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ORI & Snowy Owls featured in Smithsonian Magazine!

Smithsonian Magazine Melissa Groo

IT'S HERE! IT'S OUT! IT'S SO EXCITING FOR US! Click on the photo to read the article which appeared in the October issue.

The October issue of Smithsonian Magazine features the work of Denver Holt and the Owl Research Institute (ORI) with Snowy Owls and is beautifully documented through the photojournalism of Melissa Groo.

The story, written by Leigh Calvez, focuses on the owls of Utquiagvik, Alaska where Holt has studied Snowy Owls for 27 years and documented a population in alarming decline. His 100-squared mile study site, high above the arctic Circle, is the only place in the US they breed with regularity.

ORI's work has revealed much of what is known about Snowy Owls today and now works to understand why these arctic breeders - and their primary food source, the Brown Lemming - are experiencing such dramatic population decline. Our climate change analysis is one such project currently underway and funded through a generous grant by the Charlotte Y. Martin Foundation. Continued research is the key: we simply cannot help what we don't understand.

Wildlife photographer Melissa Groo was the driving force behind the story and accompanied Holt on the Arctic tundra during the 2018 breeding season. She captured incredible images of Snowy Owls and documented the field-research of a man who has devoted much of his life and career to these magnificent owls. Melissa is a talented and passionate wildlife conservationist, photographer, and writer.

Click on the photo to read the article. The first five pages show the article as it appeared in Smithsonian, but are a little hard to read. The article is is a word doc on the last page for easier readability.

Follow Melissa Groo on Facebook at or Instagram at @melissagroo. Or visit her website at

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