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For the week of May 9 through May 15, 2001

Work with view featured on ĎOutdoor Idahoí

Express Staff Writer

Two Wood River Valley businesswomen are featured on Idaho Public Televisionís Outdoor Idaho this month.

Poo Wright-Pulliam of Tour du Jour and Susanne Connor of Sun Valley Soaring are two of six people on the 30-minute show scheduled to air May 17 at 7 p.m. on Channel 10. The show will be repeated May 20 at 8 p.m.

The focus of this episode of Outdoor Idaho is on people who "work where a view is part of the job" and, thus, the episodeís name, "A Job with a View."

Now in its fifth season, Wright-Pulliamís Tour du Jour specializes in guided trips to view the regionís birds and wildflowers.

She said she is the only licensed bird watching guide in Idaho. Her license from the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Licensing Board is required because she guides people on public lands.

Although Wright-Pulliam takes most of her tour groups to Idaho Fish and Gameís Centennial Marsh and Carey Lake wildlife management areas and The Nature Conservancyís Silver Creek Preserve, she also explores the Picabo Desert, south of Timmerman Hill and east of Highway 75.

"There is so much to the south that people donít know about," she said. "Not that far off the highway beyond the sagebrush are all these marshes no one knows about. And in them are all kinds of birds."

As a tour guide, she is self-taught in her knowledge of the regionís flora and fauna. Her focus, however, is on bird life. She credits her enthusiasm for bird watching to Patty Provonsha.

Wright-Pulliam said that years ago she used to call Provonsha any time she had a bird she wanted to identify.

One day Provonsha gave her a book on birds and challenged Wright-Pulliam to learn to identify 100 different species.

She did it in three and a half months, after which Provonsha threw her a party.

As for her guide business, she gives her husband Dan credit for coming up with the idea of starting it up.

Wright-Pulliam said that often when the two of them were driving, "I was always screaming, ĎStop, I want to see something.í " So her husband suggested putting this energy into a business.

With Tour du Jour, Wright-Pulliam can now show groups of people the many birding hot spots and wildflower sites she has discovered. The business allows her "to pass on the passion that drives me," she said.

Wright-Pulliam also is a wildlife artist and recently placed in the top 40 in a Wyoming conservation stamp contest.

Connorís Sun Valley Soaring business will be 20 years old this July. Connor herself has been soaring since 1978.

"I learned to fly gliders when I first moved here," she said. "And I started the business because I wanted my son close to me while he was growing up.

"He started riding in the tow plane at 2Ĺ. By age 8, he was burned out on flying after putting in thousands of hours of flight time in the tow plane."

Besides taking people up for glider rides, Connor also works as a fly fishing guide for Lost River Outfitters. In winter she coaches the development squad (7- to 12-year-olds) in the Sun Valley Ski Club.

Asked what she is going to do with all her fame from the show, she quickly responded, "Glory is short-lived."

In addition to Wright-Pulliam and Connor, the show will have segments on a river ranger, a condor biologist and two shepherds.

Barry Miller is the Selway River ranger who patrols the river through the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. He has done it for 18 of the past 20 years. "Iíve pretty much built my life around this particular river," he said.

Randy Townsend is a condor biologist who works at the Peregrine Fundís Center for Birds of Prey, west of Boise. The group hopes to re-establish the condor in the wild, something that would put Townsend out of work.

"Basically," he said, "itís one of those jobs where if youíre successful, youíre fired."

Ramiro Ayllon and Francisco de la Cruz are Peruvian shepherds, who herd sheep in the mountains between McCall and the Snake River Birds of Prey Area.

"Since I was a child, my parents have raised livestock, so I was raised in this, and I always liked it," Ayllon said.


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