Announcing the 2015 Sagebrush Country Institute

Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, Colorado, and Idaho

April 6-13, 2015

Sagebrush Country. Wyoming's Wind River Range.

Sagebrush Country. Wyoming's Wind River Range.

Inviting applications for our 2015 Sagebrush Country Institute

The story of the greater sage grouse is a tale as big as the West itself. While much focus has been placed on the fate of this singularly charismatic bird, its survival hinges on the conservation of the sagebrush ecosystems it calls home. It is habitat that spans parts of 11 Western states and two Canadian provinces. It is also habitat that is home to just about every natural resource, energy and environment issue under the sun. 

Cattle ranching. Wind farms. Oil and gas exploration. Gold mining. Urban sprawl. Wildfires. Invasive species. Wild horses. You name it, it's happening out in sagebrush country. 

With a push to have the Greater Sage Grouse listed under the Endangered Species Act, folks across the West have joined together to see if they can, instead, get both the bird and the bush in good standing, turning sage grouse habitat into a landscape that works for the bird, the countless other species of plants and animals that call it home, and the human beings who live and work there. 

In April of 2015, IJNR will explore this story in a multi-state expedition. Journalists participating on the Sagebrush Country Institute will:

- Visit a lek at pre-dawn to see the elusive bird's annual mating rituals.

- Meet with ranchers in Colorado who believe "what's good for the bird is good for the herd," and work to institute best management practices to keep habitat intact.

- Head to Wyoming to talk about oil and gas exploration, wind power projects, and efforts to mitigate impacts of both on sage grouse habitat.

- Visit one of the West's biggest migration corridors, as we explore what sagebrush habitat means for mule deer, elk, antelope and more.

- Tour invasive species eradication efforts in southern Idaho, and learn to tell the "good" sagebrush habitat from the "bad." 

- Talk with scientists about the latest research on the bird's biology and life history, including robotic, um, mating decoys!

- Hear about grass-roots collaborative efforts between ranchers, hunters, conservationists and state agencies to stop the decline of sage grouse and build better habitat.

- Explore mining in Nevada, including environmental mitigation efforts to see what one of the West's oldest industries looks like in an era of "regulate" not "rush." 

- Explore the issue of America's "wild horses" and where they fit in the sagebrush ecosystem.

IJNR's 2015 Sagebrush Country Institute will be an epic, week-long adventure exploring the stories of land use in the West. 

Journalists will see the places and talk to the people who are trying to determine the very future of the West as we know it. Can we have a collaborative "working landscape" that allows for human industry and sage grouse survival? Or will lawsuits to get the bird listed as "endangered" halt those endeavors? 

Whatever the outcome, journalists on the Sagebrush Country Institute will be poised to cover it. 


The application deadline for this institute has passed. 

Follow our progress as we plan and conduct this Institute at #IJNR_sagebrush.
And follow us all year as we celebrate our 20th anniversary, at #IJNR20