To Be a Part of Sagebrush Country

The following is an essay contributed by a young Nevada resident with a life-long connection to sagebrush country. This story is part of the People of the Sage campaign by SageWest.


Have you ever wondered how kids look at the conservation world? Maybe not and maybe you should. My name is Desatoya, most people call me Desi.  I am 12 years old and live in a small town in northern Nevada. I enjoy riding my horses in rodeos and traveling around the country.

In my life I’ve seen some amazing places. For the first 10 years I lived on the Smith Creek Ranch outside of Austin, Nevada. We also lived on the IL Ranch for a short while. During my time at Smith Creek and the IL, I was able to watch many conservation projects unfold. I’ve helped my dad build beaver dams in the creek to prevent erosion. I participated in a video with ranch employees from the IL about why conservation is an important part of their ranching operations. Being around conservation and helping it happen is the thing that I love to do and it is really fun for me!

This year we took a little bit of a road trip. We went to the National Junior High Rodeo Finals in Tennessee! We drove across the country for eight days in the truck pulling our trailer with my horses Flor, Tex, and Pecas. I thought it was so cool to watch the landscape change as we left the sagebrush and mountains and trees, drove across flat prairies and then so many rivers. It was so cool, but by the time we got home I had a new respect for the dry Nevada flats. I hadn't realized how much I had missed the fact that you could look out for miles and just see flat sagebrush country and then out of the blue, a mountain. I then truly realized how much I loved the sagebrush. I think that when you have lived in the actual sagebrush sea you can never truly leave. It becomes a part of you.

I think sagebrush conservation is important for everyone. In truth, we might not like it all the time, but we need the sagebrush and the cattle to be able to live and work in Nevada. The sagebrush, the sage grouse and the cows all balance each other out because we can all get along. This plant is a big part of our lives and I hope it will continue to be.

Hannah Nikonow