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Mountain & Prairie Podcast

Updated about 7 hours ago

Society & Culture
Philosophy
Places & Travel
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Interviews with innovators of the American West. Guests include writers, ranchers, athletes, artists, adventurers, conservationists, entrepreneurs—anyone who’s doing inspired work that contributes to the region’s evolving and complex cultural fabric. Through informal yet substantive conversations, conservationist Ed Roberson introduces you to these fascinating characters, giving you a better understanding of their careers, influences, and outlooks, as well as a deeper appreciation for life in the American West.

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Interviews with innovators of the American West. Guests include writers, ranchers, athletes, artists, adventurers, conservationists, entrepreneurs—anyone who’s doing inspired work that contributes to the region’s evolving and complex cultural fabric. Through informal yet substantive conversations, conservationist Ed Roberson introduces you to these fascinating characters, giving you a better understanding of their careers, influences, and outlooks, as well as a deeper appreciation for life in the American West.

iTunes Ratings

454 Ratings
Average Ratings
443
6
3
2
0

5 Stars

By C_Rawson - Jan 24 2020
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I’ve been listening for years, and am finally leaving a (much deserved) 5 star review. One of my favorite podcasts with a wide variety of western figures highlighted through thoughtful interviews.

Best Podcast in the West!

By KaileVee - Jan 06 2020
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Ed interviews some notable characters of the west. He is a voracious reader and conservationist. Always enjoyable and varied- this is one of my favorite podcasts to return to time and time again! 🏔

iTunes Ratings

454 Ratings
Average Ratings
443
6
3
2
0

5 Stars

By C_Rawson - Jan 24 2020
Read more
I’ve been listening for years, and am finally leaving a (much deserved) 5 star review. One of my favorite podcasts with a wide variety of western figures highlighted through thoughtful interviews.

Best Podcast in the West!

By KaileVee - Jan 06 2020
Read more
Ed interviews some notable characters of the west. He is a voracious reader and conservationist. Always enjoyable and varied- this is one of my favorite podcasts to return to time and time again! 🏔
Cover image of Mountain & Prairie Podcast

Mountain & Prairie Podcast

Latest release on Jan 14, 2020

Read more

Interviews with innovators of the American West. Guests include writers, ranchers, athletes, artists, adventurers, conservationists, entrepreneurs—anyone who’s doing inspired work that contributes to the region’s evolving and complex cultural fabric. Through informal yet substantive conversations, conservationist Ed Roberson introduces you to these fascinating characters, giving you a better understanding of their careers, influences, and outlooks, as well as a deeper appreciation for life in the American West.

Rank #1: Jillian Lukiwski - Art and Adventure in the American West

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Jillian Lukiwski is a writer, photographer, and silversmith who lives near the banks of the Snake River in south central Idaho. Her quiet confidence and deliberate approach to living have allowed Jillian to blaze her own trail, creating a rewarding career and an authentic life centered around Idaho's unique landscape. When not working, Jillian and her husband enjoy the western lifestyle from every imaginable angle—bird hunting with their german shorthair pointers, big game hunting, fishing, running, horseback riding, mountain biking, caring for their farm animals, and cultivating their land, to name a few.

Big western landscapes have always been an important part of Jillian’s life—her father worked for Canada’s National Park Service, so she was raised with a deep appreciation for the outdoors and adventure. From an early age, she was riding—and falling off of—horses, shadowing her father in the backcountry, and building a personal foundation of self-sufficiency and toughness. As a young woman, she applied that ingrained tenacity to writing, photography, and creating jewelry, and has since built a loyal following of admirers and customers around the world through her website, The Noisy Plume.

We had a fun conversation and managed to cover a wide range of interesting topic. We discussed her life path that eventually landed her in southeastern Idaho, and we chatted about the unique nature of that region. We talked about her creative process, how she’s been mostly self-taught in all of her art forms, and how she is able to manage the distractions of social media and the online world. We chatted about the importance of being uncomfortable, and how self-imposed physical and mental challenges can help to inoculate yourself against the inevitable difficulties of life. Jillian is a voracious reader, so we had a great discussion about books, as well as how reading has contributed to her success as a writer. Be sure to check the episode notes for a full list of everything we discussed.

This was a fun and inspiring interview, and I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did.

http://mountainandprairie.com/jillian-lukiwski/

Topics discussed:

  • 2:50 - How Jillian describes her work
  • 3:20 - Jillian’s home in Idaho
  • 4:40 - How she ended up in southeastern Idaho
  • 7:00 - Description of Pocatello and the surrounding landscape
  • 9:10 - Growing up in Canada’s National Parks
  • 10:50 - Childhood in the outdoors
  • 13:00 - Lessons in toughness learned from her father
  • 16:40 - Jillian’s university experience
  • 18:50 - Jillian’s drive to be her own boss
  • 19:45 - Her early attraction to jewelry
  • 21:00 - First silversmithing class
  • 22:50 - Being a self-taught artist
  • 24:25 - Her quest for original ideas
  • 26:20 - Avoiding social media distraction
  • 28:20 - Daily routines and must-do activities
  • 31:10 - Running
  • 35:20 - Hunting and her relationship with her bird dogs
  • 40:00 - The reality of posting hunting images on social media
  • 44:10 - Why Jillian seeks out discomfort
  • 48:35 - Stories of suffering and benefits of those experiences
  • 50:30 - Advice for those seeking a life similar to Jillian’s
  • 52:15 - Favorite books 56:20 - How reading has affected her writing
  • 59:45 - More books
  • 1:01:00 - Favorite movies
  • 1:03:15 - Unexpected talents
  • 1:04:30 - Most powerful experience in the outdoors
  • 1:06:45 - Favorite location in the West
  • 1:09:20 - Biggest challenge facing the West
  • 1:12:00 - Jillian’s request of the listeners
  • 1:12:59 - Connect with Jillian online

Jan 24 2018

1hr 15mins

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Rank #2: Jim Howell - Conserving and Restoring the World's Grasslands

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Jim Howell is the CEO of Grasslands LLC, which is the land management arm of the Savory Institute, an organization that Jim co-founded. Both Grasslands and Savory focus on conserving and restoring the world’s grasslands through what they call “Holistic Management.” We discuss the details of Holistic Managment in the interview, but the basic idea is that the world’s grasses evolved to be grazed, and they need to be grazed in a natural manner to be healthy and resilient. • Jim and his team use livestock to mimic natural grazing patterns from hundreds of thousands of years ago, long before the world’s grasslands were covered with people, fences, houses, and cities. Savory and Grasslands’ results speak for themselves—after just a few years of holistic managment, their ranches are measurably healthier, more productive, more biodiverse, and more financially successful. • Even if you have absolutely no interest in grazing or ranches, you still need to listen to this interview, because the work Jim and his team are doing has a positive effect on land, people, plants, animals, and communities all around the world. Anyone who considers themselves to be conservation-minded and loves the outdoors needs to understand Jim’s work. I have no doubt that you’ll gain a new appreciation for the role that livestock needs to play in conserving grasslands around the world. Even if you’re a vegan living in New York City, you’ll gain some valuable insights from Jim’s point of view. • Jim is also an experienced world traveler, an avid reader, and an author, having written one of the best books I’ve read on land and conservation in the West and beyond: For the Love of Land: Global Case Studies of Grazing in Nature’s Image. And on top of all of that, he finds the time to run ultra-marathons and has completed some of the most challenging 50-mile trail races in Colorado. • Between Jim’s professional and personal interests, we had a lot to discuss. It was a fun conversation filled with valuable information, so I hope you enjoy. • http://mountainandprairie.com/jim-howell/ --- TOPICS DISCUSSED: 4:05 – How Jim describes his work 5:45 – How Grasslands’ Holistic Management differs from other ranch management practices 8:00 – Why are grasslands important? 11:00 – The natural history of grass 14:30 – Importance of grazing animals’ grazing behavior 17:30 – History of grass and animal relationships in the U.S. 18:40 – How modern commercial grazing differs from natural grazing patterns 22:00 – Comparing the health of grazed land versus National Park land where grazing is prohibited 26:15 – How grazing leads to more healthy soil and grasslands 27:50 – Common mistakes that conservationists make when evaluating grassland health 29:15 – Methods and results of measuring grassland health 31:15 – Specific methods for holistic grazing 35:30 – Length of time to truly understand a ranch’s grazing potential and needs 37:00 – Challenges related to the human component of ranching 40:30 – What are common objections to holistic grazing? 41:40 – The intellectual challenges of holistic grazing 43:50 – The economic benefits of holistic grazing with specific examples 48:20 – Jim’s unconventional path to ranching 52:20 – Jim discovers Savory’s work 55:15 – Jim’s travels and work on ranches around the world 57:40 – Lessons learned from traveling and working abroad 1:00:10 – How Jim started running ultra-marathons 1:02:50 – How humans evolved to run long distances 1:04:55 – Advice for people who want to run ultras 1:09:15 – Jim’s favorite books 1:12:50 – Favorite documentary 1:13:45 – Jim’s favorite place in the West 1:14:55 – Jim’s request of the listeners 1:17:30 – Grasslands and Savory contact information

May 27 2016

1hr 19mins

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Rank #3: Ben Masters - Conservation Through Innovative Filmmaking

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Ben Masters is a filmmaker and conservationist whose work explores some of the most important conservation challenges facing the American West today. He was the mastermind behind the award-winning documentary "Unbranded," which tells the story of Ben and his three buddies who ride wild mustangs from Mexico to Canada as part of an epic five month-adventure. The film also examines the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse Program, a well-intentioned, but now controversial, government program created to protect the wild horses that roam the western U.S. For those who love the American West, "Unbranded" is one of the best documentaries in recent memory—it combines hardcore adventure with important conservation issues, all while accurately capturing the true beauty of the American West. • Conservation is the common theme running through all of Ben’s work, and his passion is fortified with a deep knowledge of natural history, public lands, and policy issues related to the American West. His expertise recently earned him a spot on the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, the group tasked with solving the challenging issues surrounding the program he profiled in "Unbranded." His most recent film, "Pronghorn Revival," is the story of Texas wildlife biologists capturing and relocating a struggling herd of pronghorns (i.e. antelopes). Not one to rest on his laurels, Ben is working hard on more conservation projects to be revealed in the coming months. • When we recorded this episode, Ben was less than a day away from leaving on a multi-week guiding trip to the area around Yellowstone National Park, so I really appreciated him making the time to chat. In just under an hour, we managed to cover a wide range of conservation-related topics: the BLM’s Wild Horse Program, invasive species in the American West, thoughts on hunting, as well as Ben’s personal background, favorite books, favorite documentaries, and a crazy horse stampede story... with plenty of other intesting subjects thrown in. • If you haven’t already, be sure to check out "Unbranded." You’ll love it. In the meantime, enjoy my conversation with Ben Masters. ••• http://mountainandprairie.com/ben-masters/ ••• TOPICS DISCUSSED: 3:05 - How Ben describes his work 3:35 - Ben’s upcoming adventures 5:40 - Overview of Unbranded documentary 7:45 - Genesis for the idea for Unbranded 9:45 - Overview of the BLM Wild Horse Program 10:15 - Natural history of horses in North America 14:20 - Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act 17:16 - Ben’s thoughts solving the wild horse challenge 21:10 - Political challenges surrounding wild horses 23:45 - More North American natural history 24:55 - What “conservation” means to Ben 26:00 - Ben’s personal connection to conservation 27:40 - Resources for understanding the history of conservation 29:00 - Conservation challenges facing the West in the next 20 years 32:10 - Ben’s thoughts on hunting and conservation 33:45 - Cautionary tale of Texas Screwworms 36:30 - Overview of Pronghorn Revival 38:35 - Favorite books 40:20 - Favorite documentary 41:30 - Ben’s work with veterans 42:23 - Hobbies that Ben enjoys 43:48 - How Ben learned the art of filmmaking 45:00 - Craziest outdoor experience 47:50 - Ben’s favorite place in the West 48:40 - Ben’s request of the listeners 51:30 - Connect with Ben online

Aug 27 2016

53mins

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Rank #4: Tyler Sharp - The Sportsman Storyteller

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Tyler Sharp is an adventurer, sportsman, conservationist, and world traveler with a gift for telling stories through images and words. While he may be best known for his photography focusing on Americana and Western lifestyle, travel, and adventure, Tyler has built a substantial resume that includes filmmaking, directing, writing, and creative strategy. His work has taken him to some of the most spectacular and far-flung regions of the globe, with an emphasis on East Africa, Montana, and his home state of Texas. • As a devoted hunter and fisherman, Tyler has chased game in some of the world’s wildest regions, giving him a global perspective on the importance of natural resources, game management, and sustainable hunting practices. As you’ll hear in our conversation, Tyler has thought deeply about the practical and ethical implications of hunting and fishing both abroad and here in the American West. His sincere devotion to conservation and adventure shines through in his work and has made him the go-to photographer for iconic brands such as Filson, Cabelas, and Stetson, to name a few. • Tyler and I met up in Estes Park, Colorado, just outside of Rocky Mountain National Park, for a fun conversation that could have gone on for hours. We discussed his beginnings as a professional photographer, which began in earnest when he moved to East Africa just out of college—he’s got some intense stories from his travels that include run-ins with lions and leopards. We covered his thoughts on conservation, and how his time traveling abroad has given him a clearer understanding of conservation issues facing the American West. Then the conversation took an unexpected but interesting turn when we chatted about his commitment to Kung Fu (yes, Kung Fu!), meditation, and eastern philosophy. • Be sure to check out the episode notes for the full list of topics covered, because we touch on a lot. This is a wide-ranging conversation that takes many surprising twists and turns. Hope you enjoy! ••• http://mountainandprairie.com/tyler-sharp/ ••• TOPICS DISCUSSED: 2:40 - How Tyler describes his work 3:40 - Tyler’s niche in the creative world 4:25 - Tyler’s background 5:35 - Heading to Los Angeles from Texas for college 7:00 - Post college adventures in Africa 8:10 - The shock of moving to Tanzania from LA 10:30 - Learning how to “grease the wheels” in Africa 11:25 - How time in Africa changed Tyler 13:20 - Threat of people versus wildlife 14:10 - Craziest experience in Africa (spoiler alert - it involves a lion!) 20:40 - Showdown with a leopard 22:20 - Transition from Africa to American West 24:15 - His choice to focus in on his passion 26:30 - Specific actions that have allowed Tyler to separate himself from the competition 31:10 - Tyler’s personal brand 32:00 - Tyler’s conservation ethic 35:00 - Discussion about conservation and hunting 39:00 - Hunters and others coming together to save public lands 40:00 - Details on The Modern Huntsman 41:55 - Blowback from posting hunting photos online 44:35 - Importance of having conversations versus fighting 46:30 - Tyler’s definition of “conservation” 50:00 - Kung Fu and other martial arts 52:50 - Physical and mental benefits of Kung Fu 56:00 - Favorite books 1:00:50 - Advice to take better landscape photos 1:03:50 - Favorite place in the West 1:05:30 - Tyler’s request of the listeners 1:09:50 - Connect with Tyler online

Feb 07 2017

1hr 12mins

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Rank #5: Robert Krapfel - On Living A Purpose-Driven Life

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Robert Krapfel is a US Forest Service smokejumper—a member of the elite team of wildland firefighters who parachute into remote, burning landscapes to control some of our country’s most intense forest fires. Prior to joining the smokejumpers, Robert was a fish biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, where he worked on restoring several species of fish in the lower Colorado River system. You may also know Robert as the husband of my previous guest Jillian Lukiwski, and if so, you’ve likely admired stunning photographs of them fishing, hunting, and exploring far-flung corners of the American West.

Growing up in Northern California, Robert was always focused on pushing himself hard in the outdoors, learning new skills, and establishing a sense of self-sufficiency in wild places. As a teenager, he taught himself to fish and hunt, and early in his career, he learned how to operate heavy machinery while rebuilding a remote government satellite station in the Arizona desert. Robert’s intense curiosity and action-oriented mindset have allowed him to build a life centered around adventure and rugged landscapes, while simultaneously being of service to our country and stewarding the forests of the West.

Because Robert has almost no social media presence, not many people outside his immediate circle of friends and family truly grasp what a unique life he leads, nor do they understand the vital role he played in the creation of Jillian’s blog and jewelry business, the Noisy Plume. Robert and Jillian are true partners in every sense of the word, and their approach to business, adventure, and living an authentic, purpose-driven life can be instructive for couples and individuals alike. They pursue their goals as a team and have sacrificed much along the way to turn their dreams into realities.

Robert is a perfect guest for this podcast, because his career and interests touch on almost everything that fascinates me—the West, adventure, service, creativity, hunting, fishing, travel, conservation, ecology, and plenty more. We obviously cover a lot in this episode, including the ins and outs of his becoming a smokejumper and his scariest experience while fighting fires. We discuss his work as a fish biologist, and how he and Jillian spent a year living in the Arizona desert in a rat-infested trailer. Robert also has a unique educational background, which we discuss in detail. And of course we talk about the creation of the Noisy Plume, and how Jillian’s and his vision for the project has evolved over time. And for a podcast that is always heavy on book recommendations, this episode is particularly full of good titles.

This is a great episode, so I know you’ll enjoy it. As I mentioned, Robert isn’t on social media, but you can catch glimpses of him every now and then on Jillian’s Instagram account, so be sure to follow her at @thenoisyplume. Enjoy!

Visit the webpage at http://mountainandprairie.com/robert-krapfel/ for a full list of topics discussed.

Feb 06 2018

1hr 22mins

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Rank #6: Dan Flores - Chronicling the West’s Rich Natural History

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Dan Flores is a writer, historian, and former professor whose work explores the connections between people and the natural world in the American West. His most recent books—Coyote America and American Serengeti—are two of the most enlightening and informative books on the West’s natural history that I have ever read. The former is a biography of the coyote, a surprisingly fascinating animal with a rich and severely misunderstood history. The latter explores the last big mammals of the great plains—pronghorn, coyotes, horses, grizzlies, bison, and wolves—and also gives a great overview of North American big history. • It’s clear that Dan was a wonderful professor, because as you’ll hear in this episode, he has a real knack for explaining complicated subjects in a way that’s understandable, engaging, and exciting. This conversation gave me a glimpse into what it must have been like to be a student in Dan’s class at the University of Montana—I walked away from it full of new knowledge, and it whet my appetite to dig deeper into the many subjects we covered. • I could’ve asked Dan questions for hours and hours, but in our relatively short time together we managed to cover a lot. We start by discussing the coyote—how and why the animal has been so misunderstood, its similarities to humans, how it has managed to thrive despite efforts to totally eradicate the species, and the varying pronunciations of the word coyote. Then we discuss horses—the misconception that they are a non-native species in North America, their evolutionary history around the world, and some modern-day challenges facing the West's few remaining wild horses. We also talk about Dan’s childhood in Louisiana, his current home in New Mexico, his favorite books on the American West, and much, much more. • This is an excellent episode and I’m excited for you to listen. If you haven’t already, buy Coyote America and American Serengeti—I can promise you’ll love them both. ••• http://mountainandprairie.com/dan-flores/ ••• TOPICS DISCUSSED: 3:00 - How Dan describes his work 4:10 - History of the pronunciation of “Coyote” 7:30 - Coyote’s historical reputation 11:00 - Coyote’s historical status in Native American lore 12:30 - Mark Twain’s influence on the coyotes’ image 14:05 - Coyotes as humans’ avatars 16:15 - Fission and fusion in coyotes 18:00 - Coyotes' ability to control their reproduction 22:20 - Dan’s thoughts on the current attempted Federal Land grab 28:45 - Misconception that horses are non-native 34:30 - Current issues with horses in the United States 37:55 - Dan’s thoughts on the BLM Wild Mustang Program 40:15 - Dan’s early years in Louisiana 43:00 - First trip to Carlsbad Caverns 45:20 - Dan’s passionate love of desert 48:55 - Living in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley 51:00 - Changes in Montana during Dan’s time there 55:00 - "In Defense of the Ranchette” article 1:01:45 - Favorite books about the American West 1:08:00 - Most powerful experience outdoors 1:09:20 - Favorite place in the West 1:11:30 - Dan’s request of the listeners 1:15:45 - Connect with Dan

Sep 01 2017

1hr 18mins

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Rank #7: Connor Coleman - How to Build a Meaningful Life in the West

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Connor Coleman is the founder of Resiliency Lands, a progressive, conservation-minded land management and advisory group committed to promoting ecological and resource resiliency. Prior to starting Resiliency Lands, he held a variety of positions closely connected to the land, jobs that would be on the wish-list of anyone who loves adventure and the American West—wildland firefighter, cowboy, bison manager, and conservationist, just to name a few. Connor is currently based in Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley, and he resides on a spectacular ranch just outside of Carbondale. • You may be surprised to learn that Connor was not born and raised in the West or on ranches. On the contrary, he grew up in Ohio, went to college in North Carolina, and after paying his dues in east coast conservation and earning two master’s degrees from Duke, he headed West to focus his energy on western landscapes. Thanks to an insatiable curiosity, a rock-solid work ethic, a service mindset, and a willingness to insert himself into new and uncomfortable situations, Connor has carved out a professional niche for himself in Colorado doing rewarding, exciting, and important work. • Connor’s education and unconventional career path can serve as a great blueprint for anyone who loves the American West and wants a life centered around land, conservation, and natural resources. When I was in my early twenties, I would’ve loved to meet a guy like Connor who could point me in the right direction. So in this episode, we talk in depth about his career and his ability to “put himself out there” to create exciting professional opportunities. We dig deep into his thoughts on conservation in the West, as well as issues related to forest fires throughout the country. Connor loves to read and learn, so he also has tons of great book and film recommendations. • We cover a ridiculous amount of information, so be sure to check out the episode notes for the full list of topics we discuss. Enjoy! ••• http://mountainandprairie.com/connor-coleman/ ••• TOPICS DISCUSSED 2:32 - How Connor describes his work 3:55 - Importance of conserving working ranches 7:55 - Grazing as an important part of conservation 13:40 - Examples of some of Resiliency Land’s projects 16:35 - Where did Connor grow up? 18:50 - Connor’s decision to make conservation a career 22:45 - Brief history of NC barbecue 25:00 - Early career in conservation 29:10 - Grad school at Duke 30:30 - Difference between conservation in NC versus CO 32:20 - How easterners misunderstand public lands in the west 33:30 - Time as a wildland firefighter 36:30 - Fire policy in the east versus west 40:00 - Longleaf pine book recommendations 41:15 - Adventures at Camp Lejeune 42:20 - Moving out west to work on ranches 45:40 - Challenges of adjusting to the demands of ranch work 48:30 - Working with bison on the Zapata Ranch 49:50 - Bison and bison book recommendations 55:20 - Transition to the Aspen Valley Land Trust 59:20 - Lesson learned working in conservation in different parts of country 1:01:20 - Thoughts on service and giving back to the community 1:06:15 - Favorite books about the American West 1:10:15 - Favorite films 1:12:50 - Surprising activities 1:14:35 - Craziest experience in the outdoors 1:18:45 - Favorite place in the West 1:20:20 - Biggest challenge facing the West 1:23:00 - Connor’s request of the listeners 1:25:15 - Connect with Connor online 1:25:55 - Bonus book recommendations!

Dec 22 2016

1hr 30mins

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Rank #8: Teal Blake - On Being Authentic & Original

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If you love art and the American West, chances are you’re already a fan of Teal Blake. His paintings of bucking horses, working cowboys, and the Western ranching lifestyle are some of the most authentic and creative around. Teal's art is authentically Western because he’s so authentically Western—he has worked on ranches for all of his life, has ridden rodeo on the professional level, and has been making art since before he can remember. These unique life experiences, combined with a deep-seated drive to create original and striking art, meld together to make him one of the most genuine and fresh faces in Western art today.

Teal grew up in Augusta, Montana, the son of two creative parents who allowed him to roam free—fishing, hunting, and exploring the wilderness out his backdoor. During high school, he discovered his talent for bull riding and rodeo, and he pursued that passion for years, eventually competing on the professional circuit. Throughout all of his various adventures and life stages, Teal was continuously sketching and painting, and after several impressive showings at western art shows, he decided to make a go of it as a professional artist. Since then he hasn’t looked back, and his stature in the Western art world continues to grow.

We had an in-depth conversation in which we discussed Teal’s upbringing in Montana and Idaho, and how his artistic parents influenced his life and work. We chatted about his experience at art school, which ended with him flunking out, yet being the only one from his class to actually make it as a professional artist. We discuss his background in ranching and rodeo, and his process of transitioning into life as a professional artist. We also talk about the important role that external validation can play in a solitary creative endeavor such as painting. As usual, we discuss favorite books, favorite films, and his favorite place in the American West. We cover a lot in this episode, so be sure to check out the episode notes for all the topics and links to everything we discuss. Enjoy!

http://mountainandprairie.com/teal-blake/

TOPICS DISCUSSED

  • 2:45 - How Teal describes his work
  • 3:33 - Process of becoming a professional artist
  • 5:00 - Teal’s childhood in Montana
  • 7:55 - Teal’s parents and their influence on him
  • 9:35 - Early artistic influences
  • 11:20 - Early artistic endeavors
  • 12:00 - Move to Idaho and rodeo beginnings
  • 14:55 - Decision to stop riding bulls
  • 17:40 - Teal’s experience at college art school
  • 21:30 - Transition from rodeo to full-time artist
  • 24:00 - Teal’s first art show
  • 28:00 - Teal’s daily routine and artistic phases
  • 31:05 - Ranch work and its influence on Teal’s work
  • 35:25 - Teal’s attraction to bucking animals — painting and riding them
  • 38:20 - Biggest changes in Teal’s art over the past 10 years
  • 40:33 - Challenge of creating new and original work
  • 43:00 - Thoughts on the business of professional art
  • 48:20 - Favorite books
  • 52:10 - Importance of being humbled
  • 53:10 - Raising kids in the internet age
  • 56:50 - Favorite films
  • 58:40 - Surprising hobbies
  • 1:01:00 - Great advice Teal has received
  • 1:02:15 - Favorite place in the West
  • 1:05:50 - Teal’s advice to the listeners
  • 1:07:45 - Connect with Teal online
  • 1:08:10 - Chappin’!!

Aug 11 2017

1hr 13mins

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Rank #9: Duke Phillips III - A Vision for the New West

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Duke Phillips III is the founder and CEO of Ranchlands, a Colorado-based, family-owned ranch management company. If Ranchlands sounds familiar, that’s because last week’s episode was with Duke’s son, Duke Phillips IV. You may remember that the younger Duke referenced his father’s philosophies around business and leadership several times, so I thought it would be fun to have the elder Duke on the podcast for an in-depth conversation. And in-depth it was—in a little under an hour we covered a wide range of subjects, everything from the future of ranching to world travels to poetry.

Duke has led a fascinating life, starting with his early years spent growing up on a remote cattle ranch in rural Mexico. His twenties were devoted to traveling and working around the world, including places like Europe, Central America, Australia, and the Bering Sea. Around age thirty he started his first “real job” in ranching, which eventually led to the formation of his company Ranchlands. Since its beginnings over two decades ago, Ranchlands has set a new standard what is possible when ranching, conservation, education, and business are successfully combined. And Ranchlands partnership with Colorado’s State Land Board is a case study in effective, mutually beneficial public-private partnerships.

I caught up with Duke on the phone, where he was gracious enough to take time away from one of his New Mexico operations to chat with me. We started by talking about his childhood in Mexico and the lessons he learned from growing up in such a wild and remote landscape. Then we discussed the series of travels and jobs that led to his founding Ranchlands in his mid-forties. From there, our conversation hits on a variety of subjects, including the joys of working with his kids, Duke III and Tess, the ins-and-outs of the bison ranching business, and his thoughts on the recent popularity of regenerative agriculture. There’s minimal overlap between the topics covered in this conversation and my conversation with young Duke, so be sure to check the episode notes for a full list of all the interesting information discussed.

Palmer Land Trust will be honoring Duke and his family at the 10th Annual Southern Colorado Conservation Awards on October 3rd in Colorado Springs. It’s going to be a fun and inspiring evening, so follow the link in the episode notes for more information and tickets. Hope to see you there!

•••

https://www.palmerlandtrust.org/2019-scca

Notes: https://mountainandprairie.com/duke-phillips-iii/

TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • 3:30 - Where Duke grew up
  • 6:30 - Lessons learned from growing up in Mexico
  • 8:30 - Having patience with those new to ranching
  • 9:45 - Leaving Mexico
  • 11:50 - World travels and adventures in his 20s
  • 14:30 - First “real job”
  • 15:45 - Lead-up to Chico Basin
  • 17:00 - Ranchlands explained
  • 22:00- Ranchlands’ grazing philosophy
  • 26:00 - Joys of working with Tess and Duke IV 27:30 - Keys to running a successful family business
  • 29:30 - Keeping kids humble
  • 31:20 - Importance of positivity in life and business
  • 35:00 - Importance of honesty in business
  • 37:40 - Successful partnerships with Colorado’s State Board and The Nature Conservancy
  • 41:30 - Running a bison ranch
  • 45:00 - Regenerative agriculture
  • 48:30 - Heroes and mentors
  • 52:00 - The future of ranching
  • 54:00 - Favorite books and poetry
  • 56:30 - Most powerful outdoor experience

Sep 27 2019

1hr

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Rank #10: Charles Post - Stewardship, Science & Storytelling

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Charles Post is an academically trained ecologist with a gift for communicating complex and sometimes emotionally charged issues in a thoughtful manner to diverse audiences. Whether he’s discussing the intricacies of ranch management, the ecological implications of ethical hunting, or controversies surrounding the BLM’s wild mustang program, Charles has honed his ability to consider all sides of issues, then educate the public in a style that is positive, comprehensive, and intellectually honest. His academic credentials, combined with his photography, writing, filmmaking, and popular social media channels have made Charles a rising star in the world of conservation. • Born and raised in northern California, Charles has enjoyed a deep connection with Western landscapes for as long as he can remember. He grew up hunting, fishing, and exploring the seascapes and mountain ranges of the West Coast, then earned both a Bachelors and Masters in ecology from UC Berkeley. After considering pursuing a PhD followed by a career in academia, Charles changed course and pursued a less traditional track that melded his two passions of science and storytelling. Since then, he has settled in Bozeman, Montana where he works on a wide range of projects that all tie back into conservation and stewardship in the American West. • Charles and I talked for well over an hour, and could’ve easily continued for several more. We discuss his recent work for Filson covering Ranchlands, a progressive, forward-thinking ranching operation in southern Colorado. We also chat about the ecological importance of ranching for Western landscapes and the progress that Charles has made trying to change some of the unfounded negative impressions of ranching and livestock. We talk about his recent elk hunt, and how that adventure was one of the richest, most meaningful experiences of his life. Charles speaks fondly about his relationship with Ben Masters, who helped him break into the filmmaking world. It also turns out that we have a shared love of the American Dipper (which is a bird, for those of you out of the loop), and we nerd out on that subject for a few minutes. As usual, we discuss favorite books, films, and the best advice he’s ever received. • If you’re a long-time listener, you will love this episode… and if you’re brand new, I hope you will, too! Be sure to check out Charles on Instagram at charles_post and check the episode notes for everything we discuss. Enjoy! ••• http://mountainandprairie.com/charles-post/ ••• TOPICS DISCUSSED 3:00 - Charles’s introduction to Ben Masters 5:10 - How Charles describes his work 6:30 - Why Charles identifies as an ecologist 8:50 - Science versus communicating to the mainstream 10:30 - Charles experience with Ranchlands and thoughts on ranching 17:45 - How Charles tells the ranching story 20:45 - Resources for learning more about ranching 21:55 - Discussion about wolves' effects on Yellowstone 24:35 - Where Charles grew up 25:50 - Charles’ connection to Gifford Pinchot 29:40 - Hunting from a conservation perspective 32:25 - Modern Huntsman 35:15 - Interplay between public and private land 41:40 - How science shaped his ability to be objective 43:40 - His approach to social media 49:45 - The importance of Charles’s sponsors and supporters 54:30 - Charles’s personal history with hunting 1:01:40 - Favorite books 1:08:10 - Weird habits and quirks 1:09:30 - American Dipper nerd-fest 1:12:20 - Most powerful experience in the outdoors 1:16:00 - Best advice he’s ever received 1:19:25 - Charles’s request of the listeners 1:20:50 - Connect with Charles online

Nov 21 2017

1hr 23mins

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Rank #11: Bryce Andrews - People, Predators, and the American West

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Bryce Andrews is a Montana-based rancher, conservationist, and author whose unique set of experiences gives him uncommon insights into the relationship between humans and carnivores in the West. Having worked as a ranch hand, ranch manager, and ranch owner, Bryce understands agriculture and the myriad of challenges faced by producers. As Field Director at the non-profit People and Carnivores, he has gained first-hand knowledge of the predicaments facing large predators in the Rockies. And as an author, he has researched and written extensively about all sides of the issue-- most notably in his books “Badluck Way” and his new book “Down from the Mountain,” which was published earlier this week.

Bryce grew up in Seattle, far removed from ranching, farming, and the arid ruggedness of the Rocky Mountain West. But soon after college, he landed an entry-level job at the 20,000-acre Sun Ranch, located in Montana’s spectacular Upper Madison River Valley. On the Sun Ranch, Bryce received a trial-by-fire education in the sometimes-problematic relationship between agriculture and wild animals, a relationship he has spent much of his professional career exploring. The latest manifestation of this exploration is “Down from the Mountain,” an educational, entertaining, and sometimes-heartbreaking book that explores specific interactions between grizzly bears and farms in Montana’s Mission Valley. I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of this book and cannot recommend it enough.

If you are familiar with this podcast and the topics that I love to discuss, then you know that Bryce is a perfect guest. He’s smart, funny, insightful, and has a real gift for explaining complex, sometimes controversial topics in an engaging way. We talked a lot about “Down from the Mountain,” discussing grizzlies, farming, and the unique location and topography of the Mission Valley. We talk about Bryce’s upbringing in Seattle, and what drove him to explore the West after college. We discuss his work with People and Carnivores, and how his background in agriculture helps him to span the divide between his organization and the farming and ranching communities. Bryce also explains his writing and research process and offers some excellent advice for aspiring authors. And as usual, we spend a lot of time discussing books, authors, and his most powerful outdoor experience.

I encourage you to find a copy of “Down from the Mountain” and give it a read. You will not be disappointed.

Episode Notes: https://mountainandprairie.com/bryce-andrews/

TOPICS DISCUSSED

  • 4:00 - Bryce describes his work
  • 5:20 - How Bryce started ranching
  • 6:30 - First experiences ranching
  • 7:20 - Heading to the Rockies after college
  • 9:00 - Getting a hand-hold in ranching
  • 10:30 - Culture shock of the West
  • 13:50 - First encounter with carnivores
  • 16:30 - Primal thrill of wildlife encounters
  • 17:30 - Work with People and Carnivores
  • 20:00 - Finding common ground in the carnivore controversies 25:00 - “Down from the Mountain”
  • 29:00 - Mission Valley explained
  • 34:00 - Similarities between humans and grizzlies
  • 37:30 - Unexpected tension of bears in a cornfield
  • 41:20 - Bryce’s history as a writer
  • 42:50 - Favorite/important writers
  • 46:30 - Bryce’s relationship with writing
  • 50:00 - Writing, the flow state, and fear
  • 52:00 - Intense life events versus the boring “real world”
  • 56:15 - Advice for aspiring writers
  • 59:45 - Favorite books about the West
  • 1:01:50 - Most powerful outdoor experience
  • 1:03:30 - Request of the listeners
  • 1:05:30 - Connect with Bryce

Apr 19 2019

1hr 8mins

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Rank #12: Becca Aceto - Forging Her Own Path in the West

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Becca Aceto is an Idaho-based conservationist and is currently the Communications and Outreach Coordinator for the Idaho Wildlife Federation. Prior to this position with IWF, she worked in a variety of jobs closely connected to Idaho'sIdaho's rugged landscapes—as a naturalist, Forest Service wilderness ranger, and a Forest Service Wildlife Technician. Given her professional commitment to the lands and wildlife of the northern Rockies, you might assume that she's a native westerner, but in fact, she grew up in Ohio and attended the University of Kentucky before heading West after graduation.

As the oldest of six siblings, Becca has never been shy about "putting herself out there," learning new skills, or diving head-first into new experiences. She's studied various types of conservation in far-flung places like Thailand and Costa Rica, and she moved to the small town of Stanley, Idaho, without knowing a soul who lived there. Most recently, in 2017, she took up hunting and has fallen in love with the sport, becoming the Idaho ambassador for the sportswomen's group Artemis. Becca's willingness to step outside her comfort zone both professionally and personally can serve as a blueprint for many non-western young people who want to build a fulfilling life and career for themselves in the Rocky Mountains.

Becca and I caught up between a few of her fall hunts and had a wonderful conversation, discussing everything from her early days in Ohio to her current life and work in Idaho. We started by chatting about her upbringing—her childhood spent fishing in a small neighborhood creek, her love of horses, and the positive influence of her grandmother (who happens to be a Buddhist and a vegetarian). We talked about her time working as a ranger and some of the hard-won lessons she learned by suffering in the backcountry. We talk a lot about her relatively new journey becoming a hunter and some of the challenges and opportunities that come with learning to hunt as an adult. We also discuss the important conservation work of the IWF, in politics, on-the-ground stewardship, and public lands advocacy. As usual, we discuss lots of books and the best advice she's ever received.

We cover a lot in a little over an hour, and I jump around with my questions even more than usual, so be sure the check out the episode notes for a list of everything we discuss. Enjoy!

--

https://mountainandprairie.com/becca-aceto/

--

TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • 4:00 - Where Becca grew up
  • 6:10 - Decision to study natural resources at University of Kentucky
  • 8:45 - Working in Costa Rica 
  • 10:00 - Decision to move West
  • 11:30 - First jobs in Idaho
  • 14:30 - Bravery to move out West on her own
  • 16:30 - Becca’s Buddhist, vegetarian grandmother’s influence
  • 19:30 - Working conditions as a forest ranger
  • 21:00 - Importance of discomfort and fear
  • 25:00 - Starting to work at the Idaho Wildlife Federation
  • 29:15 - Importance of politics
  • 30:00 - Threat to public lands
  • 34:30 - Learning to hunt
  • 38:30 - Hunting lessons learned from year to year
  • 42:45 - Artemis sportswomen
  • 45:20 - Need for diversity in hunting and conservation
  • 47:00 - Advice for novice hunters
  • 49:15 - Becca’s most recent hunting trip
  • 57:00 - Writing
  • 1:00:15 - Favorite books
  • 1:02:30 - Favorite films
  • 1:04:30 - Out-of-the-ordinary hobbies
  • 1:06:00 - Favorite location in the West
  • 1:07:00 - Best advice ever received
  • 1:08:30 - Words of wisdom
  • 1:10:00 - Connect with Becca

Oct 17 2019

1hr 11mins

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Rank #13: Jessica Lewis - Doing More With Less

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Jessica Lewis is a Montana-based metalsmith who is best known for the beautifully unique jewelry she creates for her online shop, Ruby and Revolver. She is also the mother of a two-year-old daughter, who she is raising with her husband in the home they constructed with their own hands in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley. Thanks to her tireless work ethic and disciplined creativity, Jessica has built an authentic and full life around the things she loves most-- her family, her craft, and Western landscapes.

Montana’s rugged mountains and valleys have been a part of Jessica’s life for as long as she can remember, and even though she has traveled widely, she has always returned to Big Sky Country. The Rocky Mountain landscapes inform many aspects of her work, as does her ethic of “doing more with less.” By American standards, she and her family embrace a purposefully minimalist lifestyle which allows Jessica to focus on quality over quantity in both her professional and personal endeavors. In our world of constant connectivity and endless distraction, I’m truly inspired by Jessica’s genuine and mindful approach toward living a simple yet rich and meaningful life.

Jessica was kind enough to take a break from her numerous projects for this fun conversation about her life, creative process, and love of Montana. We chatted about how she got her start making jewelry and how the impending birth of her daughter inspired her to pursue art full time. We talked about how she began making jewelry with the simplest of tools, and how the desire for fancy equipment can distract from the act of making art. We talk a lot about parenthood, and Jessica explains how becoming a mother shifted her perspectives on work and life. We discuss our shared appreciation for Stoic philosophy, and how several specific books have impacted Jessica’s creativity. We talk about the importance of international travel and wisdom gained from spending time abroad. And as usual, we discuss favorite books about the West, the best advice she’s ever received, and several of her unexpected hobbies.

I really loved the conversation and know you will too. Thanks again to Jessica for taking the time to chat. Enjoy!

https://mountainandprairie.com/jessica-lewis/

https://rubyandrevolver.com

https://mountainandprairie.com/support/

TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • 3:40 - How Jessica describes her work
  • 5:00 - Jessica’s jewelry described
  • 7:00 - Embracing the rawness of her work
  • 8:50 - Materials used for her jewelry
  • 10:30 - Why she was drawn to metalworking
  • 12:15 - Starting out with simple tools
  • 14:30 - Importance of her studio
  • 17:00 - Making the leap into full-time art
  • 19:45 - The bravery to pursue artistic dreams
  • 22:50 - How kids change parents’ perspectives
  • 23:45 - Creative mentors and influences
  • 25:50 - Books that have influenced creativity
  • 29:30 - Daily routines
  • 30:55 - Importance of exercise
  • 31:50 - Living in the Bitterroot Valley
  • 32:45 - Growing up in Montana
  • 35:30 - International travels
  • 36:45 - Lessons learned from international travel
  • 39:00 - “Doing more with less"
  • 42:00 - Ed’s weird story about accumulating junk
  • 44:00 - More on parenthood and its effects
  • 46:10 - Advice to new parents
  • 48:30 - Current project of building a new house by hand
  • 52:00 - Jessica’s healthy relationship with technology
  • 57:15 - Advice to aspiring creatives
  • 59:50 - Favorite books
  • 1:03:25 - Favorite films
  • 1:05:30 - Surprising activities
  • 1:07:00 - Favorite location in the West
  • 1:08:30 - Best advice received
  • 1:10:30 - Request of the listeners
  • 1:11:50 - Connect with Jessica online

Apr 13 2019

1hr 14mins

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Rank #14: Live in Bozeman - Cate Havstad, Jillian Lukiwski, Becca Skinner & Juanita Vero

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This episode is a special recording from a Mountain & Prairie live podcast in Bozeman, Montana. On August 30th more than 300 folks gathered at the historic Ellen Theatre in downtown Bozeman to watch, listen, and participate in a wide-ranging conversation with four amazing women of the West—hat-maker and farmer Cate Havstad; silversmith and all-around artist Jillian Lukiwski; adventure photographer and writer Becca Skinner; and rancher and county commissioner Juanita Vero. We also held a raffle that benefited the Montana Land Reliance and the critical conservation work it is doing throughout the state of Montana.

The show started out with a hilarious, high-energy welcome from the amazing Becca Frucht, who is one of the funniest and most unique human beings I’ve ever met. Then I spent about an hour and fifteen minutes asking the women questions about their lives, work, and shared love of western landscapes. After that, we had some excellent questions from the audience, followed by a few words from the Jessie Weisse from the Montana Land Reliance. As you’ll hear, a good bit of our conversation centered around the land, conservation, and agriculture, so it was very fitting that the Montana Land Reliance was such an important part of the evening. My only complaint about the event is that I wish it could’ve been much longer—as you’d expect, we only scratched the surface of all the fascinating topics we could’ve discussed.

A heartfelt thank you to Cate, Jillian, Becca, and Juanita for being so open, thoughtful, and funny with all of their answers—the evening would not have been even a fraction of the success it was without their participation. Thanks to Becca Frucht for her energizing welcome and for figuring out a way to work Road House into her remarks. Thank you to the Montana Land Reliance for all of their important work throughout the state and for being part of the evening. A huge thanks to our sponsors—Chris Dombrowski Fly Fishing, Tom Morgan Rodsmiths, Onda Wellness, Modern Huntsman, Beargrass Writing Retreat, Heyday, Head West Bozeman, and Big Agnes. And last but definitely not least, thanks to everyone who attended the event—I know we had people travel to Bozeman from many other states and even Canada for the show, so I can’t thank you all enough for being such important members of this podcast community.

It was truly a night to remember, and I’m excited to do more live shows in 2020, so stay tuned for that. But in the meantime, enjoy this audio version of the Mountain & Prairie Podcast, live in Bozeman!

Notes and photos: https://mountainandprairie.com/bozeman-live/

MLR: http://mtlandreliance.org

TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • 3:30 - Welcome from the great Becca Frucht
  • 8:30 - A few words from Ed
  • 11:30 - Quick intros
  • 13:00 - Update on Cate’s involvement in farming
  • 15:30- Juanita’s entrance into county politics
  • 20:00 - Jillian’s evolving connection to her place
  • 21:00 - Becca’s immersion in private land conservation
  • 27:30 - Juanita’s thoughts on private land conservation
  • 32:00 - Jillian discusses the importance of hard work and adventure in wild places
  • 35:30 - Cate discusses the business realities of farming
  • 44:00 - Jillian and Becca talk about “putting herself out there”
  • 47:30 - Using social media productively
  • 50:00 - Other places the ladies would choose to live
  • 55:30 - Best books read in the past year
  • 1:01:30 - How their husbands/partners bolster them as individuals
  • 1:06:30 - Jillian’s “Big Enough Theory”
  • 1:12:00 - Q&A - Mentors and mentoring
  • 1:17:00 - Q&A - Roots to the past in the women’s trades
  • 1:20:30 - Q&A - Role of horses in the ladies lives
  • 1:28:00 - Q&A - Balancing development and conservation in Montana
  • 1:35:30 - Q&A - How do we connect people with their food
  • 1:40:15 - A few words from the Montana Land Reliance

Sep 13 2019

1hr 42mins

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Rank #15: Jay Kleberg – True Dedication to Conservation, Adventure & Texas

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Jay Kleberg is a conservationist and the Associate Director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation. He’s also the co-founder of Explore Ranches, a new company that connects outdoor enthusiasts to some of the most iconic private ranches in Texas and beyond. Jay has built his career and life around a deep respect for land and an inborn sense of responsibility to protect these landscapes, as well as the wildlife and heritage they support. As a sixth-generation Texan landowner, responsible land stewardship is in Jay’s blood, and as you’ll hear in our conversation, he’s laser-focused on leaving Texas an even better place than he found it. • Growing up on his family’s large-scale South Texas working ranch, Jay has been closely connected to the land for as long as he can remember. After high school and college on the east coast, Jay headed to Brazil for several years, where he worked with renowned conservationist John Cain Carter to protect the region’s threatened landscapes. It was in Brazil that Jay began to hone his personal conservation philosophy and had a number of crazy adventures along the way. After working a stint in for-profit real estate and earning his MBA, Jay decided to focus all of his professional energy on conservation in his home state. • Jay and I have been friends for over 25 years, so it was a real treat to connect with him on the podcast to discuss our shared passions for land conservation and adventure... we normally just re-tell hilarious stories from high school! As usual, we cover a lot-- we discuss his upbringing on his family ranch and lessons learned from both his family and the larger ranch community. We talk about his time in Brazil, conservation challenges in South America, and one close call in a small airplane that could’ve been the end of Jay. We discuss Explore Ranches, his work with Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, his role in the upcoming film “The River and the Wall,” and other adventures throughout the West. We also discuss the importance of humility and honesty, benefits of having a for-profit mentality in the nonprofit world, favorite books, films, and more. • Be sure to check out the episode notes for a full list of topics discussed and links to everything… there’s a ton of great information here. I know you’ll enjoy this fun conversation with Jay Kleberg. ••• mountainandprairie.com/jay-kleberg/ www.exploreranches.com ••• TOPICS DISCUSSED: 3:30 - How Jay describes his work 5:15 - Explore Ranches explained 8:45 - Importance of access to the outdoors 11:15 - More about Explore Ranches and the team 17:00 - Lessons learned from growing up on a ranch 21:30 - Conservation influences in Brazil 26:00 - Culture shock and lawlessness in Brazil 30:30 - An almost-airplane crash in the Amazon 37:45 - Moving to El Paso, TX 44:00 - Decision to pursue his MBA 47:30 - Business skills for land conservation 49:00 - Beginning work with the TX Parks and Wildlife Foundation 51:30 - Biggest conservation challenge facing Texas 56:40 - Experience at Woodberry Forest School 1:02:30 - River and the Wall teaser 1:07:10 - The source Jay’s humility 1:11:30 - Importance of “getting after it” 1:14:00 - Favorite books 1:15:45 - Favorite films 1:17:45 - Surprising hobbies i.e. wigs 1:19:40 - Favorite location in the West 1:21:30 - Request of the listeners 1:24:00 - Connect with Jay online

Dec 13 2018

1hr 27mins

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Rank #16: Melissa DiNino - Building a Unique Life in Big Sky Country

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Melissa DiNino is a biologist, artist, and designer who currently lives and works in Montana’s legendary Tom Miner Basin. A native easterner, Melissa moved West soon after college to work as a range rider-- a job that involves monitoring livestock on horseback in an effort to encourage the successful coexistence of livestock and apex predators in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. In her role as a range rider, Melissa developed a deep appreciation for Montana’s spectacular landscapes, the challenging relationship between people and predators, and the importance of compassionate communication between all stakeholders. • Melissa grew up in Connecticut, and developed an early love of adventure and the outdoors while spending time at her family’s cabin in Maine. She’s also a committed athlete and played competitive basketball from age five through college. As you’ll hear, Melissa is humble and soft spoken, but she has a track record of pushing herself hard, both in academics and athletics, as well as in her present-day professional work and art. Although only in her mid-20s, Melissa is wise beyond her years and is committed to doing meaningful work in a place that she loves, surrounded by a supportive community… and she’s making it happen in an inspiring way. • I know regular listeners will really enjoy this conversation, but it will be especially valuable to anyone who is in the early stages of their career, looking to do work that is meaningful and fulfilling. Melissa and I discuss her path to Montana, as well as some of the challenges and funny mishaps of adjusting to life in the West. We talk about the realities of piecing together a variety of different jobs and artistic endeavors, while remaining focused on the big picture of doing work that matters. We chat about lessons learned from athletics, the value of being competitive with oneself, and importance of being willing to “put yourself out there” in creative pursuits. We also dig into some details around wolves, grizzlies, and the importance of civil discourse when discussing emotional subjects like wolves. And as usual, we talk about favorite books, films, and places in the West. Links to everything are in the episode notes. •Thanks so much for listening, and I hope you enjoy this conversation with Melissa DiNino! ••• Notes: http://mountainandprairie.com/melissa-dinino/ https://www.melissadinino.com ••• 3:30 - How Melissa describes her work 4:50 - Range riding explained 9:30 - Balancing grazing and predators 11:15 - The human element of range riding 13:00 - How Melissa started range riding 14:45 - Transition to Montana 16:15 - Embarrassing Montana story 19:45 - Growing up in Connecticut 20:30 - Adventures in Maine 21:30 - Parents’ influence 24:10 - Basketball 25:55 - Competition and lessons learned from sports 29:00 - Why she chose to study wolves 32:25 - Tips for having tough conversations 36:00 - Stories of collaboration 37:30 - Crazy stories from range riding 38:45 - Books about wolves 42:00 - Background in design 43:15 - Art and watercolors 46:10 - Artistic mentors 48:00 - Future plans 50:00 - Mentors 51:20 - Favorite books 53:00 - Favorite films 54:00 - Weird hobbies 55:20 - Most powerful outdoor experience 1:01:00 - Favorite location in the West 1:02:00 - Request of the listeners 1:02:50 - Connect with Melissa online

Jan 11 2019

1hr 6mins

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Rank #17: John Dunaway - Life and Times of a Merchant Mariner

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John Dunaway is a Texas-based merchant mariner who spends six months each year traveling the world as the captain of large cargo ships. Whether cruising the calm, warm waters of Central America or avoiding Somali pirates off the coast of Africa, John’s goal is the same: deliver the cargo efficiently while ensuring the safety of his crew—quite the responsibility for a 32-year-old. When not at sea, John is an avid bird hunter, surfer, and all-around adventurer who uses his downtime to explore everywhere from Jackson Hole to Canyonlands to Antelope Island with his wife and young daughter. Thanks to a talent for photography and writing, John has gained a huge following on Instagram, where he documents his exploits on his account, AbstractConformity. • So you might be asking, what does a ship captain have to do with mountains and/or prairies? Although John may spend most of his time on the high seas, far away from the American West, you’ll notice that his optimistic perspective, focused sense of purpose, and thirst for adventure parallel the attitudes and outlooks of many of my previous podcast guests. Also like other guests, he is well read, a deep thinker, and has a genuine conservation ethic thanks to his close connection to the natural world. Although the objects of our affections may be different, our underlying values and priorities are surprisingly similar. • After almost a year of recording this podcast, I was excited to switch it up a little with this in-depth conversation with John about a subject that was fairly new to me. We start by covering the basics of his job—how one becomes a ship captain, particulars on the size of the ships, and details of day-to-day life on a 90-day ocean voyage. Then we dig deeper into some of his thoughts on leadership, his rituals and superstitions, how fatherhood has changed his outlook, and how he manages the pressure that comes along with being responsible for a massive ship, his crew, and the cargo. He also tells a few crazy stories from Africa and India, and he shares some insights from his recent trips around the American West. As usual, we discuss favorite books, films, and thoughts on conservation. • I found this to be a fascinating conversation, and I’d love to hear what you think. If you have a moment, please shoot me an email and let me know your thoughts. As always, thanks for taking the time to listen; hope you enjoy. ••• http://mountainandprairie.com/john-dunaway/ ••• 3:00 - How John describes his work 4:20 - Details on the ships 5:40 - Length of the typical ocean voyage 8:35 - How John became a ship captain 10:25 - A typical day on an ocean voyage 12:40 - John’s morning routine 19:00 - Superstitions on the ship 21:00 - Details on the crew and boat 22:15 - How John leads his crew 25:20 - Comparing leadership methods of old-timers and younger captains 27:20 - Ernest Shackleton 28:40 - Common misconceptions 30:35 - Most dangerous areas John has visited 31:00 - Adventures with Somali pirates 33:50 - Robberies at port 36:15 - Getting a gun shoved in his chest in Mumbai 38:40 - John’s early years in Brazil and Texas 39:10 - Family ties to ships and the ocean 41:00 - John’s decision to pursue ships as a career 41:55 - John’s advice to young students at the Merchant Marine Academy 43:45 - How fatherhood has changed his perspective 49:30 - How John became a well-known photographer 54:45 - Background on John’s ability as a writer 58:00 - John’s recent adventures in the American West 1:03:30 - What was most striking about the American West 1:07:30 - Favorite books 1:10:15 - Favorite documentaries 1:11:00 - Best piece of advice he’s ever received 1:12:30 - Biggest challenge facing the oceans today 1:15:00 - John’s request to the listeners 1:15:40 - Connect with John online

Apr 19 2017

1hr 18mins

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Rank #18: Hampton Sides, Part 2 - How to Tell a Damn Good Story

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Anyone who has listened to this podcast surely knows of best-selling author and narrative historian Hampton Sides. I reference his books often and was lucky enough to interview him in August at the Aspen Institute, which I released as a podcast episode. In that conversation, we discussed the history of the 19th-Century American West, and many of you kindly reached out to let me know how much you enjoyed learning from Hampton. So I was thrilled—and I think you will be too—when Hampton generously stopped through Colorado Springs last week in the midst of a busy tour for his amazing new book, "On Desperate Ground: The Marines at the Reservoir, the Korean War’s Greatest Battle."

As you’d expect, we had a fun conversation that expanded upon our first interview—we dig into his childhood in Memphis, Tennessee, and discuss his life-long desire to be a writer. We talk about his early years in journalism, and how his experiences writing and editing have contributed to his success as an author. We also chat about his years at “Outside" magazine and some of the realities of being a freelance journalist and author. Additionally, he shares some of the ins and outs of his writing process, including the struggle of cranking out a first draft, a process he describes as spending time in the “pain cave.” We also discuss the Grand Canyon, Wallace Stegner’s writing, and much more.

Finally, we spend some time talking about "On Desperate Ground," which I can’t recommend enough. I knew next to nothing about the Korean War, but as usual, Hampton’s writing was simultaneously educational and entertaining, allowing me to learn a lot while thoroughly enjoying the process. You don’t have to be a war history buff to enjoy this book—his exploration of characters’ personalities, motivations, and egos makes for an engaging story that will appeal to anyone who is fascinated by interesting people. And being a weird guy who loves climbing big, absurdly cold mountains, I especially enjoyed our discussion of North Korea’s brutal winters and how sub-zero temperatures were one of the deadliest forces in this battle.

Thanks again to Hampton for making time to meet up during such a busy book tour. Be sure to check the episode notes for links to all the authors and books we discuss, as we cover a lot. This was a fun conversation, and I know you’ll enjoy it.

Episode Notes: http://mountainandprairie.com/hampton-2/

“On Desperate Ground” by Hampton Sides: http://a.co/d/aZBZFiO

First Episode with Hampton: http://mountainandprairie.com/hampton/

Support the Podcast: http://mountainandprairie.com/support/

TOPICS DISCUSSED: 3:20 - How Hampton describes his work 7:15 - Hampton’s early years 11:00 - College and history training 13:40 - Importance of discipline in writing 17:00 - The "Pain Cave” 19:00 - Publising his first book 20:20 - First job out of college 22:00 - Working at Outside 24:45 - Learning the art of structure 28:30 - Importance of characters in history 31:40 - General MacArthur 36:00 - The cold as a character in the book 40:45 - US Marines’ retreat from the reservoir 41:50 - Chairman Mao 42:40 - Lessons learned from veterans 47:40 - Favorite books 48:45 - Favorite documentaries 49:40 - Most powerful experience in the outdoors 51:40 - Best advice ever received 52:45 - Connect with Hampton online

Oct 25 2018

55mins

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Rank #19: Sara Dant - A Deep Dive Into the History of the West

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Sara Dant is a historian, professor, and chair of the history department at Weber State University. She’s also the author of one of my new favorite books: Losing Eden: An Environmental History of the American West. Sara’s work touches many of the topics we discuss regularly on this podcast, including conservation, water, public lands, building consensus around divisive issues, historical figures of the West, and much more. As you’ll hear in our conversation, Sara has a unique ability to explain complex and potentially dry topics regarding the American West in an engaging and easy-to-understand manner. • Whether you’re like me and have read dozens of books on the history of the West or simply have a general interest the subject, I think Losing Eden should be mandatory reading. It lays out the history of the region, starting with human migration into North America 15-30,000 years ago and ends in the present-day West with our scramble to find solutions to natural resource shortages and climate change. For me, the book connected many different time periods and concepts into one cohesive narrative, while simultaneously introducing me to new ideas and people, all in just under 200 pages. • Sara and I had a great conversation covering key concepts from her book, as well as her life as a historian, teacher, and life-long Westerner. We chat about the concept of the "tragedy of the commons,” conservation versus preservation, and the myth that the West was a sort of Garden of Eden prior to European settlement. We also dig into some of the key historical figures of the West, including Brigham Young, John Wesley Powell, Theodore Roosevelt, and John Muir. Most of you know that I’m weirdly obsessed with Teddy Roosevelt—I’ve got a life-sized cardboard cut-out of him in my office, for Pete’s sake—so Sara gently offers a more “balanced" examination of his conservation legacy. We also discuss Sara’s upbringing in Arizona, love of trail running, favorite books, and much more. Be sure to visit the episode notes for links to everything we discuss, because there’s a lot. • And since many of you are members of the Mountain & Prairie Book Club, I wanted to let you know that Losing Eden will be the November/December selection. Sara has graciously offered to answer questions about the book or even participate in some sort of online discussion, so I’ll be sorting out those details in the coming weeks. In the meantime, start reading the book and visit the book club webpage for more information as it becomes available. But for now, please enjoy this fun and educational conversation with Sara Dant. ••• Episode Notes: http://mountainandprairie.com/sara-dant/ Losing Eden: An Environmental History of the American West: http://a.co/d/8rCRHS8 Book Club: http://mountainandprairie.com/book-club/ ••• TOPICS DISCUSSED: 3:55 - How Sara describes her work 4:45 - Where Sara grew up 6:15 - Background on the book 7:30 - The myth of the West as “Eden” 9:40 - The tragedy of the commons explained 13:10 - The Morman’s settlement of the West 17:00 - John Wesley Powell explained 22:00 - Ambition and the settlement of the West 23:00 - The significance of the 1890s 27:55 - Conservation versus preservation 34:00 - A more balanced view of Theodore Roosevelt 40:00 - Growing up in Arizona 41:25 - Early influences 44:15 - The book that most influenced Sara’s career 46:20 - Pursuing her Phd and the choice to teach 49:00 - Sara’s optimism about current college students 52:45 - Trail running 54:25 - Working at Grand Teton and Denali National Parks 56:30 - Public lands 1:01:30 - Favorite books 1:03:00 - Favorite films 1:05:00 - Hobbies 1:05:50 - Most powerful outdoor experience 1:07:25 - Favorite location in the West 1:08:00 - Best thing Sara ever learned 1:09:00 - Sara’s words of wisdom 1:10:15 - Connect with Sara online

Nov 07 2018

1hr 12mins

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Rank #20: Joe Grant - Self-Powered Alpine Adventurer

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Joe Grant is a highly accomplished professional ultra-runner and all-around endurance athlete who has completed some of the endurace world’s most challenging events—several Hardrock 100s, UTMB 100, Western States 100, and Bighorn 100, as well as the Arizona Trail Race (750 miles on mountain bike), Iditarod Trail Invitational 350, and many, many more. He most recently completed the “Tour de 14ers,” a solo, self-supported and self-powered link-up of all of Colorado's 14,000-foot mountains, by bicycle and on foot. For those of you counting, that’s climbing 57 fourteeners, accessed all by bike, in 31 days. • But Joe’s career as a professional athlete makes up only a small portion of his personal identity. He is a talented writer and photographer, as well as a voracious reader. He was born in England and grew up in France, so he has a global perspective that gives him a unique point of view. He is obviously driven to pursue challenging goals, yet he has always been focused more on the process than the end result. Joe's athletic achievements seem to combine his desire for continued personal growth with a genuine love of wild places and a strong conservation ethic. • Because he has such a depth of knowledge on so many interesting subjects, talking with Joe solely about running would only begin to scratch the surface. So after a rundown of his recent 14er adventure, we went deep into his thoughts on adventure, endurance, and pushing one’s personal boundaries. He talked about his upbringing and how family and friends have helped shape his outlook on life, giving him the confidence to pursue an unconvential, yet extremely fulfilling lifestyle. We of course talked a lot about books, as well as goal setting, daily practices, and his thoughts on conservation. • I’m obviously biased, but I loved this conversation and really appreciate Joe taking the time to chat. I encourage you to check him out on social media, and read some of his columns. If you like people who are passionate, humble, deep-thinking, and all-around interesting, you’ll enjoy getting to know Joe. Enjoy! ••• http://mountainandprairie.com/joe-grant/ ••• TOPICS DISCUSSED: 3:00 - How Joe describes his work 5:00 - Tour de 14ers 7:30 - Thoughts on choosing to travel by bike 8:20 - Self supported bike-packing ethic explained 10:00 - High points of the trip 11:08 - Thoughts on expedition preparation 12:45 - First days of the Tour de 14ers 15:45 - Various challenges during the trip 17:33 - Low point of the trip 20:30 - Techniques for digging out of fatigue-enduced “dark places" 21:25 - Arizona Trail Race 22:45 - More on pushing through fatigue 24:25 - Parallels between mediation and endurance sports 26:41 - Benefits of observing your mind and body from an outside perspective 28:25 - Personal growth through endurance sports 30:20 - Goal oriented versus process/moment oriented 32:40 - Comfort versus happiness 36:30 - Joe’s early years in Europe 37:15 - How living internationally shaped Joe’s perspective 39:10 - Benefits of gap year travel 43:10 - Lessons learned from international living 44:10 - Story behind Joe’s mother running a 100-miler 46:40 - Mentors and role models 48:40 - Joe’s reading recommendations 52:15 - Joe’s definition of conservation 55:00 - Favorite books about the American West 56:55 - A personal interest that would surprise listeners 57:37 - Craziest outdoor experience 59:50 - Joe’s favorite piece of gear 1:01:10 - Favorite spot(s) in the American West 1:02:00 - Biggest challenge facing the American West 1:03:45 - Joe’s request of listeners 1:04:40 - Connect with Joe online

Sep 21 2016

1hr 6mins

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Kate Kavanaugh - Regeneration & Restoration

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Kate Kavanaugh is an entrepreneur and regenerative agriculture advocate who co-owns and operates Western Daughters Butcher Shoppe in Denver, Colorado. Along with her partner Josh Curtiss, Kate sells fresh, local, grass-fed and pasture-raised meats that are all raised and harvested within 150 miles of Denver. Although she has been featured in such notable publications as “The New York Times” and “Forbes,” Kate is most proud of the deep connections she has formed with regenerative ranchers and farmers-- and the positive impact her business has had on the land.

As you’ll hear in our conversation, Kate is deeply committed to regenerative agriculture and specifically the role that ruminants play in the health of soil and grasslands in the American West and beyond. She’s also a seasoned businesswoman who has paid her dues and suffered the bumps and bruises that come with any entrepreneurial endeavor. And it is the combination of her passion, toughness, curiosity, and willingness to think outside the box that has made Western Daughters such an inspiring success story.

I had a great time chatting with Kate, and I learned a lot from our conversation. We started by talking about the story of Western Daughters--how the business began, challenges of running a brick and mortar store, and specifics around how the company supports local agriculture. We discuss Kate’s upbringing in Colorado and how she felt a deep connection to the land and the environment from an early age. We talk about Kate’s childhood commitment to vegetarianism and why she began eating meat again at age 20. We also chat about Kate and Josh’s exciting recent purchase of a farm in upstate New York, and how they plan to balance Western Daughters with farming their new land. We discuss food’s role in mental health, and Kate graciously shares some of her daily practices that help her manage anxiety and depression. Kate is a voracious reader, so there are tons of good books mentioned-- be sure the check out the episode notes for links to all the books and more. Hope you enjoy!

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More Episode Notes: https://mountainandprairie.com/kate-kavanaugh/

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TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • 3:15 - Western Daughters Butcher Shoppe, explained
  • 4:45 - Kate’s early interest in agriculture
  • 6:15 - Kate’s seriousness as a child
  • 8:45 - Ending her run with vegetarianism
  • 10:30 - Authors that helped Kate understand regenerative ag
  • 11:15 - Starting Western Daughters
  • 13:15 - Tribalism around food
  • 15:45 - New York Times article
  • 17:45 - Working with farmers and ranchers
  • 22:45 - The ins and outs of regenerative ag
  • 29:15 - The challenges of explaining regenerative ag to the masses
  • 30:45 - Unexpected challenges of running Western Daughters 
  • 34:45 - Economic challenges of regenerative ag
  • 37:45 - Kate and Josh’s new farm!
  • 40:15 - Realities of running a brick and mortar business
  • 45:15 - Thoughts on leaving the West
  • 49:00 - Advice to people who want to farm
  • 53:00 - Heroes and mentors
  • 55:30 - Managing mental health
  • 1:00:45 - Diet’s role in mental health
  • 1:03:45 - Favorite books
  • 1:04:45 - Favorite documentaries
  • 1:06:15 - Favorite location in the West
  • 1:07:15 - Most powerful outdoor experience
  • 1:08:45 - Best advice ever received
  • 1:10:45 - Request of the listeners

Jan 14 2020

1hr 14mins

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Peter Heller - Chasing the Flow

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Peter Heller is a renowned novelist, as well as an award-winning adventure writer and former contributing editor to "Outside," "Men’s Journal," and "National Geographic Adventure." Since age eleven, Peter has been committed to the craft of writing, and his lifelong love of words and stunning prose are the threads that connect all of his work– from fiction to non-fiction to poetry. His most recent novel, "The River," is the culmination of Peter’s decades of storytelling– the book weaves a masterful tale that combines adventure, deep friendships, wild places, chilling violence, and page-turning suspense. [For those of you who subscribe to my bimonthly book recommendations email, you may remember that I devoured the book in less than two days and absolutely loved it!]

Peter was born, raised, and educated on the east coast but headed West soon after college to paddle rivers and immerse himself in the wide-open spaces of the American West. His writing career has taken him to some of the most far-flung corners of the earth. Still, he always returns to the Rockies, where he currently splits his time between Denver and Paonia, a rural community on Colorado’s Western Slope. The people and landscapes of the West play prominent roles in all of Peter’s novels, and his talent for capturing the beauty and complexity of people and wild places is second to none.

We met up at Peter’s home in Denver and had a fun, wide-ranging conversation covering everything from his early obsession with writing to his current writing process to our mutual love of surfing. We discuss his first big paddling trip in Colorado, which started his decades-long love affair with the West. We talk about his early days as a professional writer– discussing everything from how he made it work financially to how he dealt with rejection. We dig into the specifics of his daily writing routine, and why he stops writing at 1,000 words, even if he is mid-scene. We also talk about how he avoids thinking when writing novels, his obsession with “finding the flow” in writing and outdoor pursuits, the importance of momentum, and balancing physical exuberance with the writer’s life. If you love Peter’s books, the West, or learning about writers, you will love this episode.

And as a special bonus, I’m giving away a copy of "The River" via Instagram. On Friday, January 3, 2020, I’ll post all the details, so head to my Instagram page, give me a follow, and be on the lookout for the giveaway. You can either search by my name- Ed Roberson- or follow this link. "The River" was one of the best books I read in 2019, so I know you’ll enjoy it too.

Thanks again to Peter for being so generous with his time and so insightful with his answers. I hope you enjoy!

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More Episode Notes: https://mountainandprairie.com/peter-heller/

Instagram Book Giveaway: https://www.instagram.com/mtnprairie/

Bimonthly Book Recommendations Email: http://mountainandprairie.com/reading/

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TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • 5:00 - Where Peter grew up
  • 6:30 - Deciding to be a writer at 11-years old
  • 10:00 - Specific disciplines to become a writer
  • 10:40 - Peter’s parents’ backgrounds and their influence
  • 13:30 - Peter’s love of writing as a career
  • 14:50 - Childhood adventures
  • 15:40 - Falling in love with the West
  • 18:30 - Starting out as a writer
  • 21:00 - Dealing with early rejections
  • 22:50 - First published story
  • 25:00 - “Not thinking” while writing fiction
  • 29:00 - Starting Dog Stars
  • 31:30 - Peter’s method - 1,000 words per day
  • 36:00 - The inevitability of Peter’s stories
  • 38:30 - Winslow Homer paintings and other real-life influences [Click to see "The Gulf Stream" painting]
  • 41:45 - Importance of confidence and craftsmanship in writing
  • 46:50 - Importance of momentum
  • 49:00 - Love of entering "the zone” through writing, surfing, fishing, and more.
  • 51:30 - Peter’s love for Paonia
  • 55:00 - Surfing!
  • 1:02:15 - Favorite books
  • 1:04:00 - Favorite location in the West
  • 1:05:45 - Best advice ever received

Dec 31 2019

1hr 11mins

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Hal Herring - A Man of Words & Wild Places

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Hal Herring is an award-winning journalist and writer whose work has appeared in such notable publications as the Atlantic, the Economist, and Orion.  He is also a contributing editor at Field and Stream and a regular contributor to High Country News. Most recently, Hal has made a name for himself in the podcast world as the host of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers’ popular podcast, called the Podcast & Blast with Hal Herring. If there’s one common thread that runs through Hal’s prolific and wide-ranging career, it’s a love of the West, its people, and its public lands.

I’ve long admired Hal and specifically his refusal to be boxed in by any particular political party or close-minded ideologies. He could be considered progressive on some issues and conservative on others, but his opinions are always the result of a lot of deep thinking, extensive research, and thorough consideration. And as you’ll hear him say in this interview, he’s endlessly curious and always open to having his mind changed-- two characteristics that I personally admire and try my best to emulate, especially when it comes to issues here in the American West.

Hal and I covered a lot in a little over an hour, and regular listeners will enjoy his depth and breadth of knowledge, as well as his unbridled passion for the West. We start by discussing his upbringing in Alabama and why he decided to move West. We talk a lot about books, and Hal offers up a massive selection of titles that have influenced his work, most of which have never before been mentioned on this podcast. We discuss the importance of journalism at this specific moment in history, and how he goes about finding the facts in today’s overwhelming deluge of media. We also chat about his work ethic, family, his current home in Augusta, Montana, his climbing and mountaineering adventures, and his recent success in the world of podcasts.

There’s a lot to learn and digest in this episode, so be sure to check out the episode notes for links to everything. Also, I hope you enjoy the southern accents-- I think Hal really brought mine out in full force. Hope you enjoy!

COMPLETE EPISODE NOTES: https://mountainandprairie.com/hal-herring/

TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • 3:05 - Growing up in Alabama
  • 4:15 - Intro to Montana
  • 5:50 - Deep love of Alabama
  • 6:45 - Early years writing & traveling
  • 9:30 - Source of Hal’s early wanderlust
  • 11:35 - When Hal got serious about writing
  • 15:00 - Importance of constraints
  • 18:00 - How Hal’s work on public lands influences his journalism
  • 20:45 - Decision to focus on public lands
  • 22:10 - Need for real journalism
  • 25:00 - Where does Hal get his news?
  • 29:00 - Public land discussion
  • 32:15 - Optimistic or pessimistic for the future of public lands?
  • 36:30 - Mountaineering and climbing
  • 41:15 - Having kids
  • 44:00 - Hal’s foray into podcasting
  • 48:15 - Most important books
  • 50:50 - Connection with Teal Blake
  • 55:30 - Importance of preparation and hard work
  • 57:15 - Hal’s new book
  • 1:00:30 - Favorite films
  • 1:01:50 - Favorite location in the West
  • 1:06:30 - Request of the listeners

Dec 16 2019

1hr 12mins

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Mark Kenyon - A Passion for Public Lands

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Mark Kenyon is a conservationist, outdoorsman, and author of the fantastic new book "That Wild Country: An Epic Journey through the Past, Present, and Future of America's Public Lands." For years, Mark has been well-known and respected in the hunting world, thanks in part to his website, blog, and podcast called Wired to Hunt, which focuses on the finer points of big game hunting. Mark and Wired to Hunt recently joined forces with Steven Rinella's MeatEater brand, which has helped to amplify Mark's impact on the worlds of hunting and conservation. "That Wild Country" is the culmination of many years of Mark's adventures, experiences, and writing, and I expect that Mountain & Prairie listeners will thoroughly enjoy it.

From the outside, it appears that Mark is cruising through life, living the dream-- he hunts, writes, creates shows, and generally pursues his passions at full speed on a daily basis. But when you scratch below the surface, you'll see that Mark's professional path has been (and still is) defined by extreme focus and hard work, as well as an insatiable curiosity for everything from whitetail deer to US history to the finer points of public lands legislation. He walked away from an impressive and safe career at Google to merge his vocation and avocation, choosing to bet on himself rather than corporate America. And his bet paid off-- between his podcasts, articles, essays, videos, and, now, a book, Mark's body of work has educated and inspired countless people throughout the world.

We started our conversation by discussing "That Wild Country," which is one of the most engaging and "user-friendly" explanations I've read of the history of public lands, as well as the modern-day controversies surrounding public lands. We discuss the conservation legacy of the other Roosevelt-- Franklin D Roosevelt-- and how his presidency revived our nation's commitment to public lands stewardship. We dig into the details of the Pittman-Robertson Act, a historic piece of legislation that all of us who love the outdoors need to understand. We discuss the short and impactful life of Bob Marshall, the famed conservationist who is the namesake of Montana's legendary Bob Marshall Wilderness. We also discuss a lot about Mark's personal backstory-- his decision to leave Google for Wired to Hunt, his recent merger with Meateater, how having a son has changed his perspective, his daily routine for maximum productivity, and much more. And finally, we touch on why Michigan seems to produce so many committed conservationists and outdoor writers.

I've admired Mark and his consistent, high-quality work for years, so it was a thrill to finally chat. I encourage you to check out "That Wild Country" and the Wired to Hunt Podcast, but in the meantime, enjoy this wide-ranging conversation with Mark Kenyon.

https://mountainandprairie.com/mark-kenyon/

"That Wild Country: An Epic Journey through the Past, Present, and Future of America's Public Lands" by Mark Kenyon

TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • 5:00 - An overview of “That Wild Country”
  • 9:00 - Timeline of writing the book
  • 11:00 - FDR’s influence on the conservation movement
  • 16:30 - Ins and outs of the Pittman-Robertson Act
  • 20:50 - Arguments around a “backpack tax”
  • 21:40 - Who was Bob Marshall?
  • 25:00 - How to write about dry subjects in an entertaining manner
  • 29:00 - The effort of writing a book
  • 29:40 - How having a kid changed Mark’s working style
  • 32:20 - Mark’s morning routine
  • 35:45 - Mark’s unique career path
  • 38:00 - Epiphany moment in Mark’s career
  • 40:30 - Merging with Meateater
  • 42:30 - Secrets to Wired to Hunt’s success
  • 47:00 - Mark’s “Back 40” project
  • 50:00 - Why does Michigan produce so many outdoor leaders?
  • 52:45 - New information learned about Theodore Roosevelt
  • 57:45 - Optimism or pessimism for the future of public lands
  • 1:01:30 - Important non-profits that Mark supports
  • 1:06:45 - Mark’s favorite books

Dec 06 2019

1hr 12mins

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Matt Skoglund - Adventures in Bison Ranching

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Matt Skoglund and his wife Sarah are bison ranchers and the owners of the North Bridger Bison Ranch, which is located in Montana's iconic Shields Valley. The Skoglund's bison operation is deeply rooted in Holistic Management and Regenerative Agriculture principles, and their goal is to produce healthy and delicious meat, while simultaneously improving the land, helping the environment, and contributing to Montana's economy. Through hard work and genuine curiosity, Matt has found his life's true calling in bison ranching—a challenging yet deeply rewarding business that combines so many of Matt's passions into one dream job.

By now, you may be assuming that Matt comes from a western ranching family or perhaps holds agriculture degrees from a land-grant university. But the reality is that Matt grew up in the Chicago area, attended college in the northeast, then law school, then began a career as an attorney in the litigation department of a large Chicago law firm. After several years of practicing law, he and Sarah could no longer resist the desire to move West, so they took a leap of faith and moved to Bozeman. Matt found a job with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), where he worked for nearly ten years, digging deep into many conservation issues that affect the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, including bison. Finally, in 2018, after several years of dreaming and planning, they pulled the trigger, bought some land, and started their adventure in bison ranching.

Matt and Sarah's story is inspiring and instructive, especially for those who have dreams of pursuing lives and careers in the West. Instead of jumping all over the place like I normally do, this conversation is pretty much split into two main sections. The first half covers all the details about North Bridger Bison, how they acquired the ranch, their process of field harvesting the meat, who their customers are, and some of the biggest surprises of running their own business. The second half covers some broader personal topics, such as how being a father has affected Matt's outlook, why he was able to walk away from a lucrative career in law, and the life lessons learned from being a college hockey player. Whether you are strictly interested in agriculture or only interested in people's personal evolutions, there are aspects of the Skoglund's journey that will be fascinating to both groups.

Be sure the check the episode notes for a list of everything we discussed. Hope you enjoy!

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https://mountainandprairie.com/matt-skoglund/

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TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • 4:00 - The location of the ranch
  • 5:45 - Why they chose the Shields Valley
  • 8:15 - Details around purchasing the ranch
  • 12:30 - Genesis of the bison ranch idea
  • 14:30 - Books that shaped Matt's business philosophy
  • 16:00 - Transitioning from dreaming about ranching to doing it
  • 18:15 - Criteria when searching for land
  • 22:45 - Collaboration among bison ranchers
  • 25:30 - Details of field harvesting bison
  • 30:40 - Biggest surprises of bison ranching
  • 36:00 - How past professional experiences inform bison ranching
  • 37:00 - Lessons learned from stressful situations
  • 39:30 - Transition from the law to conservation
  • 42:00 - Moving to Bozeman
  • 43:00 - Getting off the big law firm "treadmill"
  • 44:50 - Where Matt got his independent streak
  • 47:30 - Lessons learned from high-level athletics
  • 49:30 - How having kids changed Matt's life and perspective
  • 54:30 - Three specific heroes and mentors
  • 58:45 - Aldo Leopold obsession
  • 1:00:15 - Favorite books

Nov 06 2019

1hr 4mins

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Becca Aceto - Forging Her Own Path in the West

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Becca Aceto is an Idaho-based conservationist and is currently the Communications and Outreach Coordinator for the Idaho Wildlife Federation. Prior to this position with IWF, she worked in a variety of jobs closely connected to Idaho'sIdaho's rugged landscapes—as a naturalist, Forest Service wilderness ranger, and a Forest Service Wildlife Technician. Given her professional commitment to the lands and wildlife of the northern Rockies, you might assume that she's a native westerner, but in fact, she grew up in Ohio and attended the University of Kentucky before heading West after graduation.

As the oldest of six siblings, Becca has never been shy about "putting herself out there," learning new skills, or diving head-first into new experiences. She's studied various types of conservation in far-flung places like Thailand and Costa Rica, and she moved to the small town of Stanley, Idaho, without knowing a soul who lived there. Most recently, in 2017, she took up hunting and has fallen in love with the sport, becoming the Idaho ambassador for the sportswomen's group Artemis. Becca's willingness to step outside her comfort zone both professionally and personally can serve as a blueprint for many non-western young people who want to build a fulfilling life and career for themselves in the Rocky Mountains.

Becca and I caught up between a few of her fall hunts and had a wonderful conversation, discussing everything from her early days in Ohio to her current life and work in Idaho. We started by chatting about her upbringing—her childhood spent fishing in a small neighborhood creek, her love of horses, and the positive influence of her grandmother (who happens to be a Buddhist and a vegetarian). We talked about her time working as a ranger and some of the hard-won lessons she learned by suffering in the backcountry. We talk a lot about her relatively new journey becoming a hunter and some of the challenges and opportunities that come with learning to hunt as an adult. We also discuss the important conservation work of the IWF, in politics, on-the-ground stewardship, and public lands advocacy. As usual, we discuss lots of books and the best advice she's ever received.

We cover a lot in a little over an hour, and I jump around with my questions even more than usual, so be sure the check out the episode notes for a list of everything we discuss. Enjoy!

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https://mountainandprairie.com/becca-aceto/

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TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • 4:00 - Where Becca grew up
  • 6:10 - Decision to study natural resources at University of Kentucky
  • 8:45 - Working in Costa Rica 
  • 10:00 - Decision to move West
  • 11:30 - First jobs in Idaho
  • 14:30 - Bravery to move out West on her own
  • 16:30 - Becca’s Buddhist, vegetarian grandmother’s influence
  • 19:30 - Working conditions as a forest ranger
  • 21:00 - Importance of discomfort and fear
  • 25:00 - Starting to work at the Idaho Wildlife Federation
  • 29:15 - Importance of politics
  • 30:00 - Threat to public lands
  • 34:30 - Learning to hunt
  • 38:30 - Hunting lessons learned from year to year
  • 42:45 - Artemis sportswomen
  • 45:20 - Need for diversity in hunting and conservation
  • 47:00 - Advice for novice hunters
  • 49:15 - Becca’s most recent hunting trip
  • 57:00 - Writing
  • 1:00:15 - Favorite books
  • 1:02:30 - Favorite films
  • 1:04:30 - Out-of-the-ordinary hobbies
  • 1:06:00 - Favorite location in the West
  • 1:07:00 - Best advice ever received
  • 1:08:30 - Words of wisdom
  • 1:10:00 - Connect with Becca

Oct 17 2019

1hr 11mins

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Duke Phillips III - A Vision for the New West

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Duke Phillips III is the founder and CEO of Ranchlands, a Colorado-based, family-owned ranch management company. If Ranchlands sounds familiar, that’s because last week’s episode was with Duke’s son, Duke Phillips IV. You may remember that the younger Duke referenced his father’s philosophies around business and leadership several times, so I thought it would be fun to have the elder Duke on the podcast for an in-depth conversation. And in-depth it was—in a little under an hour we covered a wide range of subjects, everything from the future of ranching to world travels to poetry.

Duke has led a fascinating life, starting with his early years spent growing up on a remote cattle ranch in rural Mexico. His twenties were devoted to traveling and working around the world, including places like Europe, Central America, Australia, and the Bering Sea. Around age thirty he started his first “real job” in ranching, which eventually led to the formation of his company Ranchlands. Since its beginnings over two decades ago, Ranchlands has set a new standard what is possible when ranching, conservation, education, and business are successfully combined. And Ranchlands partnership with Colorado’s State Land Board is a case study in effective, mutually beneficial public-private partnerships.

I caught up with Duke on the phone, where he was gracious enough to take time away from one of his New Mexico operations to chat with me. We started by talking about his childhood in Mexico and the lessons he learned from growing up in such a wild and remote landscape. Then we discussed the series of travels and jobs that led to his founding Ranchlands in his mid-forties. From there, our conversation hits on a variety of subjects, including the joys of working with his kids, Duke III and Tess, the ins-and-outs of the bison ranching business, and his thoughts on the recent popularity of regenerative agriculture. There’s minimal overlap between the topics covered in this conversation and my conversation with young Duke, so be sure to check the episode notes for a full list of all the interesting information discussed.

Palmer Land Trust will be honoring Duke and his family at the 10th Annual Southern Colorado Conservation Awards on October 3rd in Colorado Springs. It’s going to be a fun and inspiring evening, so follow the link in the episode notes for more information and tickets. Hope to see you there!

•••

https://www.palmerlandtrust.org/2019-scca

Notes: https://mountainandprairie.com/duke-phillips-iii/

TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • 3:30 - Where Duke grew up
  • 6:30 - Lessons learned from growing up in Mexico
  • 8:30 - Having patience with those new to ranching
  • 9:45 - Leaving Mexico
  • 11:50 - World travels and adventures in his 20s
  • 14:30 - First “real job”
  • 15:45 - Lead-up to Chico Basin
  • 17:00 - Ranchlands explained
  • 22:00- Ranchlands’ grazing philosophy
  • 26:00 - Joys of working with Tess and Duke IV 27:30 - Keys to running a successful family business
  • 29:30 - Keeping kids humble
  • 31:20 - Importance of positivity in life and business
  • 35:00 - Importance of honesty in business
  • 37:40 - Successful partnerships with Colorado’s State Board and The Nature Conservancy
  • 41:30 - Running a bison ranch
  • 45:00 - Regenerative agriculture
  • 48:30 - Heroes and mentors
  • 52:00 - The future of ranching
  • 54:00 - Favorite books and poetry
  • 56:30 - Most powerful outdoor experience

Sep 27 2019

1hr

Play

Duke Phillips IV - Living with the Land

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Duke Phillips IV is the Chief Operating Officer of Ranchlands, a Colorado-based ranching and ranch management company that is widely celebrated for its deep conservation ethic. Duke oversees all operations across Ranchlands’ properties, which include the renowned 87,000-acre Chico Basin Ranch and the 103,000-acre Medano Zapata Ranch. Working closely with his father Duke III and his sister Tess, the Duke and his family share a commitment to long-term land stewardship, and they embody the Ranchlands philosophy of “Working together to live with the land.”

As part of a multi-generational ranching family in southeastern Colorado, Duke grew up with one foot in the ranching culture and the other in a more traditional life of school, sports, and typical childhood activities. After college, he decided to return to the family business, where he began to work his way up through the ranks to his current role of COO. Along the way, he learned lessons in leadership, humility, conservation, stockmanship, and business, many of which he shares with me during this conversation. Duke is one of the more humble and understated people I’ve met, especially when considering all that he’s accomplished so early into his career.

I met Duke out at the Chico where we sat around his kitchen table and chatted-- and it was truly a delightful conversation. We talked about the operations at their ranches, delving into some of the details around their breed of cattle, the Beefmaster. We discussed the apprentice and intern programs at Ranchlands, and why he and his family value teaching and educating both the general public and the next generation of land stewards. We discussed Duke’s thoughts on leadership and the importance of being humble and calm in all situations. He also explains Ranchlands open gate policy, and how that philosophy differs from some of the conventional wisdom around access to land in the West. We also discuss books, his heroes and mentors, flying helicopters, lessons learned from living and working internationally, and much more.

Finally, I wanted to mention that Ranchlands will be honored at Palmer Land Trust’s 10th Annual Southern Colorado Conservation Awards on October 3rd in Colorado Springs. We’ll be debuting a short film about the Phillips family that highlights some of their innovative conservation work throughout the state. If you’re interested in attending, follow the link in the episode notes for more information. I guarantee it will be an inspiring and fun evening.

There are many important lessons to be learned from this conversation with Duke-- check the episode notes for a full list of everything we discussed. Hope you enjoy!

https://mountainandprairie.com/duke-phillips-iv/

https://www.palmerlandtrust.org/2019-scca

TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • 3:30 - Background on Chico Basin
  • 6:00 - Chico Basin’s open gate policy
  • 8:00 - Education and birding programs on the ranch
  • 11:15 - Background on open gate policy
  • 14:00 - Beefmaster cattle breed
  • 19:00 - Ideal characteristics of the Beefmaster breed
  • 22:15 - Good books about grazing and ranching
  • 23:30 - How travel and education have shaped their business
  • 25:00 - Finishing high school and starting college
  • 28:00 - Choice to study liberal arts
  • 30:00 - Internship and apprentice program
  • 34:00 - Traits Duke looks for in employees
  • 40:00 - Duke’s evolution as a leader
  • 42:00 - Importance of good communication
  • 44:00 - Heroes and mentors
  • 49:00 - Importance of being positive
  • 54:00 - Importance of controlling anger
  • 56:30 - Favorite books
  • 59:00 - Flying helicopters and planes
  • 1:01:30 - Using helicopters in ranching
  • 1:03:10 - Most powerful outdoor experience
  • 1:07:30 - Favorite place in the West

Sep 20 2019

1hr 12mins

Play

Live in Bozeman - Cate Havstad, Jillian Lukiwski, Becca Skinner & Juanita Vero

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This episode is a special recording from a Mountain & Prairie live podcast in Bozeman, Montana. On August 30th more than 300 folks gathered at the historic Ellen Theatre in downtown Bozeman to watch, listen, and participate in a wide-ranging conversation with four amazing women of the West—hat-maker and farmer Cate Havstad; silversmith and all-around artist Jillian Lukiwski; adventure photographer and writer Becca Skinner; and rancher and county commissioner Juanita Vero. We also held a raffle that benefited the Montana Land Reliance and the critical conservation work it is doing throughout the state of Montana.

The show started out with a hilarious, high-energy welcome from the amazing Becca Frucht, who is one of the funniest and most unique human beings I’ve ever met. Then I spent about an hour and fifteen minutes asking the women questions about their lives, work, and shared love of western landscapes. After that, we had some excellent questions from the audience, followed by a few words from the Jessie Weisse from the Montana Land Reliance. As you’ll hear, a good bit of our conversation centered around the land, conservation, and agriculture, so it was very fitting that the Montana Land Reliance was such an important part of the evening. My only complaint about the event is that I wish it could’ve been much longer—as you’d expect, we only scratched the surface of all the fascinating topics we could’ve discussed.

A heartfelt thank you to Cate, Jillian, Becca, and Juanita for being so open, thoughtful, and funny with all of their answers—the evening would not have been even a fraction of the success it was without their participation. Thanks to Becca Frucht for her energizing welcome and for figuring out a way to work Road House into her remarks. Thank you to the Montana Land Reliance for all of their important work throughout the state and for being part of the evening. A huge thanks to our sponsors—Chris Dombrowski Fly Fishing, Tom Morgan Rodsmiths, Onda Wellness, Modern Huntsman, Beargrass Writing Retreat, Heyday, Head West Bozeman, and Big Agnes. And last but definitely not least, thanks to everyone who attended the event—I know we had people travel to Bozeman from many other states and even Canada for the show, so I can’t thank you all enough for being such important members of this podcast community.

It was truly a night to remember, and I’m excited to do more live shows in 2020, so stay tuned for that. But in the meantime, enjoy this audio version of the Mountain & Prairie Podcast, live in Bozeman!

Notes and photos: https://mountainandprairie.com/bozeman-live/

MLR: http://mtlandreliance.org

TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • 3:30 - Welcome from the great Becca Frucht
  • 8:30 - A few words from Ed
  • 11:30 - Quick intros
  • 13:00 - Update on Cate’s involvement in farming
  • 15:30- Juanita’s entrance into county politics
  • 20:00 - Jillian’s evolving connection to her place
  • 21:00 - Becca’s immersion in private land conservation
  • 27:30 - Juanita’s thoughts on private land conservation
  • 32:00 - Jillian discusses the importance of hard work and adventure in wild places
  • 35:30 - Cate discusses the business realities of farming
  • 44:00 - Jillian and Becca talk about “putting herself out there”
  • 47:30 - Using social media productively
  • 50:00 - Other places the ladies would choose to live
  • 55:30 - Best books read in the past year
  • 1:01:30 - How their husbands/partners bolster them as individuals
  • 1:06:30 - Jillian’s “Big Enough Theory”
  • 1:12:00 - Q&A - Mentors and mentoring
  • 1:17:00 - Q&A - Roots to the past in the women’s trades
  • 1:20:30 - Q&A - Role of horses in the ladies lives
  • 1:28:00 - Q&A - Balancing development and conservation in Montana
  • 1:35:30 - Q&A - How do we connect people with their food
  • 1:40:15 - A few words from the Montana Land Reliance

Sep 13 2019

1hr 42mins

Play

William deBuys - Sage of the Southwest

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William deBuys is a renowned writer and conservationist farmer who is known as one of the most influential thinkers in the modern-day American West. To call Bill prolific would be a blatant understatement—a few of his many books include “The Walk,” “A Great Aridness,” “River of Traps,” and “The Last Unicorn.” For more than 40 years, Bill has owned and tended a small farm in the Sangre de Cristo mountains of northern New Mexico, a property that has heavily influenced his life, work, and appreciation for land. I was fortunate enough to meet Bill at his farm for this interview, which was a thrill and an experience I won’t soon forget.

Bill was born and raised on the east coast but moved to New Mexico after college to take a job as a research assistant with writer Robert Coles. Bill found himself immersed in the arid landscape of the American Southwest and very quickly fell in love with the people, culture, and terrain. From then on, Bill’s life and work centered around the land, whether earning his Ph.D., working for the Nature Conservancy and The Conservation Fund, or pursuing full-time writing. His life serves as an inspiring case study of how to meld on-the-ground conservation work with high-level aspirational writing and journalism.

My biggest challenge with this conversation was figuring out how to fit five hours of questions into a single hour! We start by discussing how Bill ended up in New Mexico, and then chat a good bit about his farm. We discuss lessons learned from his work in land conservation, and techniques he uses to find common ground among competing stakeholders. We talk a lot about his writing process and routine, including Bill's excellent advice related to the technical and psychological aspects of writing. We also discuss several of his books, and how writing each book has influenced his perspective and appreciation for his beloved New Mexico home. Bill offers up a useful and completely unique technique for summoning gratitude, a practice I believe we all can benefit from. And as usual, we discuss his favorite books, his favorite location in the West, and the best advice he ever received.

It was a dream come true to spend time with Bill at his farm, so I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. Be sure the check the episode notes for links to everything we discussed!

http://williamdebuys.com

Notes & Resources: https://mountainandprairie.com/william-debuys/

TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • 4:30 - El Valle, New Mexico, described
  • 5:45 - How Bill ended up in New Mexico
  • 10:30 - Work with The Nature Conservancy and The Conservation Fund
  • 12:30 - Lessons learned from conservation work
  • 14:30 - Early writing experience
  • 15:25 - Looking back at old work
  • 16:30 - Understanding and appreciating “place”
  • 19:45 - How Bill wrote “The Walk”
  • 22:15 - Dealing with feedback on his writing
  • 23:15 - The writer’s mindset
  • 24:30 - Bill’s writing process
  • 29:00 - Decision to focus mostly on writing
  • 30:15 - Discussion of his book “A Great Aridness”
  • 34:25 - Actionable ideas for dealing with climate change
  • 38:00 - Valles Caldera Trust
  • 42:00 - Techniques for finding common grounds
  • 45:30 - “The Last Unicorn” and other international adventures
  • 46:50 - Influentials writers and thinkers
  • 49:00 - Teaching and its influence on his work
  • 51:00 - Favorite books
  • 53:00 - Practice of writing down all the “aunts and uncles”
  • 55:00 - Most powerful outdoor experience
  • 56:10 - Threats to ANWR and the Rio Grand corridor
  • 59:25 - Favorite location in the West
  • 59:30 - Best advice ever received

Sep 05 2019

1hr 2mins

Play

Emilene Ostlind - Storytelling for the New West

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Emilene Ostlind is a Wyoming-based journalist and storyteller whose work focuses on the landscapes, natural resources, and communities of the American West. She may be best known for her work studying and documenting the long-distance migration of pronghorn antelope from Grand Teton National Park down into the Green River Valley—a topic that was the basis for her graduate school thesis, as well as her award-winning High Country News cover story about the "Path of the Pronghorn.” Emilene is also the editor of "Western Confluence," an amazingly informative, entertaining, and free magazine published by the University of Wyoming’s Ruckelshaus Institute of Environment and Natural Resources. And if all of that is not enough, she is also working closely on the production of an upcoming documentary called "Deer 139," which tells the story of a mule deer’s migration across Wyoming and a researcher’s attempt to follow that same path on foot.

Emilene grew up at the base of the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming, a third-generation Wyomingite from a family closely connected to ranching and the land. After earning her undergraduate degree from the University of Wyoming, she landed a job in Washington DC with National Geographic, where she learned first hand the power of storytelling as a means of communicating important, complex issues. She returned to the University of Wyoming for a graduate degree in creative nonfiction writing, with a focus on understanding and documenting pronghorns’ migration patterns throughout her home state. Along with photographer Joe Riis, they explored the mountains of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, shedding light on one of the lower 48’s last remaining big game migration corridors.

If you’ve enjoyed my conversations with folks like Dan Flores and Bryce Andrews, then you’ll love this episode. We dig deep into the specifics of pronghorns and discuss why they are one of the more interesting and impressive North American mammals. We talk about how Emilene initially became interested in pronghorn migrations, and how the project began and played out over several years. We also discuss her work editing "Western Confluence" and the 2018 book "Wild Migrations." As you’d expect, we discuss her upbringing in Wyoming, her career path in storytelling, and she offers some excellent advice for aspiring journalists who’d like to follow a similar path. And of course we discuss favorite books, so be sure to check the episode notes for links to all of those—there are a lot of new titles.

I encourage you to subscribe to "Western Confluence"—it’s totally free which is quite a deal when you consider just how much you’ll learn from reading it.

Episode Notes - https://mountainandprairie.com/emilene-ostlind/

"Western Confluence” - https://www.westernconfluence.org

"Wild Migrations” - https://www.amazon.com/Wild-Migrations-Atlas-Wyomings-Ungulates/dp/0870719432

"Deer 139” - https://www.deer139film.org

TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • 4:30 - Emilene’s family history in Wyoming
  • 7:00 - Her life-long interest in storytelling
  • 8:00 - Experience at National Geographic
  • 12:30 - Heading back West from DC
  • 13:30 - Genesis of pronghorn migration idea
  • 15:00 - Applying to grad school
  • 17:00 - "Path of the Pronghorn"
  • 21:50 - Pronghorns explained
  • 26:30 - Reception of “Path of the Pronghorn” by the general public
  • 30:00 - Steps that landowners can take to help animal migrations
  • 35:00 - Wyoming as a last major migration corridor
  • 37:30 - "Deer 139"
  • 41:20 - Storytelling through film
  • 44:45 - Western Confluence
  • 50:00 - Mentors, heroes, and books
  • 53:30 - "Wild Migrations”
  • 56:40 - Advice to aspiring storytellers
  • 59:45 - Favorite books about the West
  • 1:01:00 - Favorite films
  • 1:02:00 - Most powerful outdoor experience
  • 1:03:40 - Favorite location in the West
  • 1:05:00 - Best advice she’s ever received
  • 1:06:15 - Request of the listeners
  • 1:07:40 - Connect with Emilene

Aug 20 2019

1hr 10mins

Play

PART 2: Behind the Scenes with Ed - A Never-Boring, Often-Crazy Personal Journey

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If you listened to the previous episode, then you know that I'm mixing things up a bit. This is Part 2 of a two-part series in which I'm the one in the hot seat. It's a repost of my recent appearance on the "Truth & Dare" podcast, a wonderfully inspiring show that features in-depth conversations about personal growth, risk-taking, and living life to the fullest.

In the first part of this two-part series, you'll remember a detailed discussion around my professional interests—land, water, and agriculture. This conversation on Truth & Dare is equally detailed and deep, but focused almost exclusively on my personal life—my journey from North Carolina to the West, my obsession with long-distance running, the crazy way that I met my wife, lessons learned for a semester of NOLS, how my wife and girls' influence has made me a much better person, and much more. Many of the books and ideas that we've discussed on Mountain & Prairie play a big role in my personal evolution from wanna-be real estate developer to conservationist, so I wanted to share this with you all.

As you'll hear, the host Camden is a curious, kind, and natural conversationalist who likes to talk deeply about subjects of substance—not surface-level nonsense. I was turned on to her podcast when she interviewed my friend—artist, surfer, and family-man Kevin Mirsky—and I was thrilled and a little nervous when she asked me to join her on the show. But we had an instant connection and a great conversation that I hope you'll enjoy. But regardless of my episode, if you are interested in personal growth and stories of people who have taken unconventional paths, you should definitely give Truth & Dare a listen.

A huge thanks again to Camden for having me on, thanks to you all for listening, and I'll be back with regular Mountain & Prairie episodes in the next few days.

https://camdenhoch.com

https://camdenhoch.com/podcast/

Aug 07 2019

1hr 7mins

Play

PART 1: Behind the Scenes with Ed - Cutting-Edge Land & Water Conservation in the West

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This episode is a little different—it's part one of a two-part series in which I'm the one in the hot seat. It's a repost of my recent appearance on the Quivira Coalition's excellent podcast named "Down to Earth - The Planet to Plate Podcast." They were nice enough to invite me on to discuss some of my conservation work at Palmer Land Trust, particularly around our focus of conserving irrigated farmland in southeastern Colorado. It's fascinating work that hits on many of the issues we've previously discussed here on Mountain & Prairie—water rights, pressures facing agricultural communities, holistic approaches to resource management, balancing the needs of agriculture with that of municipalities, and more. It's what I spend the vast majority of my time doing, and I hope you'll find it interesting and informative.

Regardless of whether or not you listen to my episode, I highly encourage you to check out Down to Earth. The host Mary-Charlotte is a journalistic pro who likes to dive deep in the nuances of agriculture and has interviewed some of the most impressive people working in agriculture today (present company excluded). If you've enjoyed my past episodes with folks like Jim Howell, Pat O'Toole, Christine Su, and, of course, Quivira Executive Director Sarah Wentzel-Fisher, then I can guarantee you'll love the "Down to Earth" podcast. There's a link to Down to Earth in the episode notes, so be sure to check it out and give them a great iTunes review if you're so inclined.

Thanks again to Down to Earth for being interested in my work, and thanks to you all for listening. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions. Hope you enjoy!

http://downtoearth.media

https://quiviracoalition.org

Aug 07 2019

48mins

Play

Morgan Irons - Finding Her Muse

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Morgan Irons is a Montana-based artist whose captivating oil paintings combine the classic style of late 19th-century painters with her own modern-day interpretation of the West’s people and places. When I first discovered Morgan’s art, I assumed I was looking at the work of a classically trained artist who’d been in the trenches of painting for decades… and I couldn’t have been more wrong! Morgan has only been painting since 2015, with virtually no artistic training prior. Her innate talent is matched only by her work ethic and commitment to the craft—she has built her life around the process of making art, which is inspiring and instructive for anyone with creative aspirations.

Morgan was born in Durango and spent her youth in various parts of the West, including Alaska and Idaho. After college in the flat midwest, she immediately returned to more rugged landscapes, working in Alaska and eventually landing in Bozeman. She tried her hand at a “normal” job but found the corporate world to be uninspiring and frustrating. So rather than wallow and complain, she moved on from that job and soon thereafter, discovered her talent for painting. Since then, she’s gone all-in on her career as an artist, and she is building quite a strong following in the art world.

If you are a person who dreams of pursuing your creative passion full time, then you will love this episode—it’s full of actionable ideas around art and the creative process. We talk about the remote cabin where Morgan lives and paints, and why she needs solitude and open spaces for maximum creative output. We discuss her daily routine and how she primes her artistic mindset through hiking, meditation, and writing. We also discuss how she blocks out distractions and her techniques for using the productive aspects of social media while avoiding the time-wasting traps. We obviously talk about the point when she discovered her talent for painting and how she has honed that talent through workshops and mentorships from top painters. Finally, Morgan tells some great stories about hunting for ghosts with her dad, her favorite books, a bear that broke into her car, and the importance of having no “Plan B.” Enjoy!

https://www.morganirons.com

https://mountainandprairie.com/morgan-irons/

TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • 5:00 - Where Morgan is based
  • 6:00 - Why Morgan likes solitude
  • 8:00 - Balancing technology—productivity vs. distraction
  • 11:00 - Morgan’s younger years
  • 12:00 - Heading to college in St. Louis
  • 14:30 - Family history in Alaska
  • 17:30 - Job in Alaska
  • 22:00 - Lessons learned in Alaska
  • 23:00 - Moving in Bozeman
  • 25:15 - Discovering art
  • 27:00 - Buying paint and starting to make art
  • 30:00 - Feelings during the process of painting
  • 32:30 - Learning from the masters while keeping the originality
  • 35:30 - Formal learning from world-class artists
  • 38:00 - Learning from fellow students as well as professors
  • 40:00 - Daily routines
  • 44:00 - Meditation practice
  • 46:30 - Balancing friendships with her need for solo time
  • 50:00 - How the West shapes her work
  • 53:30 - Mentors and artists Morgan admires
  • 56:00 - A non-painting artist who Morgan admires
  • 58:30 - How her psychology degree has helped her art
  • 1:00:00 - Favorite books
  • 1:04:00 - Ghost hunting!
  • 1:08:30 - Crazy bear encounter
  • 1:12:00 - Words of wisdom
  • 1:14:30 - Connect with Morgan online

Jul 23 2019

1hr 16mins

Play

Heather Hansman - Demystifying Water in the West

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Heather Hansman is a freelance writer and editor whose work explores the intersection of science, adventure, and culture. Her new book Downriver: Into the Future of Water in the West should be required reading for everyone who enjoys this podcast—it strikes the perfect balance of being entertaining and educational while examining all sides of the many issues facing the West's water supply. There are few topics in the West as divisive and emotional as water, and in her book, Heather provides a balanced overview of all the issues, delving deep into the substance of water-related arguments, without crossing over into the mind-numbing jargon that defines most water-related writing.

The book follows Heather's 730-mile float down the length of the Green River, starting at the base of Wyoming's Wind River mountains and ending at the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers in Utah. Along the way, she meets with a wide range of western water stakeholders—ranchers, farmers, river guides, government employees, scientists, conservationists, and more—and digs into their sometimes competing interests fighting for their shares of water in the West. But the book is far from an academic examination of water law—Heather paddled two-thirds of the river completely alone, so there is also a compelling adventure narrative that runs throughout the book.

To understand most of the challenges facing the West, you need to understand water, and this episode is a perfect place to start. Heather and I start our conversation by laying out some of the basics around water—terminology that you may have heard thrown around but never truly understood. She explains how water in the West is a property right separate from land, and she explains some of the common language used when discussing water. We chat about why the Colorado River is over-allocated, and how transbasin diversions have transformed much of the West into a very large and complex plumbing system. For the second half of the conversation, we discuss Heather's professional path as a writer, journalist, and former river guide. We talk about why she moved west, her first gig as a professional writer, and some of the tricks of the trade she uses to force herself to write. And as usual, we discuss favorite books, films, and favorite locations in the West.

As a guy who spends much of my day working with water and water rights, I can't thank Heather enough for writing this book. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did!

https://www.heatherhansman.com

More episode notes: https://mountainandprairie.com/heather-hansman/

TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • 4:15 - Events leading to writing the book
  • 7:30 - Overview of the river trip
  • 11:00 - Women pursuing adventure for adventure's sake
  • 15:00 - Water as a private property right
  • 16:30 - What does “over-allocation” mean?
  • 19:20 - How do we overcome water shortages?
  • 20:30 - Transbasin diversions and the West’s plumbing system
  • 23:00 - Ins-and-outs of dams
  • 26:00 - Importance of being open-minded to all sides of issues in the West
  • 29:40 - “Water flows uphill towards money”
  • 32:00 - True value of water
  • 33:45 - Potential water crisis
  • 35:00 - Reasons for optimism
  • 39:10 - Early years of river guiding
  • 42:30 - Pursuing a career in journalism
  • 44:30 - Benefits of journalism grad school
  • 45:45 - Process of writing and writing the book
  • 48:00 - Mentors
  • 50:50 - Becoming a full-time writer
  • 52:15 - Favorite books
  • 56:30 - Favorite films
  • 57:30 - Scariest event on the Green River trip
  • 1:02:30 - Favorite location in the West
  • 1:05:00 - Request of the podcast listeners
  • 1:06:30 - Connect with Heather online

Jul 09 2019

1hr 8mins

Play

David Gessner, Part 2 - Ambition, Art, and Arête

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If you're a regular Mountain & Prairie listener, then you are undoubtedly familiar with best-selling author David Gessner. He has written several of my all-favorite books, most notably "All the Wild That Remains: Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner, and the American West." He was also a past guest on this podcast almost exactly a year ago—a conversation that continues to receive excellent feedback and ranks as one of my most downloaded episodes. Between his writing, teaching, chairing the Creative Writing department at University of North Carolina Wilmington, and his role as a committed family man, David is a busy guy—so I greatly appreciate his sitting down to record a second episode.

We caught up during his annual trip to Colorado and covered a wide range of fascinating topics, all presented with his signature style of deeply considered insightfulness balanced with a hilarious sense of humor. We chatted about his ongoing work on his new book about public lands and Theodore Roosevelt, as well as a recent research trip in which he flew in a Cessna from Colorado to northwest Montana and many places in between. We discussed his thoughts on Theodore Roosevelt, and how his opinions of the man have evolved throughout this book project. David shares more insights into his writing process and how endurance and team sports have helped build his discipline and work ethic as an author. We spend a good amount of time discussing his book "Ultimate Glory," digging into the mindset that allowed David to pursue the sport of Ultimate Frisbee—and writing—with laser-focused obsession. We finish up by chatting about some of the best books he's read in the past year, as well as one relatively unknown author that everyone who loves the West should read.

This episode will obviously be of great interest to people who love the West, but I highly recommend it to anyone who is focused on a creative pursuit—writing, painting, poetry, sculpture, you name it. Thanks to his decades of daily grinding and obsession, David is a shining example of the discipline and commitment required to be a professional artist, and he's damn good at explaining it in a way that really sinks in.

If you haven't already, check out my first conversation with David as well—there's a link in the episode notes. But right now, enjoy this enlightening and hilarious conversation with David Gessner.

Episode Notes: https://mountainandprairie.com/david-gessner-2/

David Gessner, Part 1: https://mountainandprairie.com/david-gessner/

TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • 4:00 - The importance of Boulder, Colorado in David’s life and work
  • 9:00 - Endurance feats as a metaphor for writing
  • 11:00 - Importance of having massive goals
  • 12:45 - Importance of ambition
  • 15:00 - Current book project and trip to the West
  • 18:45 - Recent flight around the West
  • 20:00 - Examining TR in a modern context
  • 22:20 - Reluctance to become an activist
  • 25:50 - Changing perspectives on TR
  • 30:00 - Political cartooning
  • 32:00 - David on taking feedback from editors and others
  • 35:15 - Importance of constraints in writing and life
  • 39:50 - Arête
  • 42:15 - Finding camaraderie outside of team sports
  • 46:50 - Teaching the writing mindset
  • 50:50 - Best books David read this past year
  • 53:45 - Lesser known authors worth reading

Jun 25 2019

58mins

Play

Mike Phillips - Audacious Goals, Relentless Action

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Mike Phillips is the Director of the Turner Endangered Species Fund (“TESF”), an organization that he co-founded in 1997 with Ted Turner. Mike is also a Montana state senator representing District 31, which encompasses parts of his hometown of Bozeman and the surrounding area. In his work as an ecologist, Mike has spent much of his career studying and implementing the reintroduction of wolves throughout the United States. And in both science and politics, he’s never shied away from taking vocal leadership roles involving a wide range of important issues in southwest Montana and beyond.

Mike is very well known for his work with gray wolves in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and also for his efforts to reintroduce the species into western Colorado. But as you’ll hear in our conversation, wolves are just a small part of his work-- his overarching interest is the persistence of many imperiled species, with a particular emphasis on private land’s role in the recovery efforts. Whether considering the fate of monarch butterflies, cutthroat trout, or gray wolves, Mike’s approach is the same-- an action-oriented, science-backed strategy toward conserving biological diversity.

No matter where you stand on the issue of gray wolf reintroduction, I encourage you to give this conversation with Mike a very close listen. If you’re like me, you’ll be struck not only by his passion for ecology but by his deep reliance on non-emotional, quantitative scientific data. You’ll also notice his insatiable curiosity and his willingness to change his when presented with compelling new information. And finally, I think you’ll be impressed by his ability to discuss controversial topics such as wolves or politics in a respectful, considered tone that welcomes conversation and input from all sides of the issues.

I can’t thank Mike enough for taking the time out of his busy schedule to chat. This is an important conversation that will make you think, and Mike’s enthusiasm will likely motivate you to dedicate more of your time to a cause that is important to you.

https://mountainandprairie.com/mike-phillips/

http://tesf.org

TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • 3:30 - Beginnings of the Turner Endangered Species Fund
  • 9:30 - Mike’s background in ecology
  • 14:00 - TESF success stories
  • 17:30 - Wolf recovery in Colorado
  • 24:30 - Mike addresses the counterarguments to wolf recovery
  • 35:00 - Mike’s ability to not shy away from conflict—in ecology and politics
  • 39:30 - Decision to enter into politics
  • 43:30 - Importance of being mission and service oriented
  • 44:30 - Lessons learned from baseball
  • 47:30 - Importance of being able to “see around the next corner”
  • 48:30 - Private land’s role in conservation
  • 53:30 - Favorite books
  • 56:00 - Favorite films
  • 58:00 - Favorite location in the West
  • 1:00:00 - Request of the listeners

Jun 10 2019

1hr 4mins

Play

James Decker - Inspired Leadership in the New West

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James Decker is a farmer, attorney, and the Mayor of Stamford, TX, a tight-knit agricultural community located about 45 minutes north of Abilene. James grew up in Stamford, left for college and law school, but immediately returned home to begin his career-- his love of his hometown and desire to contribute to its success far outweighed any material success that could result from practicing law in a big city. With his service-oriented mindset and natural leadership abilities, James worked his way up from city council to Mayor, all while working as an attorney and growing his family.

Like so many devoted small-town mayors, James is driven by a deep desire to see his community thrive, despite the many forces that seem to be conspiring against small-town America. He approaches local politics with an inspiring amount of focus and determination, and he’s not afraid to seek out new ideas from a variety of sometimes-unexpected sources. His weekly essays are worth a read whether you live in Stamford or not-- he explores subjects ranging from the nuts and bolts of economic development to the writings of Wendell Berry to quotations from Theodore Roosevelt.

James is a shining example of the positive impact that one passionate person can have when he or she decides to lead with enthusiasm, optimism, and old-fashioned hard work. We covered a lot in our conversation, starting with his upbringing in Stamford and some of the history of the town. We talk about how he chose to return to Stamford after law school, despite having plenty of other opportunities elsewhere. We discuss the challenges facing rural America and how he chooses to approach economic development with an aggressive, proactive posture. We also talk about his mentors and heroes, and how his love of history and biographies inform his leadership. We obviously talk a lot about Wendell Berry and Theodore Roosevelt, as well as his favorite books and our shared love of the greatest movie of all time, Road House.

The West is full of many small agricultural towns, and many of those communities share the same opportunities and challenges facing Stamford. I think you’ll be inspired by this episode, and be sure to check the notes for links to everything we discuss. Enjoy!

https://mountainandprairie.com/james-decker/

https://mountainandprairie.com/bozeman/

TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • 4:15 - How James describes his work
  • 5:00 - Stamford, Texas described
  • 7:00 - Family history
  • 8:30 - Growing up in Stamford
  • 9:30 - Choice to return to Stamford
  • 15:30 - Local heroes and mentors
  • 18:00 - What creates community pride?
  • 22:30 - James’s weekly essays
  • 26:00 - Decision to run for mayor
  • 28:00 - Biggest surprise of being mayor
  • 31:30 - Biggest challenge facing Stamford
  • 35:30 - Economic opportunities in small towns
  • 39:45 - Sources of inspirations, Wendell Berry and TR
  • 45:15 - Seeking out different opinions
  • 47:00 - National and local politics
  • 51:45 - How kids have changed James’s perspective
  • 57:00 - Importance of aggression
  • 1:00:00 - Best Texas history books
  • 1:02:30 - Favorite books
  • 1:08:50 - Favorite films
  • 11:11:30 - Hobbies away from work
  • 1:13:30 - Favorite location in the West
  • 1:15:30 - Best advice ever received
  • 1:16:30 - Request of the listeners
  • 1:18:00 - Connect with James

May 24 2019

1hr 21mins

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Logan Maxwell Hagege - Artistic Evolution

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If you love the West and you love art, then you are likely already a fan of Logan Maxwell Hagege. He is a renowned painter whose depictions of the people and landscapes of the West have won him acclaim around the globe. His work is as stunning as it is unique, and when you see one of Logan’s pieces, there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind as to exactly who painted it. He uses bold colors and striking composition to create a style that is entirely his own-- a style that continues to evolve, even after all of his success.

Logan was born and raised in California, and he has been an obsessive artist for as long as he can remember. Whether drawing, playing music, surfing, or painting, Logan has always gone “all in” on his creative pursuits. And as you’ll hear, Logan’s tendency towards obsession is fueled by a tireless work ethic and deep commitment to continuing to grow as an artist-- he is always pushing himself and refuses to rest on his laurels. That’s not to say that Logan doesn’t suffer from artistic blocks from time to time. But when he does, rather than wallow, he’s developed hard-nosed, time-tested methods of summoning creativity and continuing to push forward.

I’ve been a fan of Logan’s for many years, so I was thrilled to get the opportunity to chat with him. We covered a lot, including his childhood creative obsessions and how his parents nurtured his artistic streak. We talk about his formal art education, and how he made the jump from art student to professional artist. Logan describes the evolution of his work, and how his early paintings are almost unrecognizable when compared to his current style. We chat about how he maintains focus after so many years of professional art, and he describes specific ways that he pushes himself to continue to evolve as an artist. He explains how he knows when a painting is finished, and how having a son has changed his routine and outlook. And as usual, we discuss favorite books, films, and the best advice he’s ever received.

There’s a ton of useful information in this episode so be sure to check the episode notes for links to everything. Enjoy!

http://loganhagege.com

https://mountainandprairie.com/logan-hagege/

TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • 4:00 - How Logan describes his work
  • 6:30 - Logan’s childhood artistic endeavors
  • 8:15 - Art education
  • 10:00 - Transition from art school to professional artist
  • 12:15 - Old work compared to new work
  • 15:00 - Transition to a new style of painting
  • 16:45 - Source of Logan’s independence
  • 19:15 - Importance of work ethic
  • 20:30 - How he keeps the artistic motivation alive
  • 21:20 - When the southwest became a focus
  • 23:15 - Logan’s daily creative schedule
  • 25:00 - How parenthood affected Logan’s outlook
  • 26:30 - Logan’s studio spaces
  • 28:00 - The inspiration for Logan’s works
  • 29:45 - How to know when a painting is done
  • 32:00 - Thoughts on looking at others’ artwork
  • 35:00 - What Logan listens to while painting
  • 36:30 - The business of art
  • 38:35 - Mentors and heroes
  • 41:00 - Books on creativity
  • 42:30 - Other non-art activities
  • 46:30 - Favorite books
  • 48:30 - Daily rituals and getting to work
  • 51:00 - More favorite books
  • 52:00 - Favorite films
  • 54:30 - Most powerful outdoor experience
  • 58:45 - Best advice ever received
  • 1:03:30 - Request of the listeners

May 10 2019

1hr 8mins

Play

Mary Rondepierre - Melding Work, Play, and Purpose

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Mary Rondepierre is a fourth-generation Montanan, avid sportswoman, and a public lands advocate who has explored our nation’s wild places from coast to coast. She is also the Marketing and Experiences Manager at Filson, one of the most renowned and respected outdoor apparel brands anywhere. Currently based in Seattle, Mary has managed to combine her personal and professional passions into an exciting and rewarding career that melds together high-performance business with conservation and time in wide-open spaces.

As a child, Mary grew up in a household that respected the outdoors and valued rich experiences over accumulating endless amounts of “stuff.” Her father worked as a commercial fisherman and logger, wearing-- you guessed it-- Filson gear to his jobs in the often-brutal environments of Alaska and the West. Mary headed to Oregon State for college, and soon after graduation entered the apparel business, eventually landing at Filson. Since then, she’s worn many hats at the company and now works closely with Filson’s partnership with Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, helping to produce their “Campfire Stories” events around the country.

If you’re like me, love the outdoors, and own a ridiculously large stash of gear, odds are you’ve dreamed about working at a well-known outdoor apparel company. Mary’s career serves as an excellent case study for anyone interested in pursuing this path, and she reveals how she managed to land such a dream job. We talk about her education and early career, as well as her decision to work retail at Filson to “get her foot in the door.” We discuss the critical lessons she learned from working on the sales floor, and how those retail experiences inform and enhance her current role at Filson. We chat about an epic road trip she took with her husband in which they visited public lands from coast to coast, and we talk about how her upbringing in rural Montana instilled a deep love and respect of public lands. As usual, we discuss favorite books, places in the West, and the best advice she’s ever received. Enjoy!

https://mountainandprairie.com/mary-rondepierre/

https://mountainandprairie.com/support/

https://mountainandprairie.com/bozeman/

TOPICS COVERED:

  • 4:30 - How Mary describes her work
  • 6:30 - History of Filson
  • 9:40 - Holding high standards
  • 11:45 - Outdoor apparel marketing
  • 13:30 - Partnership with Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
  • 18:10 - How Mary began working in outdoor apparel
  • 19:00 - Mary’s dad’s secret camps!
  • 20:00 - Family history in Montana
  • 22:55 - Childhood outdoor adventures
  • 24:00 - Decision to leave Montana
  • 26:30 - First job out of college
  • 28:30 - First job at Filson
  • 30:10 - Experience working retail
  • 33:30 - Filson’s “Unfailing Goods”
  • 35:30 - Humility gained from retail
  • 38:00 - Advice to recent college grads
  • 41:00 - Thoughts on reading business books versus real-world experience
  • 44:10 - Epic public lands roadtrip
  • 49:30 - Proposal story!
  • 52:00 - Lessons learned from the road trip
  • 55:00 - Favorite spots in the PNW
  • 59:30 - Awesome TR side conversation
  • 1:01:45 - Mentors
  • 1:04:30 - Favorite books
  • 1:09:00 - Most powerful outdoor experience
  • 1:12:45 - Favorite location in the West
  • 1:13:30 - Best advice ever received
  • 1:14:30 - Request of the listeners
  • 1:16:00 - Connect with Mary

May 03 2019

1hr 19mins

Play

iTunes Ratings

454 Ratings
Average Ratings
443
6
3
2
0

5 Stars

By C_Rawson - Jan 24 2020
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I’ve been listening for years, and am finally leaving a (much deserved) 5 star review. One of my favorite podcasts with a wide variety of western figures highlighted through thoughtful interviews.

Best Podcast in the West!

By KaileVee - Jan 06 2020
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Ed interviews some notable characters of the west. He is a voracious reader and conservationist. Always enjoyable and varied- this is one of my favorite podcasts to return to time and time again! 🏔