Recently Besty Gaines Quammen PhD sat down to discuss protection of our lands from broader perspectives than Lesley had ever considered. Betsybrings into focus new understandings of the issues around the abuse of our indigenous people in respect to what was their land. She shares knowledge gained from her experiences with religious communities that feel no obligation to care for the land to militia actions intent on removing indigenous people from what little we have left to them.
Betsy also reveals her personal journey that informed the dedication to merge conservation with her commitment to DEI. She has a passion for breaking down the walls that have seen our public lands, i.e. national parks etc, as being only ‘white’ spaces. Much of her forward thinking this was impacted by years spent working with women in conservation. Betsy reveals the tremendous progress that she has both participated in and witnessed when women come into collaborative focus to restore what has been damaged and build new systems rooted in respect for both the land and the people that live on it.
Betsy Gaines Quammen PhD is the author of American Zion: Cliven Bundy, God, and Public Lands in the West. She is an environmental historian and writer with a background in international conservation work, land issues, science denialism, and anti-government agitation in the American West. She received a PhD from Montana State University, with a focus on religion, history, and the philosophy of science. Her dissertation tackled the theological groundings of Mormon exceptionalism and the roots of armed public land conflicts west of the Mississippi.
Wildlife and land protection are her passion. She worked for years on conservation projects in Mongolia, Bhutan, East Africa, and throughout the western United States—first with the East African Wildlife Society in Kenya and later with various conservation groups in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming on grizzly bear conservation, ecosystem protection and grazing issues. She has served on numerous boards, from the national Sierra Club, to Torrey House Press, to WildEarth Guardians, to the Dean’s Council of the College of Letters and Science at Montana State University. She was the founder and Executive Director of The Tributary Fund, which brought together religious leadership, faith communities, and conservation activities in the US, Mongolia and Bhutan. Betsy lives in Bozeman, Montana, with her husband, writer David Quammen, two huge dogs, an overweight cat, and a large rescue python named Boots. She is currently working on her second book, True West: Delusion, Reality, and Pandemic on the Far Side of America, to be published in 2023 byTorrey House Books.