Dakota Women in Conservation

Recognizing and supporting female conservationists
Photo: ATV Training hosted by DWIC and USFWS Photo: Cami Dixon, USFWS

Dakota Women in Conservation

Recognizing and supporting female conservationists

Our goal is to provide resources for women in the conservation community while also highlighting women in our network positively contributing to advancing environmental work.  We encourage women within the conservation sector to utilize training opportunities, certifications, and programs made available for women in the Dakotas. We hope to inspire girls and young women to explore environmental careers and activism. 

Women's History Month: Highlighting Women in Ranching  

Rancher Name: Jeannie Franceus 
Audubon Certified Bird Friendly Ranch: Leone Valley Ranch 
Location: Wessington Springs, SD 
What conservation projects are you working on right now? 

I have sub-irrigated alfalfa that has been farmed or hayed for decades. For the past two years, I have grazed it rotationally, using cattle to build soil health. Grazing rather than haying gives nesting birds time to raise their young. Young birds can scoot out of the way of cattle much easier than they can a tractor/mower. Alfalfa weevils have been a problem for both of the past two years, but the alfalfa was able to recover, produce and thrive under managed grazing, without chemical intervention. There are thousands of beneficial insects for every harmful insect and surviving weevils without chemicals is a major victory for pollinators, as well as birds and other wildlife in the area. 


Rancher Name: Cindy Tolle 
Audubon Certified Bird Friendly Ranch: Evergreen Ranching 
Location: Custer, SD 
What’s been your biggest work-related conservation success? 
I spearheaded the reintroduction of native bison back to the grasslands of Northern Mexico in 2009. This was a joint venture between the National Park Service in Mexico and the National Park Service in the US. These bison were relocated from Wind Cave National Park to Rancho El Uno in Janos Chihuahua in the Janos grasslands biosphere preserve. Today, this ranch is managed by Cuenca Los Ojos AC and the bison population is thriving, right along with populations of grassland birds. 



National Audubon Society – Women in Conservation

To recognize outstanding women leaders in today's conservation movement; to support environmental opportunities for girls and young women; and to educate women on important issues related to conservation and the environment. 

The National Wildlife Federation – Women in Conservation 
The National Wildlife Federation's Women in Conservation Leadership program seeks to foster, empower, and develop women leaders within the conservation community. 

Pheasants Forever – Women on the Wing 
Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Women on the Wing
 Initiative will inspire and provide opportunities for women to become engaged, dynamic conservationists. 

Wildlife Society - Women of Wildlife 
Women of Wildlife (WOW) is a group intended to promote and support women in the wildlife profession and to provide mentoring opportunities and advice. 

Women Food and Ag Network 
Our mission is to engage women in building an ecological and just food and agricultural system through individual and community power. 

Women for Conservation 
Women for Conservation empowers and partners with women around the globe to protect endangered wildlife and their habitats. 

North Dakota 
North Dakota State University – Annie’s Project 
Annie's Project is a workshop for women on management and decision-making in the complex, dynamic world of agriculture. Annie's Project is designed to empower farm women to be better business partners through a series of education sessions covering the business of farming and ranching. 

South Dakota 
BOW-Becoming an Outdoors Woman - South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks 

How you can help, right now