VIDEO: First Bison Encounter Inspires Lifelong Support

I gasped when I saw him.

Trudging through the deep snow toward me, he looked like a prehistoric creature.  Fortunately, I was able to collect myself long enough to take this short video of my first incredible encounter with a bison in the wild.


It was the winter of 2005 and I was on a National Wildlife Federation Expedition to Yellowstone National Park. On this same trip, my group was fortunate enough to also witness a herd of beautiful pronghorn antelope, numerous elk and a lone wolf howling in the distance — so haunting! Throughout the trip, I was constantly surprised by the emotions I felt as I observed these animals up close. It’s an experience I will not soon forget.

Needless to say, my trip to Yellowstone deepened my appreciation for our nation’s wildlife.And, it gives me great pride that National Wildlife Federation has been actively protecting Yellowstone wildlife for many years, thanks to our loyal supporters.

When the first explorers came to the Great Plains, it is estimated that 20 million bison roamed the land. By 1900, a little over 1,000 bison could be found with only a handful of wild bison left in Yellowstone National Park.

I have been a strong supporter myself of NWF’s Adopt-a-Wildlife-Acre program that helps protect bison, wolves and other wildlife that wander outside Yellowstone’s protected borders. Under grazing agreements, federal agents are obligated to kill the wandering wildlife to protect livestock. Through our program, NWF pays ranchers for their grazing privileges on acreage where wildlife conflicts exist. Then, we work with the U.S. Forest Service to permanently close the acreage to grazing. Ranchers are compensated, livestock thrives and wildlife survives. It’s win-win-win!

Introducing: Choose Your Cause

Because of my personal encounter with Yellowstone wildlife, I know first-hand what a profound effect my donations to this program can have.  And, it’s why I choose to continue to support this program through our newly launched Choose Your Cause online portal.

Donate NowI know that not everyone can visit Yellowstone National Park or Bristol Bay in Alaska, or the many other wild places NWF is helping to protect. So, through our new Choose Your Cause site, we are bringing these national gems to you. Just click on the cause you care about most and enjoy inspiring stories and photos from folks on-the-ground who are working tirelessly to protect the wildlife and wild places we all love.