There is something primeval and timeless about the courtship displays of sage-grouse and the first glow of dawn.
— David Allen Sibley

In the American West, there are still places where pronghorn antelope migrate hundreds of miles as they have for untold generations, back to the time of the Pleistocene. Hundreds of different varieties of bird life fill a vast sky, then land to nest and feed on a land rich with grains, berries, and insects. Away from city lights and roads, the luminous stars and galaxies of the Milky Way wink through air made sweet and pungent by millions of acres of sage.

Although the spirit of the American West remains an ideal to our national heritage, and many places remain wild and free, for the first time in our country’s short history, development has left many lands and waterways fragmented and scarred by roads, mines, diverted water, and urban development; choked by invasive species; or compromised by overuse—with land, water, and air polluted for short-term gains.

Sage Spirit is a book, event, and media campaign that presents a new vision for the American West. In this new West, the sage-grouse, and every other person, plant and animal that makes its home in sagebrush country, will thrive.

By Photographer Dave Showalter

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What do I want the West to be? Through my photography, I am working for a sustainable West, one where future generations can also enjoy vistas free of drill pads and powerlines, hillsides replete with wildlife and birdsong, and the sweet aroma of sage.
— Dave Showalter


In Sage Spirit, photographer Dave Showalter’s images carry you through this vast terrain—across mountain ranges, through thunderstorms and snowfall, to ponds edged by sage, aspen, and conifers and rocky outcrops inhabited by burrowing owls and short-horned lizards. As skilled with a pen as he is with a lens, Showalter’s profiles introduce you to Westerners who are working hard to preserve both their unique way of life and the natural character of the land they love.

Joining Showalter to provide you with a deep and comprehensive tour of sagebrush country are birder David Allen Sibley, author Rick Bass, biologist Dr. Pat Magee, and essayist Todd Wilkinson. In Sage Spirit, their decades of keen observation and careful study are distilled into crisp and evocative essays that cover the history of the frontier and lay out a vision for the future of the American West, one where our need for energy is balanced with our need for connected wildlife corridors.


An immersive events series goes “beyond the book” to bring the stories, images, and sounds of the Sagebrush Sea to audiences around the region. Photographer Dave Showalter will share multimedia presentations in communities at the heart of the region, and beyond.

See our events calendar to find events in your area. Contact us for more information about hosting a Sage Spirit event with Dave Showalter with your organization or workplace.



Sage Spirit promotes a holistic approach to conservation—one that seeks to preserve economic livelihood and treasured lifestyles as well as a priceless ecosystem. We present some of the many solutions, from sustainable ranching to renewable energy, that Westerners are already developing.

We partner with advocacy groups to achieve on-the ground progress towards these solutions. Our partners put books into the hands of decision-makers, and bring these images and stories to their memberships. Through our partners, we connect you with opportunities to protect this iconic landscape.