For the second year in a row, I felt fortunate to contribute to the "Forever Colorado" campaign for Colorado Cattlemen's Agricultural Land Trust. Over four days, I traveled to five ranches around the state that are committed to preserving and protecting open space and the ranching heritage of the West.
From as early as I can remember, I've spent as much time as possible in nature. As one of my rancher friends said, "The outdoors is my church," and I couldn't agree more. Being outside gives me energy, sharpens my awareness and soothes my soul.
Over the last thirty years, over a half a million ranches have gone under, and beyond the implications for food production, there are consequences for wildlife habitat and the open space that has defined the West for so long.
So in addition to working on a documentary project of my own about ranching, A Handful of Dust, I actively shoot still photography and video on behalf of conservation organizations in their efforts to protect the environment. Colorado Cattlemen's Agricultural Land Trust provides ranchers with the tools to create conservation easements so they can stay on their land,and insure that the ranch will never be developed. It's a win-win, and I'm proud to support their efforts.
I was amazed that after exploring Colorado's back roads for so many years I was seeing land that knocked my eyes out. In the end, though, the rewards are in the friendships I've made with people who seemingly are so different yet share the passion for nature and our connection to the natural world.