Monday, February 22, 2010

Kent Christopher Memorial

Sagebrush country has long been considered under-appreciated: After all, many drive through southern Idaho at 80 mph and see nothing but a barren, empty land.

Kent Christopher knew better, and wanted to show others the wild side of this open land: dancing grouse, beautiful wildflowers, racing pronghorns, the opportunity for incredible outdoor adventures.

A new memorial (above) at Camas National Wildlife Refuge will remember Kent's many contributions to sage grouse and sagebrush habitat conservation. (Click on the image for a larger version).

Kent was a passionate falconer, conservationist, educator, poet and photographer. His connection to the land was formed by flying his gyrfalcons on sage grouse, but he loved it all: the birds, the ranches, the country.

Kent worked closely with The Nature Conservancy at Crooked Creek Preserve, and created the first-ever Dubois Grouse Days, an event that offers tours to see sage grouse on their spring breeding grounds (called leks). The event has become tremendously popular and is a great way to see this natural spectacle in all its glory.

This year's Grouse Days will be April 16 and 17. Kent's memorial will be dedicated during the event.

Kent was tragically killed in a ski accident in March 2008, much too soon. We need more like him. In eastern Idaho, his legacy lives on. Long may his work serve as an inspiration to the falconers, birders and conservationists continuing the hard work of protecting and restoring sage grouse and sagebrush.

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