In 1996, I had an anguished question on my mind: why didn’t environmentalists and ranchers get along better? In theory they shared many of the same hopes and fears – a love of wildlife, a deep respect for nature, an appreciation for a life lived outdoors, and a common concern for healthy water, land, food. . . That was the theory anyway…I felt anguished because this fight had all the hallmarks of a tragedy; both sides, and all of us in between, seemed destined to lose what was most valued by everyone-the health and diversity of the West’s wide open spaces and the wild animals that live there. . .lost to urban development and misplaced values. ~ Revolution on the Range, the Rise of the New Ranch in the American West, Courtney White
Today’s landscapes are very different than they were 100 or even 50 years ago. This is the reality we must all work within -- they are different for ranchers and they are different for wildlife. Considering increased human population and additional competition for open space, the human created boundary between ‘wild’ and ‘working’ lands has become unsustainable. As such, wolves often depend on the large tracts of land that private ranches provide, and co-occurrence of predators and cattle is certain. With this reality, we believe in the need to support ranch families in creating resilient, sustainable, and economically viable ranch operations in order to forward healthy lands and biodiverse ecosystems that include wolves and other large carnivores.
Working Circle works directly with individual landowners, managers, and ranch families, to support the implementation of herd management strategies that reduce vulnerability in cattle to predation, thus keeping the wolves focused on their natural prey. And through the stockmanship practices we forward, stress in cattle due to the presence of wolves and other predators, is also minimized. In addition, these strategies allow ranchers to experience additional benefits in terms of economy and efficacy while improving land health that further leads to long-term ranch resilience and sustainability.
Ranching and wildlife conservation requires a strategic, meaningful, and comprehensive approach to ensure long-term success. And, the fact is, there exists significant co-benefits that both wolf conservationists and ranchers must recognize and work towards. Working Circle brings people together in understanding to forward win-win ideals and strategies for both those that work to protect wolves and those who live and work on shared lands with wolves.
By empowering ranchers as stewards of the wild-working lands we can forward viable solutions to modern challenges so that working ranches and wildlife can succeed and thrive on shared landscapes.
Working Circle does not engage in political or legal activities; our focus is on-the-ground in the context of where ranchers ranch and wildlife resides--where it matters the most.
We seek bigger-picture thinking, look forward instead of backwards; towards a transformation of mindset, actions, and activities as we strive to address the on-going concerns and conflicts both on the ground and socially surrounding large carnivore conservation and ranch sustainability. The vision is long-term and we believe that there are no short-cuts. Thus we recognize that implementation takes significant effort, time, patience, and resources.
"We cannot do our best, when we are battling our worst. Focusing on growing what we want instead of fighting what we fear or don't understand is what achieves the results we are seeking. " ~ Hilary Anderson, Crazy D Ranch The WC model works with the collective understanding that we are all learning together. Though we continue to make great strides forward and have demonstrated significant success, we make no promises of having all the answers. WC is committed to ensuring best-practices in all of our work as we look to merge local knowledge and experiences with outside expertise and approaches that can be adapted to each region's unique landscape and diverse ranching operation.
WC recognizes that each individual rancher and operation needs to make their own decisions as to what level, or individual program components to engage in based on their needs, ability, and desire. WC is committed to meeting, supporting, and serving people where they are at.
Trust and relationships are the foundation for our work. We believe that openness of mind and heart are key to finding a better way forward for all involved.
Working Circle aims to create a space where diverse values and perspectives can confidently come together
“No other effort could have made the inroads that you have. Your approach is smart! And it’s working, for ranchers and for wolves. Unlike other groups that go around the root of the issue, you are willing to go right through it. It’s been enlightening to watch this unfold and it’s been an honor to work with you.” ~ Wildlife Project Manager (retired), California Department of Fish and Wildlife