tracking and behavioral observations, ground radio-telemetry, capture and handling, plus guiding and interpreting wolf activity for visitors. He wrote the Naturalist & Guide for the Yellowstone Association Institute and created the Yellowstone Wolf Tracker magazine which chronicles the adventures of wolf watching.

Nathan plans to forever explore Yellowstone’s grandeur, seeking insight to the mysteries of its wildlife and landscape. Ultimately, Nathan wishes to champion a land ethic policy that places the highest value on our wildlife and their habitats, and in so doing, forever preserve the places that have provided his life’s inspiration.

Currently Nathan and his wife, Biologist Linda Thurston, run their own business called The Wild Side. They provide expertly guided trips into Yellowstone to view and study wolves, bears and other diverse wildlife of the ecosystem. They provide interesting educational classes as well. Check out   Also check out a new website called Yellowstone Reports, which brings wolf watching right into your home!!!

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