Laura grew up in Alaska, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Alaska – Fairbanks. After working as a seasonal biological technician conducting monitoring studies in numerous national parks and wildlife refuges in Alaska, California, and Utah, she went back to school for her Master’s degree in Botany from the University of Wyoming in Laramie.
After graduating she worked as a field scientist and data manager for the Wyoming National Diversity Database until the red rock deserts called her to Utah. For four years, she was a botanist with BLM’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, where she developed a broad working knowledge of grazing in the desert southwest and its effects on upland and riparian ecosystem function. She also worked on an EIS to guide grazing on the Monument. It was then that she understood that grazing and science are politically incompatible, and instead it is entrenched special interests that dictate grazing management in the West.
She decided to go another direction and developed her interests in the animal welfare field while maintaining her field cred by working and volunteering for the Grand Canyon Trust and Wild Utah Project gathering data on Bureau of Land Management grazing and habitat restoration programs.
Her interest in public lands management, especially grazing, led her to Western Watersheds Project. She is also co-leader of the Southern Utah Restoration Working Group, a coalition of environmental groups working on grazing on BLM lands in Southern Utah. She currently enjoys living in the Sonoran desert in Phoenix, AZ with her husband Walter and numerous rescued animals.