Caitlin Scarano and Megan Perra
In our ITOC collaboration, Megan Perra and I are drawn to themes of ecology and relationality, by which I mean how we are in relation with other humans, non-human beings, and the ecosystems we inhabit. We joined the In a Time of Change: Boreal Forest Stories program because we’re interested in the ways poetry and visual art can engage with scientific research and make it more accessible.
In 2021, Megan and I had the privilege of speaking with a wolf biologist, Bridget Borg, at Denali National Park. We spoke with this biologist about the Park’s current packs and where their territories overlap and collide with humans, and human activities like hunting and trapping, in and around the Park. When we asked the biologist about which individual wolves stick out in her memory, she told us about Wolf 1202, former matriarch of the Riley Creek Pack.
For this project, titled “Wolf 1202,” Megan Perra and I are researching the life and death of a specific wolf—the recently deceased matriarch of the Riley Creek Pack in Denali National Park. Through this project, we hope to use Wolf 1202 as a case study that transcends stereotypes and the vilification and extreme representations of wolves to show the ambiguity and complexity of them—the intricacies of their social lives (packs are essentially family units), as well as the richness of their individual lives.
Originally from Southside Virginia, Caitlin Scarano is a writer based in Bellingham, Washington. She holds a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an MFA from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Her second full length collection of poems, The Necessity of Wildfire, was selected by Ada Limón as the winner of the Wren Poetry Prize and released in April 2022. Caitlin is a member of the Washington Wolf Advisory Group. She was selected as a participant in the NSF’s Antarctic Artists & Writers Program and spent November 2018 in McMurdo Station in Antarctica. You can find her at caitlinscarano.com
Megan Perra is a wildlife biologist and visual artist working primarily in painting and printmaking. She has attended artist residencies in Iceland, Alaska and the Faroe Islands and her prints have been exhibited internationally. She recently completed her MSc at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and is pursuing a PhD studying caribou at the State University of New York College of Environmental Sciences Forestry.