Best Conservation Stories of Montana 2012: Deer-Car Crash at 75mph

Story Summary

A son of Montana who grew up wild between hope and paradise in mountains of enchantment. A mother whose life’s work in conservation took on extra meaning after a harrowing car accident. A filmmaker’s rocky quest to discover the cost of climate change for bighorn sheep. A Marine colonel whose battle for freedom endowed Montana with a wildlife legacy. And a community of ranchers who stand together to protect their agricultural heritage against those who would take their land to build a coal-to-China railroad.

As 2012 draws to a close, the Cinnabar Foundation is proud to recognize these as the best personal conservation stories of the year. A panel of judges, convened by Montana’s Conservation Fund and led by Montana writer Rick Bass, selected the top stories from among 341 submissions posted on The winners each were awarded with $1,000 cash prizes to the conservation, educational or research organization of their choice.


Sandy Compton grew up in the lower Clark Fork Valley astride the Montana-Idaho border and still lives there where he writes and advocates for designation of the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness. His story: Growing Up Wild Between Hope and Paradise

Monique DiGiorgio runs a consulting business in Bozeman where she combines her interest and skills as a biologist, facilitator, and organizer to bring people together around collaborative conservation projects. Her story: Surviving a Deer-Car Collision at 75 Miles Per Hour…And Preventing the Next One

Ben Long is a writer and media consultant in Kalispell. An avid sportsman, he is the volunteer co-chairman of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, a national group that advocates for wild country and the hunting experiences unique to wild places. His story: The Colonel: Gary Holmquist’s Battle for Freedom

Jeremy Roberts owns and operates Conservation Media, a small Missoula-based company that helps scientists, government agencies, and conservation groups tell their stories through film, photography, writing and instruction. He submitted several stories and his powerful short videos illustrate several stories contributed by others on this website. His story: The Climate and Ewe – Changes Under the Big Sky

Walter Archer is a lifelong rancher in Powder River County and the Chairman of Northern Plains Resource Council. He received a 2012 Montana Conservation Story Award in partnership with a team of volunteers and staff at NPRC, including several other ranching families – the Aldersons, the Charters, the Fixes, the McRaes and others. Their stories all can be found on this page: Northern Plains Resource Council