Women in Audubon Conservation Ranching: Colorado and Wyoming | Montana Audubon

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Women in Audubon Conservation Ranching: Colorado and Wyoming

Rancher Name: Sarah Gleason

Ranch: Gleason Bison

Location: Hesperus, CO\

Website: https://gleasonbison.com/

What is your favorite bird and why?
I have two. The first is the Turkey Vulture…which is my spirit animal. The second is the Ferruginous Hawk. We have one that nests every year in our southern pastures, and I love watching her and her fledglings hunt the pastures in summer evenings.
What do you wish more people knew about conservation on your ranch?
We use an outcome-based methodology to measure the work we are doing. Rather than a practice-based approach, Ecological Outcome Verification (EOV) is outcome-based and provides empirical data on whether or not the land is regenerating. I feel this is very important, both as a land and livestock manager, to be able to show data that supports learning and the story of the land.
Any advice for women looking to pursue a career in ranching?
No dream is too big, and nothing is ‘unrealistic’. Go for it. With the right people and enough human creativity, anything is possible. Also, the people who critique you, tease you, give you a hard time, etc., will be just as valuable on your journey as the ones that build you up –value both.
Where is the worst smelling place you’ve been?
Cleaning out the grease trap in a sushi restaurant in Edwards, CO (outside Vail, CO). I waited tables at the restaurant, and it was a deep cleaning day. The. Worse. Smell.
Support Gleason Bison:
Gleason Bison has partnered with Audubon Certified rancher-retailer REP Provisions to sell Sarah’s bison products nationwide! Click here and have a Colorado Bison Box shipped to your door.

Rancher Name: Terry Henderson

Audubon Certified Bird Friendly Ranch: Cougar Valley Ranch

Location: Shawnee, WY

Website: https://www.facebook.com/cougarvalley.ranch.3

What is your favorite bird and why?
I love the Rocky Mountain (Western) Meadowlark. I eagerly watch for it every spring because when I hear that beautiful song, I know spring is truly returning (although in varying degrees of pushing back winter). I can hear them singing all summer long, while I am outdoors, and it lifts my spirits whenever I hear it. I always look to see if I can spot the male (the singers).
What’s been your biggest work-related conservation success?
When my husband and I started ranching together, we had one portion of over 3,000 acres that only had one drilled well and a handful of stock ponds that usually dried up by the end of the summer in our high plains desert environment, with only a single cross (or dividing) fence. Over the past 24 years, we have built seven fences to subdivide pastures and drilled 11 water wells to provide better range management and water for wildlife and livestock. We are no longer dependent on dried-up stock ponds.
Who’s been your most influential woman mentor?
I would have to say my mother. She was a strong leader in the family of 10. Although she came from agricultural roots, she spent her adult life away from there. She taught good work ethics, moral values, a strong love of family and friends, true faith in God, and to always be a true lady, even in the midst of tragedy, turmoil, and chaos.
What’s your dream job?
When I was in college, I worked as apart-time secretary and in foodservice. That taught me I would never thrive in an office/enclosed environment. My dream job has been being a cowboy all my adult life. I feel sorry for those who cannot live their dream jobs.
Support Cougar Valley Ranch:
Terry sells her beef locally to neighbors for pick up in Glenrock or Chugwater, Wyoming and accepts orders in October for finished beef in June. You can place your order by emailing Terry at [email protected].

Rancher Name: Adrienne Larrew

Audubon Certified Bird Friendly Ranch: Kiowa Creek Ranch | Corner Post Meats

Location: Colorado Springs, CO

Website: https://cornerpostmeats.com/

Podcast: https://www.boisestatepublicradio.org/podcast/womens-work(releases March 16th)

What is your favorite bird and why?
When we were ranching on the Wind River in Wyoming, there was a Bald Eagle that flew the river every morning in the winter. It was mesmerizing to watch.
What’s been your biggest work-related conservation success?
Connecting the dots that eating is an agricultural act. Your food budget should have a conservation value. I discuss this quite a bit with NPR’s Ashley Ahearn on the Women’s Work podcast. Women’s Work : NPR
Any advice for women looking to pursue a career in ranching?
Be you, be authentic. Whether you are a woman or man, rancher or banker. Be you, be authentic. You don’t have to prove that you are as strong as or better than. Just be you, be authentic. Let YOUR superpower shine.
If you had to live in a different state, what would it be?
I lived in Colorado until I was 21. Once I graduated college, I bounced all over the Rocky Mountain region working on different ranches and lived in five different states. I’d happily move back to Wyoming or Montana if the circumstance were right.
Support Kiowa Creek Ranch:
With just about every cut and beef product you can imagine, Corner Post Meats ships beef raised on Kiowa Creek Ranch anywhere in the US. Click here to take a gander now!

Rancher Name: Jen Livsey

Audubon Certified Bird Friendly Ranch: Flying Diamond Ranch

Location: Kit Carson, CO

Website: https://flyingdiamondcattleranch.com/

What is your favorite bird and why?
I’ve always thought the Long-billed Curlew is the coolest bird we get on our ranch.
What do you wish more people knew about conservation on your ranch?
Prioritizing the health of our land so that we can give our children and grandchildren something worth being part of is ingrained in every member of my family (we are 100% family-owned). We love seeing birds and all kinds of wildlife flock to our ranch because we know their presence is an honest compliment.
If you could enjoy a meal with any woman, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
My great grandma -I would love to talk to her as an adult and hear about her life marrying into ranching life in the middle of nowhere. She was also a total babe and could give me some fashion tips.
If you had to live in a different state, what would it be?
Well, I’m married to a Texan and went there for grad school, so I could do it again. I find Texans’ state pride very endearing.
Support Flying Diamond Ranch:
Another national retailer, you can support Jen and her family no matter where you live! Check out their online store here.

Rancher Name: Deirdre Macnab

Ranch: 4M Ranch

Location: Rio Blanco County, CO

Website: https://www.facebook.com/4MranchColorado/

What is your favorite bird and why?
Barred Owl: Its plaintive cry makes your heart expand and the world stop.
What conservation projects are you working on right now?
Managed grazing. Soil, soil, soil. We continue to learn as we manage our cows in both pasture and dry upland range for greater water retention in the soil, healthier forage, more soil building legumes. By forgoing fertilizer and weed spray, we are learning how to use grazing to improve the health of the soil, the health of our cows, and the overall vitality of the ecosystem. Last year, we released about 100,000 special beetles to hold back the explosion of exotic invasive plants like leafy spurge and tamarisk instead of herbicides. These beetles take years to test by the Colorado Insectary in Palisades, Colorado, to make sure they are specific only to the invasive weeds targeted.
Any advice for women looking to pursue a career in ranching?
Develop the hide of a rhinoceros, and the curiosity of a 2-year-old.
What’s your dream job?
I have it, ranching.
Support 4M Ranch:
Located in Rio Blanco County in Northwestern Colorado, you can support 4M Ranch by calling Deirdre at 970.665.8744 to place an order for pickup. All orders come with a complimentary ranch tour and one night stay in a 4M Ranch cabin!

Rancher Name: Marissa Taylor

Ranch: Lone Tree Ranch

Location: Lone Tree, WY

Website: https://www.lonetree-ranch.com or https://www.parkerpastures.com/ to purchase beef

What is your favorite bird and why?
Golden Eagle. I love seeing them arrive for winter. They are one of the few animals who winter with us, and the company is much appreciated.
What’s been your biggest work-related conservation success?
We installed 10 time-lapse cameras to observe changes on the landscape and the impact of our management over time. We are moving into our third year and starting to have enough data or photos to see change year-to-year. The feedback is incredible because differences become so apparent when we look at the exact same photo or video year after year. Our eye and our memory fail to capture the subtle changes of our landscape over time.
Who’s been your most influential woman mentor?
Jen Livsey of Flying Diamond Ranch, an Audubon Certified bird friendly ranch in Colorado.
What’s your dream job?
My girls found a Dr. Seuss ‘My Book about ME’ in my parents’ library. It is a book I filled out when I was five and my response to ‘When I Grow Up, I Want to Be’ was, farmer, doctor, horse rider, rancher, artist, dog trainer. I’m certain ranching is the only profession where I can be all of these things.
Support Lone Tree Ranch:
You can find Marissa’s beef at Audubon Certified Parker Pastures available for both pickup in Gunnison, Colorado and shipping nationwide. Try a subscription box, a beef share, or individual cuts–they have it all!

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