Our Shared Values
President’s Message from Sean Gerrity
Like you, American Prairie Reserve believes that a set of core values is important. In fact, we have six organizational values that our Board and staff aspire to embody every day. You can read about them in the About section of our website. One of these, Innovation and Optimism, has been front and center the last few months.
Lewis and Clark Inspire Explorer’s Club Expedition
A group of eleven members of the Explorer’s Club traveled down the Missouri River through the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument for four days and three nights, followed by a three day visit to Grouse Camp to learn first hand about the Reserve. Alan Nichols, President of the Explorer’s Club, was on the trip as was Robert Maroni, the club treasurer.
The trip was an official Flag Expedition, a great honor. Of the club’s 202 flags, only 63 remain in existence circulating around the globe. Retired flags have traveled to the moon and with ocean explorer James Cameron into the Mariana Trench. A special committee approves requests for trips to be sanctioned as “Flag Expeditions” based on their scientific exploration merit. The focus of this trip was to catalog as many of the plants from the Lewis and Clark journals as possible. Learn more about the Club and Flag Expeditions on their website, www.explorers.org.
Black-footed Ferrets: By The Numbers
In October, the nearby Fort Belknap Reservation became home to black-footed ferrets as part of an effort to restore the endangered species. Many thanks to the biologists, officials, tribes and partners, including World Wildlife Fund, Defenders of Wildlife, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, for their continued efforts to reestablish this crucial prairie creature across the region.
1,000 – Acres of the prairie dog town where ferrets were released.
32 – Black-footed ferrets reintroduced on the Fort Belknap Reservation.
90 – Percent of black-footed ferret diet comprised of prairie dogs.
96 – Percent of prairie dog habitat that’s been lost since European settlement.
500 – Black-footed ferrets estimated to now live in the wild.
America’s First Wildlife-Friendly Beef Program
When you ask Managing Director Pete Geddes about the decision to start a wildlife-friendly beef program, it boils down to two things. “People love great tasting beef,” he starts. “And with that, we can build a constituency for conservation.”
Wild Sky Beef officially launched this fall as a separate business owned by American Prairie Reserve. The program, directed by Montana rancher Derek Kampfe, operates on both ends of the food supply chain. First, using established sources for natural grass fed Angus beef, Wild Sky sells high quality meat to grocery stores and chefs across the country.
Back in Montana, Wild Sky uses the profits to fund efforts to build the Reserve and to provide an economic incentive for nearby ranchers to implement wildlife-friendly practices.
Engaging Children, Acres at a Time
Donor John Seel connects family members to the prairie ecosystem by ‘adopting’ acres of American Prairie Reserve in their name.
A resident of China, John Seel has worked in Asia for almost 20 years and witnessed the region’s rapid economic growth – as well as the negative impact it has had on the environment. As a result, he has been eager to teach his two children about the importance of protecting the planet.
After reading about APR two years ago, he was impressed by the project’s ambition to restore a significant portion of the American prairie and wanted to interest his children in the project. Since then, he has made annual contributions to APR at the Prairie Explorer level in the name of his children and their three cousins.
These contributions mean that each of the five children has ‘adopted’ an acre of the Reserve through the Adopt -a-Prairie-Acre Program and received certificates of adoption to celebrate their involvement. All of the children have been intrigued by the project and happy to be involved in it. John looks forward to continuing to support the Reserve and plans to visit someday.
A Moment in Time
Gib Myers, Vice Chair of American Prairie Reserve’s Board of Directors, visited the Reserve this fall and captured a truly “Big Sky” photo from the air. Along the river bottom and up and over the cliffs of the Missouri Breaks, this image showcases an inspiring and nearly seamless landscape.
Measuring Success: A New Approach to Science
On a cool September morning, Reserve Supervisors Damien Austin and James Barnett start their day like they have done a hundred times before – venturing out across the prairie, alternating between looking down and up as folks often do in rattlesnake (and prairie dog burrow) country.
Today, however, they are joined by a gathering of enthusiastic scientists with specialties ranging from wildlife and bison to fire and streams. Each member of the group quietly saunters through the sagebrush with a unique eye for the ecosystem below, above, and in front of them.
As the group comes together at the edge of a coulee, a clipboard appears and, one-by-one, the participants share what they have observed. Today is an exercise in speaking a common language – science.
What does history have to do with it? Your Questions Answered
Q: The Reserve wants to restore wildlife populations to numbers that haven’t been seen in a hundred years or more. How do you know what was there?
The End of (Good) Darkness?
What We’re Reading
Released this summer, Paul Bogard’s The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light is an exploration of the environmental, emotional and cultural impacts of the night sky. From the light pollution of Las Vegas and the life of night-shift workers to the dark night of the desert, Bogard travels around the world to uncover what it is about darkness that is both intriguing and necessary in the world today. You’ll find yourself craving the solitude of the Milky Way and questioning what we can do to conserve this rare natural resource above us.