A former archaeologist and Sierra Club activist, Courtney dropped out of the 'conflict industry' in 1997 to co-found the Quivira Coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to building bridges between ranchers, conservationists, public land managers, scientists and others around practices that improve land health (see www.quiviracoalition.org). Today, his conservation work focuses on building economic and ecological resilience on working landscapes, with a special emphasis on carbon ranching and the new agrarian movement.
Courtney has been engaged with Holistic Management (or HRM as it was called then) since 1998, when he co-founded the Quivira Coalition. That's when he took a class from Kirk Gadzia. I've been an advocate for Holistic Planned Grazing ever since.
His writing has appeared in numerous publications, including Farming, Acres Magazine, Rangelands, the Natural Resources Journal and Solutions. His essay, "The Working Wilderness: a Call for a Land Health Movement" was published by Wendell Berry in 2005 in his collection of essays titled The Way of Ignorance.
In 2008, Island Press published Courtney's book Revolution on the Range: the Rise of a New Ranch in the American West. He co-edited, with Dr. Rick Knight, Conservation for a New Generation, also published by Island Press in 2008.
More of Courtney's work can be found on his web site: www.awestthatworks.com
In 2010, Courtney was given the Michael Currier Award for Environmental Service by the New Mexico Community Foundation.
In 2012, he was a writer-in-resident at the U Cross Foundation, near Sheridan Wyoming, and he was the first Aldo Leopold Writer-in-Resident at Mi Casita, in Tres Piedras, New Mexico, courtesy of the Aldo Leopold Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service.
In 2012, he published a collection of black-and-white photographs of the American West in an online book titled The Indelible West. It includes a Foreword by Wallace Stegner (written in 1992). See: www.indeliblewest.com
Courtney will have two books coming out soon: Grass, Soil, Hope: a Journey through Carbon Country, http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/grass_soil_hope# to be published by Chelsea Green Press in June, 2014, and a collection of essays titled Age of Consequences, to be published by Counterpoint Press in early 2015.
He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with his family and a backyard full of chickens.