by Darcy Thomas

Dan Casey Receives Award – Photo by Darcy Thomas

Our very own Dan Casey has been awarded a certificate of appreciation for his outstanding contribution to South Dakota State University’s (SDSU) Native Lands Inventory for 2023-2024.

During Dan’s tenure as Coordinator of the Northern Great Plains Joint Venture, he helped advocate and provide funding for the SDSU effort to catalog the extent of unbroken native grasslands, particularly west of the Missouri River. This effort used a combination of remote sensing, historical data and ground truthing to identify intact landscapes. This data will be critical for developing conservation strategies for grassland birds, which have experienced the steepest declines of any North American bird population.

Grassland conservation in South Dakota is also facilitated through the South Dakota Grasslands Coalition, which includes ranchers, academics, The Nature Conservancy, and state and federal agencies with a common interest in keeping grasslands “right side up”. It is our great fortune to have a man like Dan in our Audubon chapter. He has spent a lifetime studying and protecting bird species both near and far and we are beyond thankful for his dedication.