Ellie. A human of the working wild.
Humans of the Working Wild is a collection of stories from people in the West who are living, recreating and working with and among wildlife on working lands, lightly edited from their own spoken words. Humans of the Working Wild speaks across the rural-urban divide, sharing common human experiences on working lands that provide important wildlife habitat. We are inspired by one of the most successful profile series of all time, Humans of New York.
“I grew up on a small organic farm in the Willamette Valley, Oregon with parents that I lovingly describe as radical environmentalists, and they proudly wear that hat. Having the opportunity to grow up on a farm and be really active in 4 H showed me the importance of being close to the land. The relationships that I had with my animals and caring for the animals and the land was just… it was my life.
I fell in love with these communities and the people. I became determined to advocate for them and the important work that they were doing, which is often misunderstood or not well understood.Ellie.
“I ended up marrying a man who grew up ranching in the Great Basin, which gave me the opportunity to live and work on ranches in Oregon and Idaho. This put me in a position to forge relationships with people in small, remote ranching communities who had vastly different backgrounds from my own. I fell in love with these communities and the people. I became determined to advocate for them and the important work that they were doing, which is often misunderstood or not well understood.
“Mark and I have been married for 15 years and family is my number one. We have two sons who are three and a half and five. I’m just so grateful that this is how my life has turned out, that I have this opportunity to share my world with these wonderful humans and get to do the adventures that we do. It is sort of like having a childhood all over again, but better, you know, through the lens of an adult.
“Sometimes, though, I don’t think I have been very successful at striking a balance. Work, school, family time – the decision to pursue my master’s has taken a toll on all four of us, without a doubt. My husband and I talked about it a lot and it felt like something that we needed to do as a family in order to move us down the road towards some of our goals. But having the opportunity to work at WLA quarter time while going to school has also enriched my life so much. It has given me a community that I was yearning for prior to this and I am eternally grateful for that.
I find motivation in fighting to keep these family ranches viable for so many reasons…We all depend on it, more than anyone realizes.Ellie.
“I try really hard to be as present as humanly possible when I’m with my family. And I think that in the work that I’m doing, I’m so motivated to do everything that I can do to ensure a good future for my boys. I find motivation in fighting to keep these family ranches viable for so many reasons; for the habitat that they provide, for the open lands, for the ecosystem services, the culture of ranching and for the high quality food that is produced to the standards that we require in this country for environmental and animal welfare. I want to see that continue. We all depend on it, more than anyone realizes.”