About Us

Bighorn Restoration Group - Who We Are

In the spring of 2014, Ron and Carol Smith moved to Lander from Arizona. The day after arriving in Lander, Ron drove up Sinks Canyon, a single purpose in mind: to reconnect with the descendants of the wild Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep he enjoyed viewing as a young man. None were however sighted. 

 Later that day, he learned that the Sinks Canyon Bighorns had died out, likely the result of a disease contracted from domestic sheep. 

 Just a few months prior to Ron and Carol moving to Lander, the famous “Bam Bam the Ram” was the last wild Sinks Canyon bighorn to die. Since that ill-fated and depressing trip up Sinks Canyon, Ron has embarked on a quest to return the bighorns to the southern Wind River Mountains.

 As a result of a subsequent torrent of community interest in restoring Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, a small group of interested Lander citizens decided to take an organized approach to realizing this vision and the Bighorn Restoration Group (BRG) was born. 

The BRG is dedicated to
  1. Facilitating restoration of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep to suitable habitats
  2. Educating the public regarding the biology, habitat needs, and management concerns associated with Bighorn Sheep
  3. Assisting domestic sheep hobby flock operators with the goal of greatly diminishing the possibility of disease transmissions between domestic and wild sheep. 

We hope you will join and support us in our efforts to restore this iconic species to the spectacular landscape rising above Lander.    

Meet the BRG

Ron Smith - President

Ron is a Wyoming native whose ancestors first came to Wyoming in 1856. He grew up on a ranch in Western Wyoming at the interface between the wild and the tame, where he learned early in life the value of hard work, dogged determination, and a dedication to wise land use. Ron's parents moved to Green River during his high school years, where he became the town’s second Eagle Scout recipient. During his school years, he became fascinated with the “ologies,” especially if they had a “bio” or an “eco” or an “etho” as a prefix. After graduating from Green River High School, Ron then continued his education at the University of Wyoming. He later worked at several positions relating to conservation biology and environmental ethics before retiring in 2014.  Lander, Wyoming is now Ron's home with his wife, Carol, where he's involved in writing a memoir and working with a group of talented and dedicated people who have the goal of restoring bighorn sheep populations in the southern Wind River Mountains.

John Mionczynski

John Mionczynski is a wildlife consultant with field experience going back 45 years. His biological studies have spanned a broad spectrum from microscopic marine life to large ungulate mammals of the high mountains.  

Geoffrey O'Gara

Geoffrey O’Gara is a writer and documentary producer based in Lander, Wyoming. He produced and hosted the Capitol Outlook and Wyoming Chronicle programs on Wyoming PBS. His books include What You See in Clear Water (Vintage), and A Long Road Home (Houghton-Mifflin). 

Jacki Klancher

Jacki completed her undergrad at the University of Calgary in Physical Geography and Grad work (MS Biology) in sagebrush fire ecology and small mammal populations. She has worked for the Alberta Forest Service, planted some 120,000 jack pine and black spruce trees in the hinterlands of Northern Canada, worked for several summers as a fire lookout, and led trips for the National Outdoor Leadership School for close to a decade.

For the past 6 years Jacki has dedicated her energies to starting and implementing two programs at Central Wyoming College: an Environmental Technician program and, most recently, a program in Geographic Information Systems. 

Bruce Thompson

BRUCE THOMPSON, MST, lives in Dubois, Wyoming, having worked as a natural science education specialist throughout the Intermountain West for more than thirty years. His work has included field and indoor programs for youth and adult, educator workshops, program design, curriculum development and education research. Bruce’s national and regional clients have included the California Institute for Biodiversity, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, National Association for Interpretation, Project WILD, Smithsonian Institution and The Nature Conservancy, as well as scores of state and regional schools, universities, federal agencies, museums, outfitters and guides, and conservation organizations. Past faculty member and Director of Education for Teton Science School in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Bruce has also written science curriculum with Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS), and is author of the Roberts Rinehart publication, Looking at the Wolf. He has served in various capacities on the boards of directors for numerous conservation groups and has been the recipient of various education awards. Bruce also has decades of experience in educational photography and photographic instruction. An avid scatologist and animal tracker, Bruce is the designer of Mammals of North America guides and apparel marketed through his company, Pangraphics. Bruce’s trademark is to generate programs that center on enthusiasm, humor, respect, relevance, stewardship and inspiration for continued learning.
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