Teller Wildlife Refuge director retires after 40 years in conservation


Sam Lawry has felt a connection to birds and the outdoors since he was a little boy traipsing through the marshlands of northern California. As he watched a pair of sandhill cranes move across Teller refuge on a recent afternoon, he couldn’t help but ponder how the path of the migratory species has seemingly reflected his own life.

“It’s always ironic to me because my career started in Arizona, where these birds winter, and then ended in Montana where they breed,” Lawry said as he gazed across an open field where the birds stood.

After a 40-year career in wildlife conservation, and raising his own family, he’s about to follow their lead once again.

“We’re gonna winter just like the cranes do, back in Arizona” he said. “But we have a house here in the valley, and so we’ll probably summer in Montana. I call it the sandhill crane transition. I’m gonna follow their pathways.”

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