Nurture and Nature of Working with Animals

The Fall 2023 Speaker Series is inspired by local people who work closely with animals—a llama packer, farrier, sheep rancher, wool fiber artist, Norwegian Fjord horse breeder, therapist, and two cattle ranchers. Each are committed to their work that helps others in various and myriad ways. We hope you’ll enjoy their stories, available in-person at programs held at the museum or via Zoom livestream. (Register for each Zoom program below.)

Speaker series programs will be uploaded to YouTube after each live presentation. Click here to visit our YouTube channel.

Limited in-person program seating at Yellowstone Gateway Museum, 118 W. Chinook St., Livingston, so come early. Programs begin at 6:00pm; please note earlier time from previous programs.

Registration is required for each virtual program but it's easy. Scroll down and click on the date of each webinar that you'd like to attend, complete registration and you will receive an email with a Zoom link. The Yellowstone Gateway Museum is happy to present free virtual programs but we hope you'll consider making a donation. Click HERE to help us keep these virtual and in-person programs going. Any amount helps us deliver the quality programming that you expect and now can enjoy from home. Please contact Executive Director Mark Brammer, 406.222.4184, for more information.

See more information for each program below. Click on date/title to register for free program on Zoom.

Susi Sinay with Lewis the Llama  Earl Craig shoeing a horse

Susi Hülsmeyer-Sinay, llama packer and trail guide, author and
Earl Craig, farrier and poet

About the speakers:

Susi Hülsmeyer-Sinay arrived in Montana from Germany. She traveled to Yellowstone National Park and decided to stay in the area, moving here in 1993. In Montana, she realized her dream to work with animals, explore her love for writing, and immerse herself in wild nature.

She exchanged her international business past for the adventure of an exciting and fulfilled life in the mountains of Montana. Llamas soon entered her life and have never again let go of her heart. She published a book “Lewis the Yellowstone Llama” as well as various articles in Distinctly Montana and Outside Bozeman. Susi is active in llama rescue and local charity events such as through Eagle Mount. Her trekking company, Yellowstone Llamas, offers nature hikes with llamas in Yellowstone National Park and Paradise Valley. She lives with her animal family of fourteen llamas, three cats, and one dog in Livingston.

Michael Earl Craig is a Certified Journeyman Farrier (through the American Farriers’ Association) and an Associate of London’s Worshipful Company of Farriers.  He lives in the Shields Valley where he shoes horses for a living. Craig also writes poetry. His most recent book of poems is Iggy Horse (Wave Books, 2023).  He’s published poems in various magazines, journals and anthologies, including Poetry, The Believer, The New Yorker and The Best American Poetry (2014 and 2022).  Craig was a recent Poet Laureate for the state of Montana and a Civitella Ranieri Foundation fellow (fall of 2021).  

 Lorna Marchington with one of her sheep  Helen Harris wearing one of her garments

October 18: Sheep ranching and fiber artistry!
Lorna Marchington, lifelong sheep rancher/historian
Helen Harris, lifelong fiber (wool) artist & MT Fibershed organizer

About the speakers:

Lorna Marchington is a member of a fifth-generation Park County ranching family, residing on the flats of Mill Creek in the heart of Paradise Valley at Barely *A* Sheep Ranch. She cut her teeth in the lambing shed on her parents’ ranch, where she now resides and raises a small flock of Columbia-Lincoln cross sheep. Growing up with 4-H, Lorna was always fascinated with sheep, winning many awards with her animals. Lorna enjoying sharing her knowledge at various venues. She has brought bum lambs to Ag Days for Park County Schools during the fall as well as to the museum during Living History Day in June.

The sheep she raises provides locals with farm-to-fork fresh lamb. A portion of the wool is sent to a mill in New York that uses refurbished traditional milling machinery suitable for Renaissance re-enactors for weaving traditional clothing.

With her deep roots in area history, Lorna has always been intrigued by the multiple facets of local history. In addition to this speaker series, Lorna has given presentations on the role of sheep and how it changed the course of history in the West. She has led walking tours for the Yellowstone Gateway Museum for a number of years, including Bars and Brothels, and Ghosts and Ghost Signs.

Lifelong fiber artist Helen Harris beautifully weaves together agriculture and artistry. Helen grew up learning to mend and stitch at her grandmother’s knee, turning a weekly task into a master’s degree when she graduated with a Master of Arts degree in Textile Design and Studio Art from Northern Illinois University in 1981. She moved to Ennis, Montana in 2014 and if she isn’t wandering the foothills of her home looking for colors, patterns, and textures in nature to inspire her elaborate weavings, she’s creatively mending jeans and recycling fibers.

Recently retired from a career in Marketing/Finance, Helen is now an advocate for the Montana fiber community, focusing on regenerative fiber practices. She sits on the board of the Montana Fibershed and took part in the organization’s debut event, the Farm to Fashion Show that took place in October 2022 at the Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture in Bozeman. Funded by a grant from the national Fibershed organization, the Farm to Fashion Show was Montana’s premiere educational fiber event, showcasing the farmer and artist collaboration in the state, as well as cultivating discussions on soil health, economics, and emerging fiber markets. Helen continues to create fiber art in her studio which overlooks the Madison Range of the Rocky Mountains.

Wendy Bauwens with one of her Fjord horses  Chris Siegel, ready to help in a clown suit

November 1:   Raising Fjord horses and healing!
Wendy Bauwens, Sunnyside Farms founder/breeds Fjord horses
Chris Siegel, Therapist who works with Sunnyside Farms 

About the speakers:

Wendy Bauwens was born and raised in the Treasure Valley of southern Idaho. As a child, she appreciated the great outdoors and the gift of a good horse. Her parents were both educators and her father spent his summers working at the local race horse track where Wendy was often found by his side. Wendy and her mother met their first Norwegian Fjord horses at the Small Farmer’s Journal sale in 1990. Shortly thereafter, they purchased their first pair of Fjords.

Wendy attended college at the University of California of Santa Cruz where she studied Molecular Biology. Following college, her adventurous nature led her to Alaska where she eventually designed and built an equestrian facility for people with special needs. From one year to the next, Wendy would travel to the “States” to adopt the next Fjord and haul it up to Alaska to enrich the lives of those in rural Alaskan communities. Wendy moved to Montana in 1999 and continued her work with Fjords in various locations until finally landing in Clyde Park in 2003, where she has been improving and renovating a small farm ever since. Currently Wendy owns and operates Sunnyside Farms, a warm, inviting, child-friendly farm where the animals are gentle and the people are kind. Wendy teaches riding, driving, and horsemanship lessons; hosts Fjord Horse-related summer camps; trains both riding and driving Fjords; and most importantly, breeds Norwegian Fjord Horses. Nonprofit status was approved in 2017.

Chris Siegle is a retired Educational Speech/Language Pathologist and Teacher of Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHH) students. In her thirty years’ experience with Minneapolis Public Schools, she wore many hats, including: Educational Speech/Language Pathologist (Pre-K-6th grade) in the DHH Program; District Program Facilitator (DPF) for the City Wide DHH Program (Pre-K-age 21); ending her career by returning to the Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) classroom (age 3-5) and home-based/family-based services (birth to age 3), expanding her area of service to include DeafBlind students and their families. To have been part of an educational team consisting of Teacher; Physical Therapist; Occupational Therapist; Adapted Physical Education Director; Social Worker and Speech/Language Pathologist was the most energizing way to end a wonderful career. 

Growing up in the Anaconda, Montana area, Chris moved to Minneapolis in May 1979. She moved back to Montana in November 2016. In her retirement, she works with the Montana School for the Deaf and Blind (MSDB). and through a wonderful young student, Chris connected with Sunnyside Farms, Inc. and is excited to start another era of helping people in a magical way.

Connie Malcolm with her horses  Martin Davis with his horse
November 15: Raising cattle!
Connie Malcolm, lifelong cattle rancher, Tom Miner Basin
Martin Davis, lifelong cattle rancher, Paradise Valley

About the speakers:

Connie Malcolm was raised on the ranch of her parents, Ellery and Eril Merrell in Tom Miner Basin.   She attended primary grades at the Tom Miner rural one room school.  After graduating from Gardiner High School, she attended Montana State University for three years. The call of the ranch life, the land, the domestic animals and the wildlife beckoned her back to the life she loved. Marrying Bruce Malcolm brought her to the Mile High Ranch on Mill Creek. Together they ranched at Mill Creek, Tom Miner Basin and Big Creek. Connie continues enjoying ranch life and the interaction with all animals to this day.

Martin Davis is a fourth-generation rancher. His family moved from a family ranch in northeastern Colorado to purchase a ranch in Paradise Valley in 1964. He attended Rosedale School thru eighth grade and graduated from Park High. Martin began working on the ranch at a very young age: feeding cattle and horses, moving cattle by horseback, running equipment, and irrigating. Ranching runs in his blood as well as in his two children and his grandchildren. The family has raised Herefords, Gelbvieh, and now Red Angus cattle.  A cow/calf operation is a full time, sunup till sundown operation 365 days a year. Every season there is something to do outside in negative temps and hot days in the summer.

Martin and his brother started the Flying Diamond Guide Service in 1976, guiding clients on elk hunts and summer horseback rides and pack trips. He educates people on the hardships of the rancher, ups and downs of the cattle market, and for the past 20 years talking about the effect the wolves and other wildlife have taken on his operation. Martin helps people understand the rancher’s side of controversial issues with wildlife and range issues, has been interviewed for documentaries on the wolves in the park as well as speaking at conventions and talking to college students and professors. Some educators have told him that they have changed their curriculum to show both sides. Martin loves ranching and being a steward of the land.

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