Landscape-level Conservation and Telling Environment Stories Better
Conserving the landscape for greater sage grouse does more than protect one odd-looking bird – it preserves an ecosystem teeming with wildlife. The grouse is a classic umbrella species, requiring habitat that’s also ideal for elk, mule deer, antelope, sage sparrows and burrowing owls. The group visited Trapper’s Point, site of historic mountain man rendezvous, which offered panoramic views of one of North America’s great wildlife migration routes, where pronghorn antelope, elk, mule deer and even moose move between their seasonal ranges. We heard from representatives of The Nature Conservancy, BLM, Wyoming Wildlife Federation, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, and Wyoming Fish & Game.
Following our visit to Trapper's Point, we headed to Idaho's Swan Valley, where we spent the afternoon talking about digital media tools, and how better to convey the information we were gathering on the trip. Environment and resource stories are some of the hardest to fit into the usual journalism mold. Or, as our esteemed founder always put it, “they don’t break, they ooze.” The group used the greater sage-grouse story as a jumping-off point to discuss some of the difficulties of doing “good” environment, energy and resource journalism; brainstorm ideas for how to cover some of the stories we encountered on our trip; proffer examples of clear, nuanced and powerful storytelling; and share tips and tricks for getting the most out of our own reporting and writing.