Ben grew up in the rolling hills of the Palouse. That picturesque beauty, however, belied the fact that native Palouse prairie was functionally extinct as an ecosystem. This upbringing fostered a deep concern for the impact that humans were having on the natural world alongside an understanding of the struggles and motivations that are most important to farming communities such as those found on the Palouse. Years of biological field work throughout the Pacific Northwest reiterated in Ben’s mind the need for understanding on either side of the conservation debate and that the “us vs. them” mentality would never be able to solve the big problems facing the environment at large. These experiences inspired Ben to work with Michael and Chris to form the Phoenix Conservancy with the goal of fostering understanding and taking concrete steps to restore and regenerate endangered ecosystems while bringing economic value to the communities most in touch with them.