All photos by Jeff Hunter. To the right: BLM botanist Martin Oliver and California Native Plant Society botanist Julie Anne Hopkins work with university students on identifying endemic plants in a proposed conifer treatment area in the Bodie Hills of California.
On the eastern edge of the beautiful Sierra Nevada range in California, one of the Sage Grouse Initiative’s partners, the Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership, is working with a variety of public and private landowners to improve habitat for sage grouse.
The area on the state line between California and Nevada is home to a special breed of grouse known as the Bi-State Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of greater sage-grouse. In April, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its landmark decision not to list the Bi-State population under the Endangered Species Act, due in large part to the impressive results of proactive partnerships in the region.
One example of how conservation partnerships bring people together to protect sage grouse and their unique habitat is the Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership’s summer field intensive program. During two weeks in July, two dozen university students pursuing careers in natural resource conservationparticipated in a service-learning project that had big benefits for birds, the participants, and sagebrush habitat in eastern California.
A student from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo gives telemetry a try while experts from the BLM Bishop Field office provide some tips.
Jeff Hunter, director of the Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership, wrote the following summary about the students’ work in the field last month:
Thanks to many project partners who made this experience possible, we were able to hit the sweet spot at the intersection of education, fun and productivity. The students delivered the following on-the-ground results:
“The Sage Grouse Restoration Project was an awesome hands-on and gratifying experience. It is the best to see many different agencies and private landowners coming together to improve the chances of survival for the sage grouse.” – Laura Heather Yu, UCLA
“My week with the Bodie Hills program was fantastic. It’s rare that we are given these opportunities to do really good things with really good people.” – Amber Overholser, Doctoral Candidate at UNLV
“The two weeks with the students was a highlight of the year for me. We learned, laughed, built community, and accomplished a great deal out on the landscape. It simply doesn’t get any better than that.” – Jeff Hunter, Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership
Read SGI’s ‘Featured Friend’ story: Bishop Field Office of the BLM
Contact Jeff Hunter for more information
Learn about the Bi-State sage grouse