Meet Our Speakers: Tanya Henderson

In the town of Shoshone, California—population: 31—residents know conservation intimately. Shoshone is home to the Amargosa Conservancy, a small organization devoted to the conservation of the Amargosa River Basin and its biodiverse ecosystems. Spearheading this immense effort is Tanya Henderson, executive director of the Conservancy. After graduating from Whitman College in 2005, Henderson began to focus on conservation, eventually arriving in Shoshone and becoming the Amargosa Conservancy’s stewardship program manager. Over the summer, she transitioned into the role of executive director. Tanya Henderson and the Conservancy currently focus on the conservation of two endangered species in the area: the Amargosa vole and the desert pupfish. As their species names suggest, neither of these animals are charismatic megafauna, like wolves or bison. Henderson, however, still believes firmly in the need for conservation of all endangered species. She asks, “why not do what we can to save a species,” saying that such organisms are “life on the planet, and we should care about those things.”. However, one obstacle continues to make the Conservancy’s work difficult. Like many federal agencies focused on conservation, it’s difficult for the Amargosa Conservancy to find money to complete projects. Henderson recognizes this impediment to conservation, saying that “funding is crazy…it costs a lot do that kind of consistent work.”

By Fields Ford