A horse walking on grass with wildflowers and blue mountains in the distance.
Mountain & Prairie Podcast In partnership with the Colorado Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, M&P will be releasing one episode a month featuring TNC leaders and topics. © Mountain & Prairie
Stories in Colorado

Nature Podcasts for All

Tune in to Mountain & Prairie for exclusive conservation stories, updates, advice and more from TNC leaders and host Ed Roberson.

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On the fourth Tuesday of every month, the Mountain & Prairie podcast brings you conversations with a wide range of The Nature Conservancy’s leaders, partners, collaborators and stakeholders, highlighting the myriad of conservation challenges, opportunities and solutions here in the American West.

Recognized by the Aspen Institute, Apple Podcasts, High Country News, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and more—and regularly ranked in the top ten of its category on the podcast charts—Mountain & Prairie features long-form conversations with innovators of the American West. Through informal yet substantive conversations, conservationist Ed Roberson introduces you to these fascinating characters, giving you a better understanding of their careers, influences and outlooks, as well as a deeper appreciation for life in the American West.


Latest Release

Bolstering Biodiversity in Arizona and Beyond

Arizona is one of the largest and most biodiverse states in the U.S., which creates unique conservation challenges and opportunities—both in its arid, wide-open landscapes and densely populated urban centers. TNC AZ State Director Dan Stellar joins Ed to discuss forest heath, rivers, aquifers, outdoor recreation and resilient cities.

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A man in a button down shirt smiling at the camera.
A woman holding a baby in a shallow part of a lake.
A few flowering cacti in the desert.
A river flowing through green trees.

Creating Opportunities in Uncertain Times

January 2023 | How did the pandemic impact and alter conservation? What are the different pathways to a career in conservation? In this episode, Ed Roberson and Carlos Fernandez, state director for The Nature Conservancy in Colorado, answer these questions and more to kick off the podcast partnership.

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A headshot of a man smiling at the camera with trees in the background.
A large group of people huddled together smiling at the camera with mountains in the background.
A person standing knee deep in a river, holding a fish that they just caught.
A woman sitting in a car looking out of the window with binoculars.

Effecting Change Through Authentic Conversation

February 2023 | Dr. Katharine Hayhoe is a world-renowned climate scientist, professor, and chief scientist for TNC. Ed and Katharine dive into a riveting conversation about climate opportunities and challenges facing the West and how to have challenging conversations with smart people who do not think that climate change is a threat.

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A photo of a woman kneeling outside in grass smiling with a barn in the background.
An aerial image of a field covered in solar panels and a sunset.
A woman standing in a theater at a podium talking to a room full of people.
A view from below of tall white aspen trees.

Durable Conservation and Collective Action

December 2023 | Nature had a year of great conservation progress and innovation, and 2024 will be even greater. In this podcast episode, discover TNC's top priorities that we're working to accomplish in Colorado and beyond.

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A woman smiling at a camera for a professional headshot.
Purple wildflowers growing on grass in a valley with mountains and sunset in the background.
Yellow flowers growing in grass with a cloudy blue sky.
An up close shot of water flowing and reflecting the sun.

Conservation in the Cascades

Dr. Emily Howe is an aquatic ecologist with the Washington state chapter of TNC. Combining cutting-edge science with Indigenous knowledge, Emily and TNC are making great progress toward finding solutions that can help with everything from increasing the depth and duration of snowpack in the Cascades to restoring salmon habitat and much more.

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A blonde woman smiling at the camera with the ocean in the background.
A woman wearing winter clothes standing on snowy ground and looking into a valley with snow-covered pine trees.
A woman looking at a camera attached to a tree in the snow.
A woman scientist measuring something on the ground in the snow.

Western Wildfires and Forest Health

June 2023 | What’s the outlook for wildfire season? How can beavers play a role in fire mitigation? Tune in as Rob Addington, TNC's director of forest and fire programs in Colorado, answers these questions and more, diving into our forest restoration and climate resilience work in Colorado.

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An aerial view of a forest. Half of it is burned by wildfire, and the other half is still a healthy green pine tree forest.
A headshot of Rob Addington, a white man with brown hair and a bear.
A baby tree planted in the ground next to a log burned by wildfire, and a shovel to plant the tree.
An aerial view of a healthy, green forest full of pine trees.
Three volunteers with hard hats and vests walking through a forest burned by wildfire.

Grassland Conservation on the Southern High Plains

April 2023 | Did you know grasslands are the least protected ecosystem in the world? Matt Moorhead and Galen Guerrero-Murphy join Ed Roberson to dive into TNC's collaborative and innovative conservation work in the Southern High Plains, 71 million acres across Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

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Two people walking across green grasslands.
A lesser prairie chicken jumping into the air with its wings covering its face.
Two people looking through binoculars into a canyon.
A group of pronghorn running off into grasslands.
A horse walking on a ranch with snow capped mountains in the background.

The Sagebrush Sea Is Vanishing

September 2023 | The Sagebrush Sea, one of the largest natural systems in North America, is shrinking at an alarming rate—1 million acres per year. Matt Cahill, TNC's Sagebrush Sea program director, joins Ed Roberson to dive into the groundbreaking innovation, collaboration and partnerships we are applying to save this diverse ecosystem.

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A selfie of a man smiling at the camera with a lake in the background.
A small grey rabbit stands tall on dirt in the dark.
A greater sage grouse bird facing away from the camera in sagebrush.
A large ranch with colorful native wildflowers, grass, and sagebrush.
Sagebrush plant at golden hour during sunset.

Keeping Jackson Hole Wild and Beautiful

Why do we practice prescribed fire? What did we learn from the historic 1988 fires in Yellowstone? Kevin Krasnow, fire ecologist and Conservation Director for the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, joins host Ed Roberson to discuss the important role of wildfire in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, lessons learned from the 1988 fires in Yellowstone, and TNC's work growing the prescribed fire workforce.

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A red fox pounces into snowy ground.
A wide river flows through a forest with pine trees and hills at sunset.
A herd of pronghorn running towards the camera with snow on the ground.
A river flowing through a forest of pine trees with a geiser in the background.

Solving Challenges with Ancient Tribal Wisdom

July 2023 | As vice chair of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, trustee for TNC Colorado and the first-ever Tribal member on the Colorado Water Conservation Board, discover how Lorelei Cloud is applying her expertise to complex challenges in the basin.

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A headshot of a Native American woman with glasses smiling at the camera being sworn into a government position.
A reservoir with low water levels and dried up stream paths.
A group of buffalo walking on grass with sand dunes and mountains in the background.
A stream flowing through green agricultural landscape.
A luscious green pine tree forest with snow-capped mountains in the background.

Innovation in the Colorado River Basin

March 2023 | Taylor Hawes, TNC's Colorado River program director, provides background on the river basin’s challenges and how TNC is working to solve these problems by building community support, working collaboratively with Tribal Nations and helping agricultural producers become more efficient.

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A woman standing in front of a river and trees, smiling for a headshot.
A wide river flowing through the grand canyon's red rock mesa canyons.
A person standing in a river fly fishing.
A man walking through a flooded agricultural area next to a stream.
Sunset reflexing on a wide flowing river.

Resilient Rivers, Agriculture and Communities

November 2023 | Water experts Diana Lane and Aaron Derwingson join Ed Roberson to discuss some of Colorado's most urgent water-related challenges and opportunities and how TNC is working with a wide range of stakeholders to find mutually beneficial solutions.

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A headshot of a woman wearing glasses with curly hair, smiling in front of trees.
A man in a plaid shirt standing in front of dam full of water.
An aerial image of agricultural fields and plots intersected by a river.
A large agricultural field being irrigated.
A tractor driving on an agricultural field with mountains in the background.

Building Trust with Indigenous Communities

Celene Hawkins, Tribal Water Partnerships Program Director at The Nature Conservancy’s Colorado River Program, and Izabella Ruffino, Tribal and Indigenous Engagement Program Manager at TNC in Colorado, join Ed to discuss building trust and solid relationships, recent collaborations with Tribal Nations and recommended resources for deeper learning.

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A woman smiling and looking to the side.
A wide blue river flowing through wetlands.
A woman smiling softly at the camera while sitting next to a flower bed.
An aerial shot of a wide river flowing in many directions between green trees and mesas.

Using Nature to Build Healthier Communities

May 2023 | What is urban conservation? How can cities help balance the needs of people & nature in a hotter and drier future? Chris Hawkins, Colorado Cities program director, joins Ed Roberson to discuss the important work that TNC & our partners are doing to improve urban tree canopy, climate resilience and more in the Denver Metro area.

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Four hands of different skin tones moving dirt around a tree planterbed.
A group of people of different ages helping plant a tree in the ground.
A person picking up trash in a green, shaded park with many trees.
A woman wearing a construction vest flexing her strong arms.

Catalyzing Innovation in Conservation

August 2023 | With our ambitious conservation goals, innovation is a necessity. This episode dives into TNC CO's Catalyst Fund, a cutting-edge conservation funding initiative that supports forward-looking projects that enable innovation and rapid learning to test new ideas and build greater capacity for innovation over the long term.

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A woman standing on vast sand dunes with mountains in the background.
A man kneeling on the ground in an agricultural field with solar panels.
A group of people gathered under a solar panel with plants to plant in the ground underneath.
A bird perched on top of a solar panel with clouds in the sky.

Tribal-Led Buffalo Restoration

October 2023 | Restoration is more than about land—American buffalo are returning to Tribal lands. Hear from Corissa Busse, Buffalo Restoration Program director at The Nature Conservancy, and Ed on the history of buffalo in North America, TNC’s focus on Tribal-led buffalo restoration, recommended resources for deeper learning and much more.

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A woman with hiking gear smiling at a camera outdoors.
A large bison grazing on grass with snow-capped mountains in the background.
A herd of bison on grasslands with sand dunes and mountains in the background, and a pink sunset in the sky.
A baby bison sleeping on green grass.

Working at the Speed of Trust in Alaska

Ivy Spohnholz is the Alaska State Director at The Nature Conservancy. In a conversation with Ed, she discusses her heart for public service and why working for meaningful change begins with building relationships, along with a background on what makes Alaska’s Bristol Bay so remarkable.

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Ivy Spohnholz smiles while standing in a room of an office building.
Aerial view of an ocean bay with rivers leading into a green forest with blue mountains in the background.
Underwater view of a school of wild sockeye salmon, fish with a red body and green pointy snout, swimming in the ocean.
Ivy Spohnholz stands with a rifle slung over her shoulder in a field of wetlands with mountains in the background.
A woman fisherman pulling salmon out of a large fishing net.