Wild Idea Buffalo Company is a bison ranching business that exists to conserve and restore the prairie ecosystem of the northern Great Plains. With no roundup, and an innovative field harvesting method, they care for the well-being of the bison, and as much as possible allow them to express their co-evolved behaviours.
You can follow their blog and order their bison meat at wildideabuffalo.com
In this episode, we continue our investigation of the Great Plains Bison with a visit to 777 Bison Ranch near Rapid City, South Dakota. Owner Mimi Hilenbrandt and fellow operations manager Moritz Espy gave us a tour of the pastures and corrals. Along the way, we discussed differences and similarities between bison and cattle, the possibility of a buffalo commons, their business model and how it affects the bison, and how their decades of Holistic Management and bison grazing have led to regeneration of the prairie landscape. We also discussed a few of the complex questions the bison forces us to wrestle with.
This webinar was a year in the dreaming and ended up being even more than I’d imagined. It’s long, so take a break if you need, but I highly recommend watching through to the end.
You can see the trust and friendship forming and I am excited to see what comes of these folks and more working together to enable wild bison to repopulate the Great Plains in a way that works in the greater holistic context. Continue reading “Wild Bison and Holistic Management: A Collaborative Conversation”
Tuesday March 5th, 1-3ishpm PST
Join us for this live webinar, where we will explore possible synergies between wildlife advocacy and regenerative ranching with Daniela Ibarra-Howell, director of the Savory Institute (upcoming Episode 8), and Mike Mease, co-founder of the Buffalo Field Campaign (Episode 4).
In our visit with Mark Tilsen in the Black Hills for Episode 5 about Tanka Bar, our interview happened to take place right before a prayer walk to a proposed gold mining site up the creek from Mark’s place. As I began to include this synchronous content in the Tanka Bar episode, I realized that it lit up a section of the rabbit hole that needed it’s own episode for a proper introduction, so I created this bonus episode to explore some of the complexities that emerged while looking at gold mining in the Black Hills. It includes another historical introduction, audio from the prayer walk, and recordings from phone conversations with Mark Tilsen and Cheryl Rowe of Dakota Rural Action.
In this episode, the second of four in this series on the bison in the Great Plains, we visit the lands of the Oglala Lakota in the Black Hills of Western South Dakota, where we met with Mark Tilsen, cofounder of Tanka Bar. Tanka Bar, a company owned and operated by the Oglala Lakota of the Pine Ridge Reservation, created the first commercial bison meat and fruit bar based on one of their sacred foods, called wasna. The mission of Tanka Bar is to restore the Pine Ridge landscape and economy by bringing back the buffalo.
Before the interview with Mark, I also share a bit more history of the time of the buffalo slaughter. I feel it’s useful to have some understanding of the creation of the wounds that Tanka Bar is working to help heal.
Welcome to Muse Ecology, where we hear some of the voices and grooves of people and place as we make our way back to harmony. In a time of rising dissonance it is important that we share the stories of the reharmonization process so that we can live more into that narrative together. Scientists, musicians, ecologists, thinkers and doers, often all in the same person. Through their voices, and sometimes their music, we will explore some of the key complexities of this time on Earth as we all ask together how we might reintegrate with the song of life.
I am currently releasing a five-part series beginning to explore humankind’s relation to the bison in the Great Plains of North America, and after that I’m extremely excited to launch the second year of Muse Ecology. I have collected much inspiring, thought-provoking content that I have been recording and am excited to share it with you. I would love to be able to spend more time and resources creating these episodes so I can release them more frequently. To enable you to help me do this, I’ve started a Patreon page where folks can pick any monthly amount to contribute. All contributions are greatly appreciated. Click here to become a patron.
You can subscribe to the email notification list on the right of the screen or subscribe through your podcast service to hear about new episodes when they are released. Upcoming episodes include the All-One mission of Dr. Bronner, the ancient music carried by the potent songcatcher Peia, the culture and ecology of fire, the return of beaver, the relations between ecological function and climate, and much more.
We also had our first Muse Ecology live webinar in March 2019. Mike Mease of the Buffalo Field Campaign and Daniella Howard, director of the Savory Institute, discussed common ground between wildlife advocacy and regenerative land management, and participants chimed in from around the world. You can find the Youtube video below.
This episode of Muse Ecology is the first in this four part series beginning to explore humankind’s relation to the bison in the Great Plains of North America. This buffalo series features diverse voices of folks involved in the bison’s return that Alison and I met on our buffalo investigation journey in February 2018. While the next three episodes feature entrepreneurs (Tanka Bar) and ranchers (777 Bison Ranch and Wild Idea Buffalo Company) who are working to restore bison to the landscape, this first episode features voices of wildlife advocates who see the buffalo as a wild elder whose right to roam long precedes our recent human constructs.
The first visit on our buffalo journey was with the Buffalo Field Campaign, a volunteer-run organization that exists to defend the dignity and freedom of the last continuously wild herd of buffalo in North America, in Yellowstone National Park. Founded over 20 years ago by Lakota Grandmother Rosalie Littlethunder and videographer Mike Mease, through documentation and advocacy, the BFC seeks to promote awareness of the story and management of the Yellowstone bison, and to influence policy to allow them to roam free like the other wild ones.
At just over two and a half hours this episode ended up a bit long, but felt like one story to be released together, so I divided it up into chapters like an audio book or radio play, and created a table of contents with minute and second, to make it easy to restart if you have to take a break.
Episode 3 closes out Muse Ecology’s inaugural series recorded in December 2017, about ecosystem restoration and the work of John D. Liu. In this episode, John and I have a conversation on the way to the airport that weaves through many topics currently affecting our global situation, and we discuss how a large scale shift to focusing on ecosystem restoration addresses the roots of all of them.
John D. Liu is Ecosystem Ambassador for Commonland Foundation and Visiting Research Fellow at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology of the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences. He also catalyzed the Ecosystem Restoration Camps movement. You can find his films and research papers at knaw.academia.edu/JohnDLiu
One of the topics we discuss is how water vapor is more of a greenhouse gas than carbon emissions, and how ecosystem destruction has disrupted the water cycle and led to increase of uncondensated (not formed into clouds) atmospheric water vapor. The source John was referring to for his greenhouse gas numbers can be found at the following link.