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Wild Idea Buffalo Blog

April 22, 2014

Celebrating The Earth From The Ground Up

Spring is the easiest time of year to celebrate the earth because burgeoning beauty is everywhere. Our connection to our environment is heightened. For the first time in many months there is color in our gardens and in the trees. Birds flit between branches like sparks of blue, red, and yellow. Warmth and the promise of plenty begin with the newly powerful sunshine being absorbed by Earth.

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February 03, 2014


At a recent bison conference, the topic of GMO’s came up. The biggest concern was the potential, future requirement for GMO transparency on product labels. This includes meat labels from animals fed GMO grains. The reason this was such a…

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December 05, 2013

Thinking Like A Mountain

The Sunday after Thanksgiving, just as the sun was lightening the sky, I sat in my pickup truck on an enormous flatland above the Cheyenne River.  I had just finished flying my gyrfalcon, Sally, and she was happily having her breakfast on the ground beside the truck where I could keep an eye on her and frighten off predators that might see her and move in for an easy meal.

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November 11, 2013

National Bison Day Keynote

It’s an honor to speak to you here at the National Museum of the Bison. Good to see old friends and colleagues in the audience. It’s like a homecoming: Federal and state biologists, TNC folks, bison producers and supporters that I’ve known for decades. Good to see you all.  And a special tip of the hat to Susan Ricci, who started the museum here in Rapid City - what a year and half ago. It took a lot of guts and she’s done a great job of explaining the Bison’s story. If you haven’t already looked around at all this information, do it before you leave. Thanks Susan, this is a real service to all of us who are connected to bison.

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October 11, 2013

Basing Decisions On The Unknown

I am imagining a call to the United States Park Service where the phone simply rings and rings: nobody home at one of our countries premier land-managing agencies! How can this be? What could bring us to such a state of affairs?

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September 12, 2013

Conversations with the Vegetable Guy

This is a short keynote address given to the Mill City Farmer’s Market in Minneapolis on Sept. 8, 2013.

A dozen years ago, during a semester when I was teaching at Carleton College, I wandered down to the Co-op to see what it was all about. I had never been inside a food co-op and I was curious to know what drove the people who worked there. I found the vegetable guy way in the back stocking the coolers. He had been one of the founding members and he knew a lot about food, the food industry, and how tough it was to compete with the factory farms.

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August 06, 2013

Waiting for Summer Rain

Last night, the wind woke me about 12:30. It whipped the cottonwoods and I lay there hoping to hear it mix with the eerie, welcome lashing of rain against the roof.  It has been a good summer, but if we could just get another couple decent rains - just another inch or two while the days were still sweltering - there would be grass as the ranch moved into autumn.

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July 12, 2013

The Strenuous Life

We harvested buffalo just north of the small southwestern North Dakota town of Bowman. It was our first time harvesting in North Dakota, and we drove up the night before to meet the Director of North Dakota’s Meat Inspection Program and her Senior Inspector. Though a lot of paperwork had passed between my desk and theirs, it was the first time they had actually walked through the Mobile Harvester. They liked what they saw and we spent an hour and a half ironing out the slight differences between South Dakota’s meat inspection regulations and North Dakota’s.

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June 06, 2013

The Displaced Bison

Last winter, I wrote a monthly musing that talked about a group of buffalo that had recently been gathered on a cattle ranch in south Florida. A buffalo producer that we work with here in South Dakota had sold some buffalo to that ranch, and since I had driven around those buffalo as they happily grazed on big pastures of native grass in northwestern South Dakota, I wondered where they ended up and how they were doing. My brother and his wife have a retirement condominium in Fort Myers and during a visit, when I got bored with all that humid sunshine and sea food, I set out to try to find that lost tribe of South Dakota buffalo.

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May 02, 2013

Frog Symphony

I have heard Chorus Frogs every spring for my entire life, but I never saw one until May of 2008. I was following Mike Forsberg around southeastern Montana in search of stories and photographs for Mike’s book, Great Plains: America’s Lingering Wild. I can’t remember what our objective was, but we were in the middle of an enormous pasture and we were walking. It takes a long time to walk anywhere with Forsberg because he stops and looks at everything. When you walk with any good photographer what you are really doing is wandering.

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