We bring you this issue of The Sentinel with two intentions: to express our gratitude for your support and to provide you with an escape to the prairie through the images and words in these pages.
2020 has been an unprecedented year. It has been confusing, uncomfortable, and necessary. But challenges force change. And through discomfort comes growth. Nature is resilient. As individuals and as a species, we are resilient. We will grow together. When we do, our wanderlust will be stronger than ever. Our appreciation for nature and commitment to endangered ecosystems, I hope, will be deeper too.
My personal mantra over the past two months has been to look for silver linings. One of the most significant for me has been the gift of time to connect and reconnect with those I love most. My first and second grade sons are certainly benefiting from my presence, as I am from theirs, and the increased virtual presence of friends, family, and colleagues in my life has been not only a silver lining but a blessing.
This issue highlights the commitment to place that comes from pursuing one’s wanderlust, and it puts a spotlight on the ways in which relationships between people are strengthened by exploring nature together. In this time of slowing down and focusing on the relationships that are important in our lives, it brings me great pleasure to highlight people whose passion for this mission propel it forward and with whom my own relationships have grown through the pursuit of wanderlust.
I’ve spent countless days on the Reserve with both Gib Myers and Dennis Lingohr. I’ve accompanied Gib many times in his relentless search for the perfect shot of our bison. Dennis has introduced me to the complexities of the prairie with his quintessential humor and gift for storytelling. I recall one early morning outing when Dennis got out of the truck to perform a memorable impression of a dancing sharp-tailed grouse, likening it to a toddler in a shopping mall who has been denied his favorite toy. If you know grouse, you can picture it. The memory makes me smile to this day.
I’m grateful for the adventures I’ve had on the prairie. I’m grateful for the people who have opened my eyes even wider to its beauty. I’m grateful for Gib, Dennis, Christina, Mike, Trevor, Betty, Katy, Lars, Ellen, and so many others for the roles they all play in advancing this mission.
In addition to sparking your passion for adventure, I hope these stories and images help you better understand American Prairie by understanding its beating heart – the people who make this place and mission what it is. May we explore together again soon.