POCATELLO — Sagebrush Steppe Land Trust and the family of Bill Davidson presented Duane Dyer and Sarah Jackson with the Bill Davidson Conservation Award on Aug. 27.
Bill Davidson dedicated his life to conserving and protecting wildlife habitat and open spaces throughout Southeast Idaho. In 1960, he graduated from the University of Idaho with a degree in Wildlife Management and went on to serve 30 years in the Idaho Fish and Game Department. In his retirement, concerned with the widespread development of wildlife habitat and open space, he and fellow community leaders set out to establish the Sagebrush Steppe Land Trust — an organization that would hold land in trust, undeveloped, in perpetuity.
To honor his conservation legacy, the family and Sagebrush Steppe Land Trust have presented a local conservation hero with the Bill Davidson Conservation Award every year since his passing in 2016, with the exception of last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recipients of this award are dedicated stewards of Southeast Idaho. These are individuals who have a deep connection to the rich sagebrush steppe rangelands, clear rivers and streams, and rugged peaks of this landscape — and are doing everything they can to protect it. Duane Dyer and Sarah Jackson have followed in Bill Davidson’s footsteps and have earned the title of conservation hero.
Duane Dyer graduated from the University of Maine with an associate degree in civil engineering and a bachelor’s in forestry management in 1969 and 1973, respectively. He also graduated from the University of Southern California with a master’s degree in 1989. Duane served 30 years in the military, including 12 years in the Maine Army National Guard, taught eighth grade science for 10 years, and was a gentleman farmer for eight years.
Since retirement, Duane has volunteered for a number of organizations throughout Southeast Idaho: Idaho Department of Fish and Game, US Forest Service, Zoo Idaho, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and the Sagebrush Steppe Land Trust. During his service, he has planted willows, forbs and aquatic plants in the Curlew National Grassland, willows and tree seedlings at the Portneuf, Blackfoot and Georgetown Wildlife Management areas, and shrubs at Kackley Springs. Duane has released pheasants at the Sterling WMA, coordinated the construction and placement of bluebird houses, installed boundary signs at the Portneuf and Sterling WMAs, conducted monthly water quality control samplings in Marsh Creek and the Portneuf River, monitored properties for the Sagebrush Steppe Land Trust, conducted raptor surveys and numerous other projects throughout the region. Duane has also served as secretary for the Idaho Master Naturalists and has contributed around 5,100 observations to iNaturalist.
Sarah Jackson maintained a career in the Idaho Department of Labor for many years before retiring in 2006 as office manager. She contributed to many different programs within the department, including providing aid to individuals who had lost their job due to circumstances out their control. Today, Sarah continues her public service efforts by volunteering for numerous organizations throughout Southeast Idaho.
Sarah Jackson is currently serving on the board of directors for a variety of community organizations, including NeighborWorks Pocatello, the College Neighborhood Association as secretary, Watershed Guardians and the Idaho Master Naturalists as program coordinator. She has served on the Bike to Work committee for a number of years and is a member of the Suite 212 Flute Choir — who offer free concerts every year. In 2020, Sarah Jackson started with the High Desert Chapter of the Idaho Master Naturalists class and has contributed over 400 hours to a wide variety of projects since, including general maintenance at Edson Fichter Nature Area, a seed collection project, building fence for the Forest Service, collecting currants at the Georgetown WMA, building bird houses and a mew for Pocatello Wildlife Care Network and many other projects throughout Southeast Idaho. For the Land Trust, Sarah has monitored and photographed many properties over the last two years — donating hundreds of photographs to the organization for outreach and publication use.
“Sagebrush Steppe Land Trust is pleased to present these awards with the Davidson family to Duane and Sarah in recognition of their volunteer service and dedication to conservation. We’re fortunate to have them on our stewardship team to help us carry out Bill’s vision and our mission of protecting and enhancing wildlife habitat and open space for the benefit of our communities,” said Matt Lucia, executive director, Sagebrush Steppe Land Trust.
“We are excited to be able to honor these two terrific volunteers for the work they have done in Southeast Idaho. Good people like these, who care about wildlife and open spaces, are essential to protect these lands and this lifestyle we love so much. That’s the legacy my father, Bill Davidson, passed along to my brothers and I, and that we want to recognize with this award,” said Marjanna Hulet, daughter of Bill Davidson.