Member Spotlight: Will McDowell

A role model in conservation leadership

Originally from Virginia, Will first discovered Montana at age 17 when he took a job on the Sargent Ranch in the Cinnabar Basin near Yellowstone. Montana captivated his heart and he spent the next three summers working for the Park Service in Yellowstone. Will found his way to Montana permanently through the circuitous route of Arizona living and nine years in Latin America.

Hiking in Jewel Basin, Swan Range

By the time he returned to Montana in 1994, he brought with him his partner, Kimberly, and two young boys. Missoula is home right now where they live on a large lot with a big garden and three lawn-mowing-sheep. Will works in conservation doing river and stream restoration projects. The non-profit writes grants, develops partnerships with local government, Forest Service, other non-profits, and landowners, and then designs and builds projects that improve water management and stream health.

 I have been interested in community living for a long time, and in cohousing for about 20 years. I know that the work of cooperation and collaboration pays off in good relationships…

— Will McDowell

He sees retirement as a time to pass on his conservation knowledge to the next generation. Will plans to create new opportunities for middle-school youth to learn in-depth about our natural world, in hopes that they will provide conservation leadership for the future. We cannot wait to have him as part of our community. Will, can you start teaching our young ones now?