Photograph by Dennis J. Lingohr
Photograph by Tony Demin
Sean Gerrity, president of American Prairie Reserve, is committed to wildlife conservation and hopes to create the largest wildlife complex ever assembled in the continental United States. When complete, the reserve will comprise some 3.5 million contiguous acres (more than 5,000 square miles) of native grassland in northeastern Montana, with a goal of restoring the wildlife abundance the landscape once contained.
Gerrity, along with the American Prairie Reserve, is dedicated to building the reserve for the benefit of humanity—from Native American and other local communities neighboring the reserve to the global visitors who are already beginning to enjoy the reserve's growing educational and recreational opportunities. Educational programs, like National Geographic's Student Expeditions, take place there each summer. By building this large-scale reserve through a unique model that uses private land to leverage public land, the project is all privately funded. Gerrity hopes to inspire others around the globe to use similarly creative 21st-century solutions on our world's conservation challenges.
Prior to joining the American Prairie Reserve, Gerrity co-founded Catalyst Consulting, a Santa Cruz, California-based company, specializing in organization alignment, strategy development, and implementation that was applied primarily in the for-profit, business world. Leading the American Prairie Reserve project has enabled Gerrity to combine his business skills with his passion for wildlife to focus on an effort that will leave an extraordinary, nature-based legacy for future generations. American Prairie Reserve was featured in National Geographic's American Serengeti, an hour-long film featured on the National Geographic Channel.
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Gerrity weighs in on why the trickle of creating large-scale wildlife parks and nature reserves has slowed in recent years.
In Their Words
I don't believe our window of opportunity has closed on building new big reserves; not yet anyway. But we need to be much more creative and more optimistic if we are going to breathe new life into, and reawaken, that Golden Era.
There’s no substitute for dirt under your nails, or a cool wind across the tip of your nose—or a million acres of unbroken prairie.
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Listen to Sean Gerrity
Hear an interview with Gerrity on National Geographic Weekend.
00:09:00 Sean Gerrity
Restoring grasslands might not be as compelling as preserving Yellowstone's geysers or Teton's jagged peaks, but Sean Gerrity, president of the American Prairie Reserve says that when you're able to re-introduce a herd of bison to the land where they belong, it can be very satisfying.
Our Explorers in Action
Meet female explorers who have pushed the limits in adventure, science, and more.