Rancher Name: Cindy Tolle
Audubon Certified Bird Friendly Ranch: Evergreen Ranching
Location: Custer, SD
Evergreen Ranching Website
What is your favorite bird and why?
Elegant Trogon... a beautiful bird that is very plentiful on our ranch in the Sierra Tarahumara of Northern Mexico. One of our ranches is in the Tutuaca Natural Protected Area for Flora and Fauna. These and Thick-billed Parrots are birds we see and hear quite often.
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.
Who’s been your most influential woman mentor?
I was on a mapping job once in Africa with the Smithsonian Human Origins project. I was honored to get to work a couple of weeks with Mary Leakey, the British Paleoanthropologist. Mary was very inspiring, a strong woman that knew exactly what she wanted and didn't stop until she got there.
What’s your dream job?
Ranching. What I do… I love what I do. I get to raise very interesting, ecologically efficient animals on conservation land. When the animals are ready to become food, I make sure all parts of the animal are used. Hides go to Timberland to make boots; skulls go to artists to paint, bead, and sell; tallow goes to bird feeders, soaps and candles; meat goes to customers that need healthy protein sources; and the rest of the byproducts go to make pet foods. It just doesn't get more fulfilling.