The Emerging Conservationist Award
Seamus Land - 2023
Seamus Land is an outstanding example of the impact of Montana’s younger conservationist generation. His efforts to protect and restore the watersheds of the West reflect an enlightened environmental philosophy that integrates social, ecological and ethical considerations.
His commitment and work ethic have been present throughout his academic career, graduating at the top of his high school class in San Luis Obispo, California and as a top scholar-athlete at UC Berkeley. Prior to arriving in Montana, Seamus was already a practicing steward, working for the Coastal San Luis Resource Conservation District as an intern and eventual Restoration Coordinator. He oversaw and carried out the restoration of 300 acres of ocean dunes, conducted 3 years of sand flux and dust control studies, led invasive plant management and surveys, and performed habitat monitoring of rare and endangered species.
He then moved to Missoula in 2020 to pursue his M.S. in Environmental Studies and a certificate in Natural Resource Conflict and Resolution. His thesis focused on the relationship between landowners and water quality of streams and its impact on restoration planning. His research allowed him to facilitate multiple local community groups dedicated to watershed restoration, particularly for Grant Creek, near Missoula.
Since then, he’s continued demonstrating his stewardship ethic and passion for restoration, working as a facilitator, strategic planner, project coordinator and educator across Missoula’s watershed-focused organizations, including the Clark Fork Coalition and Missoula Conservation District. Seamus is also an exceptional educator, teaching undergraduate courses during his graduate career and eventually taking the role of Adjunct Professor in the Environmental Studies department at the University of Montana. He led the Ethics and Ecological Restoration graduate seminar that had been taught by the renowned professor Emeritus, Daniel Spencer, for decades. Even while living and working in Missoula he stays dedicated to the ecosystems of his home state, serving as a consultant and research fellow for the California Landscape Stewardship Network.
Seamus’ accolades further demonstrate his knowledge and work ethic. In 2021, he earned two fellowships from Brainard Conservation and National Forest Foundation, continuing his facilitation practice between U.S. Forest Service collaborative groups in Montana and Idaho. He also won First Place for an Oral Presentation at Montana American Water Resources Association Conference. Most recently, Seamus received the Missoula Conservation Roundtable’s Emerging Conservationist Award for all of his work in Montana thus far. As stated by his nominators, ”When Seamus Land arrived in Missoula, he identified a restoration problem where he could not only learn but contribute…[t]here’s little doubt that Grant Creek will benefit in coming decades from [his] work.” His nomination proves the respect he’s garnered from past conservation trailblazers and that his Land ethic–no pun intended–is one for present and future stewards to follow.
Biography by Kalle Fox