Painting by Loretta Domaszewski, republished here with permission.
The following story is by Julia Babcock with the Oregon Sage-grouse Conservation Partnership.
My father worked in the genetics lab in the 1970’s. It gave him the sense that anything was possible; that humans and nature could collaborate to shape both DNA and destiny. Growing up, my father told me that my life’s work was to bring back the dodo bird from extinction; to right the wrong of history where a docile and trusting bird was decimated by human cruelty and greed. No small feat, right?
As I evolved in my career, it wasn’t re-creating a species by learning genetic sequencing that drove me to study natural resource management, but rather the injustice of extinction and the fact that human behavior could alter the course of life on our planet. When I joined the National Policy Consensus Center (NPCC) at Portland State University, an early assignment taught me how complicated the relationship between humans and nature can be. A new journey and a strong tie to another strange bird began. I guess you could call the sage-grouse the Dodo of the Desert.