Something Big on the Prairie

Gregg Treinish and his team at Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation bring us stories from around the world about adventuring with purpose. Here, ASC’s Alex Hamilton interviews producer Erik Goldstein about his visit to our Landmark adventure science crew on the American Prairie Reserve and the resulting film.

By Alex Hamilton

Taking on his first conservation-oriented project, Brooklyn-based photographer and filmmaker Erik Goldstein knew he wanted to focus on “something big.”

The American Prairie Reserve turned out to be that thing—it is big, both physically and symbolically.

“I knew I had found something special,” says Goldstein. “Here is a program on the ground floor of becoming the largest protected wildlife area in the U.S.”

Goldstein and cinematographer Greg Mezey spent three days with ASC’s Landmark crew, following their day-to-day routines: “I watched every sunrise and sunset. I woke up to a herd of bison around my tent, and listened to coyotes howl at night.”

“[They were] out hiking over 15 miles, every day, for a month or more,” he added.

On October 20, 2005, 16 bison stepped back onto the Montana prairie after an absence of more than 120 years. Today the herd at APR numbers over 450. (Photo by Erik Goldstein)

Goldstein describes himself as a “big believer in the use of technology for conservation,” and left the prairie impressed with ASC’s strategies and the Landmark volunteers.

“I watched the volunteers collect data on their daily findings and instantly share it on a database that scientists all over the world could access,” he says. “I find it amazing how much I learned from [the crew] in a relatively short period.”

The volunteers were learning, too. “It was great to listen to their stories of being on the prairie. You could tell each one of them is walking away from this with an experience they will not forget.”


Read more about Landmark on the ASC Website, the Field Notes blog, and the ASC Facebook,Twitter, Instagram and Google+ pages. Learn more about photographer Erik Goldstein see more of his work at

See All of Erik’s Photos From APR

Read More by Gregg Treinish and His Correspondents


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Meet the Author
Gregg Treinish founded Adventure Scientists in 2011 with a strong passion for both scientific discovery and exploration. National Geographic named Gregg Adventurer of the Year in 2008 when he and a friend completed a 7,800-mile trek along the spine of the Andes Mountain Range. He was included on the Christian Science Monitor's 30 under 30 list in 2012, and the following year became a National Geographic Emerging Explorer for his work with Adventure Scientists. In 2013, he was named a Backpacker Magazine "hero", in 2015, a Draper Richards Kaplan Entrepreneur and one of Men's Journal's "50 Most Adventurous Men." In 2017, he was named an Ashoka Fellow and in 2018 one of the Grist 50 "Fixers." Gregg holds a biology degree from Montana State University and a sociology degree from CU-Boulder. He thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2004. Read more updates from Gregg and others on the Adventure Scientists team at Follow Adventure Scientists on Instagram @adventurescientists, on Facebook @adventurescientists, and on Twitter @AdvScientists.