After growing up in the crowded suburbs of Washington, DC, I took my degree in Political Science and Economics from the University of Maryland at College Park and headed west to the Colorado mountains. Forgetting all about politics for the next several years, I soon discovered peace and contentment in the high lonesome country of the Colorado front range. After this brief respite, I could no longer ignore the impacts of “multiple use” on the landscapes that I now called home. Thus began my lifelong journey as a defender of wild places and the wildlife that depend on them.
In 2002, I traveled to Montana and joined the Buffalo Field Campaign in the front line defense of the last wild buffalo herds in the United States. The skills I gained in my previous life quickly became relevant again as I recognized the need for direct representation of the Campaign’s goals in Washington, DC rather than relying on the larger national groups and their varying agendas. As the Campaign’s Public Policy Coordinator, I developed legislation that was introduced in Congress to protect the buffalo and was asked to give testimony before a House Subcommittee.
One thing that became abundantly clear in working to protect the buffalo was the roadblock created by the presence of livestock on public land. As I began to dig deeper into this problem and traveled extensively throughout the west to hike and backpack, I was awed and disgusted by the extent of destruction that cows and sheep on public land have left in their wake and by the inordinate power held by an elite minority of privileged ranchers on the public dole.
Working with WWP was a natural next step for me as I continue to advocate for wild buffalo, wild places and the innumerable other species (including us) impacted by public lands ranching.