Where do you live?
I live in Bozeman, Montana.
Where do you work or what is your profession?
I work for Greater Yellowstone Coalition (GYC) as the Montana Conservation Coordinator.
I focus on the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem throughout Montana. Anywhere in the state of Montana that's in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, I'm there. This includes areas like the Centennial Valley, the Ruby Valley, the Paradise Valley, and even over towards Red Lodge. And I'm speaking of it as valleys, but really it encompasses the mountains and the prairies as well.
The four main focus areas we work on at GYC are reducing predator conflict, wildlife migration, water, and climate.
What do you do for fun?
I love to ski. I love to run.
I have two boys in college so if they are home, we're off in the woods backpacking and camping. I also am an angler, but I mostly like to float down a river.
How are you connected to the Ruby Valley or surrounding area?
The Ruby Valley is a place I've known for more than a decade. I've worked there, I've played there, I've enjoyed seeing the water and the mountains and the Gravelly Range.
I've spent a lot of time recreating there and working there. I'm excited to learn more and to get to know the people better.
Why are you a member of the RVSA?
As the Montana Conservation Coordinator for GYC, I know that the Ruby Valley is an important place for grizzly bears and for ranchers.
And GYC wants to have a role working through predator conflict. I have the privilege of representing the organization.
But on a personal note, I also know how important ranchers are to the communities throughout Montana. I look forward to further engaging with the communities in the Ruby Valley.
"The RVSA vision is comprehensive; focusing on wildlife, water, rangeland, grazing, and development."
What about the vision and goals of the RVSA most resonate with you?
I love that the RVSA vision is comprehensive; focusing on wildlife, water, rangeland, grazing, and development. I think all of that is important for the health of the ecosystem and the health of the people in the Ruby Valley.
What do you see as some of our key accomplishments?
From my two meetings, I think the fact that everybody shows up and shares their honest opinion is the biggest accomplishment of the group.
Having ranchers and agency partners and representatives of politicians and nonprofit organizations all coming and sitting at the table. There have been 20 to 25 people every month.
To me, that's the biggest accomplishment of the group.
"I have two boys in college so if they are home, we're off in the woods backpacking and camping."
What do you look forward to while working with this group?
I look forward to getting to know the valley better just from an ecological standpoint. I also look forward to building relationships with the locals and the ranchers to better understand their needs and how they contribute to conservation.
What do you think others could learn from the RVSA?
I think others could learn the value of showing up, speaking honestly, and listening to others.
"Historically, conservation and agriculture are kind of seen as being in opposite corners, but through these conversations, I've been surprised at how often we're in the same place on issues."
What do you want to be sure people know about the RVSA?
I think it's an honest group of people coming together to solve big issues. The RVSA works to support continued ranching, conservation, and the Montana way of life.
What have you been surprised by in your work with the RVSA?
I think I’ve been surprised at how often we actually agree on things. Sometimes I think, “oh, this is going to be a tricky conversation,” and it's not actually. Historically, conservation and agriculture are kind of seen as being in opposite corners, but through these conversations, I've been surprised at how often we're in the same place on issues. It’s a cool opportunity to realize that we share a lot in common in terms of what we want to see on the ground and what matters to us.
What is your hope for the future of the Ruby Valley?
I hope in 10 years there are grizzly bears and ranchers in the Ruby Valley.
What is your personal theme song or walk song?
River – Joni Mitchell
*Sally joined the RVSA in early 2023. She’s lived in Montana for 22 years raising her family and working to conserve special places in this great state.