Pioneering Conservationist | Executive Director, Earthfire Institute
Known as a pioneering conservationist, spiritual ecologist, and practical visionary, Susan B. Eirich, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist, biologist, educator, writer, and speaker. Twenty years ago she founded the Earthfire Institute, a unique wildlife sanctuary and retreat center located on forty acres just west of Grand Teton National Park. Earthfire was named after a passionate earth-mother wolf with a fire in her belly to protect anything vulnerable.
Ever since she can remember, Susan had an instinctive understanding of the value of all living beings and how important it is to treat them with respect, for our sake as well as theirs. She founded Earthfire Institute with a mission to change how we humans see and therefore treat wildlife and nature, by helping us make an emotional, heart-opening connection with the rescued wild animals of Earthfire. Connecting deeply with individual animals serves as a portal into the wonder and magic of all living beings.
Living with bears and wolves, cougars and coyotes, badgers and buffalo over their lifetimes, Susan has seen astounding events which have opened windows into the nature of Life. It is these stories she wants to share, deepening our understanding of wild animals. Forging a richer relationship between these wonderful creatures and humans, taking them into true consideration, will help us make conservation and policy decisions that bring the world back into balance.
Susan has taught at universities around the world; worked as a psychologist in maximum security prisons; developed a university counseling center; directed a Nature Conservancy Preserve; and spent time with peoples in remote corners of Nepal, the Northwest Territories, and the Amazon rainforest, always seeking to see through other’s eyes. Then she founded Earthfire as a way to explore seeing through non-human eyes. She knew that loving wild animals deeply shifts our perceptions and helps us feel the power and companionship of a more-than-human-centered perspective.
Twenty years later Earthfire, started as a journey towards connecting with an ever-expanding circle of Life, has become a powerful global “seed center” of ideas and fresh perspectives on our relationship to nature. Earthfire reframes the discussion of conservation by including the voices of living beings usually outside our perceived community, stimulating actions to help preserve them, and ourselves. Susan works closely with her staff to maintain a professional organization that contributes to a new world view and story, through global outreach and educational programs. She continues to oversee animal welfare at the Institute as she travels and speaks around the world, finding time to personally research the latest developments in holistic medical care for her beloved animals. Susan is currently working on a book of these stories.