Jessie Wiese on private land conservation, diverse voices & trust
Updated: Dec 7, 2022
Where do you live?
I live in Bozeman, Montana.
Where do you work or what is your profession?
I work for the Montana Land Reliance as the southwest manager. I work on new easement projects and development.
What do you do for fun?
I hike, bike, fish, read, ski, and hang out with my dog.
How are you connected to the Ruby Valley?
I’m connected through my work. Montana Land Reliance has done a lot of really great conservation work in the Ruby Valley. We are working on quite a few projects there right now. One of the planned gifts Montana Land Reliance received included a ranch on the Ruby River, so I spend quite a bit of time there at Ruby Habitat Foundation¹ on the Woodson Ranch. My connection to the community is definitely through the conservation work that I’ve done in the valley and that really amazing planned gift.
Why are you a member of the RVSA?
I think it’s really important to have diverse voices at the table when it relates to natural resource issues and complex problems on the landscape. A diversity of opinions is important for creative solutions, so it’s an honor to be a part of a group that has a lot of respect and trust for each other and is open to diverse opinions.
"A diversity of opinions is important for creative solutions, so it’s an honor to be a part of a group that has a lot of respect and trust for each other and is open to diverse opinions."
What about the vision and goals of the RVSA most resonates with you?
I really appreciate that we look at the landscape as a whole and then we look at where the RVSA can be most useful — on public or private land, on management or conservation, or any problem solving. Whether that relates to land conservation, the way we’re working with the Forest Service, trying to get more range riders, or working to draft a letter that could impact how estate planning looks in the future, I feel very aligned with all of the parts and pieces of the RVSA’s mission.
What do you see as some of the key accomplishments of the RVSA?
One sort of “soft accomplishment” is that we all really care about each other and there is a tremendous amount of trust and open communication. That may seem like something that shouldn’t be at the top of my list, but it exceeds any other accomplishment because those other accomplishments won’t happen if communication and trust isn't there. Sometimes I think it's also less about what takes place after we take a stance on an issue or try to move a plan forward. It can be the actual drafting and opinion sharing from a diverse group that is the meaningful accomplishment — and being looked at as a model for that kind of collaborative work.
What do you look forward to while working with the group?
Because my professional career is in land conservation, I’m really excited about mapping out a plan for private land conservation in the Ruby Valley.
What do you think others could learn from the RVSA?
It takes time and it takes good leadership to build trust. I think the group of landowners in the Ruby Valley being really open to all of our opinions is really special and appreciated. They have a strong relationship with each other, but they are also open to seeing each of us as individuals and representatives of our organizations in an open-minded way.
What have you been surprised by in your work with the RVSA?
That a small group of concerned citizens really can make a big difference.
What is your hope for the future of the Ruby Valley?
Vibrant rural communities and open and healthy landscapes.
What is your personal theme and/or walk song?
State of Mind, Clint Black
¹ Ruby Habitat Foundation is a non-profit organization and working ranch dedicated to preserving and enhancing the natural resources, and social and economic makeup of the Ruby Valley and southwest Montana. https://rubyhabitat.org/