Each year, Western Watersheds Project honors an important advocate in our community with the Sagebrush Sentinel Award. Established in 2014 in honor of WWP’s founder, Jon Marvel, the award recognizes persons whose profound commitment to conservation and the mission of our organization has helped advance the protection of the natural world we all so dearly love.
In 2019, we are pleased to present the award to Dr. Steven Herman, a long-term member and supporter of WWP.
Dr. Herman has a PhD in Zoology from the University of California, Davis, a B.S. in Zoology from the University of California, Davis, and an A.A. in Biology from Contra Costa College. He is an an Emeritus Member of the Faculty at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. His published research focuses on pesticide-wildlife relationships, endangered species (such as the peregrine falcon and snowy plover), the population dynamics of insects and birds, and the environmental effects of public lands grazing. His book, The Field Naturalist’s Journal: A Manual of Instruction Based on a System Established by Joseph Grinnell, has remained the primary source of information on this critical activity since its publication in 1981. He has written on numerous other topics, including sage-grouse and management, and his deep love of grouse and the sagebrush steppe has helped form WWP’s vision about how best to protect this crucial species and ecosystem.
Dr. Herman was first exposed to sage-grouse in 1955 in Eastern California, visited his first lek in 1978, and has been visiting sage-grouse habitat across the West for many decades. The conservation of the sagebrush ecosystem is integral to his longstanding interests in the scientific, recreational, and aesthetic use and enjoyment of that ecosystem and the species its supports. He is deeply connected to sage-grouse and has invested over 50 years of his life to studying them, educating others about them, and finding ways to help protect them.
For years, Dr. Herman took his classes on field visits to Steens Mountain and Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in central Oregon. When domestic terrorists took over Malheur NWR in an armed occupation, Dr. Herman spoke out about the impacts of livestock grazing on the bird fauna at Malheur NWR, shedding important scientific light on an event that stemmed from livestock abuses on the Refuge.
In addition to countless legal declarations, ornithological expertise, and specific knowledge of the areas WWP works, Dr. Herman has also made sure that sage-grouse hens, and not just the showy males, get the visual recognition they deserve! WWP is incredibly grateful for Dr. Herman’s work in this area and we are inspired by his lifelong commitment to the sagebrush steppes. He is a true Sagebrush Sentinel.