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Program for Wild Ideas on the Great Plains

19th Annual Edward & Nancy Dodge Lecture
December 5, 2019

The Edward and Nancy Dodge Lecture is supported through the R. Edward Dodge, Jr. and Nancy L. Dodge Family Foundation Endowment. 


5:00 PM: Introduction by Dr. Martin Bloem, Robert S. Lawrence Professor and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) 

5:10 PM: Lecture by Dan O’Brien 

6:00 PM: Q/A Session 

Reception following in the gallery 

About Dan O’Brien 

Dan O’Brien is an owner of the Cheyenne River Ranch just west of the Badlands National Park and North of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He lives and shares his life on the ranch with his wife Jill, and their old friend Erney Hersman. 

Dan has been a wildlife biologist and rancher for more than 30 years. He is also one of the most celebrated falconers in America today, and was a prime mover in the restoration of peregrine falcons in the Rocky Mountains in the 1970s and 80s. 

Dan is one of the most powerful literary voices on the Plains. Described by the New York Times as “a writer with a keen and poetic eye…”, his novels include, The Spirit of the Hills, In the Center of the Nation, Brendan Prairie, The Contract Surgeon, The Indian Agent and Stolen Horses. Dan’s memoirs on falconry, The Rites of Autumn and Equinox, are intimate and revealing explorations of his life-long search for wildness on the Great Plains. Dan’s other non-fiction book, Buffalo for the Broken Heart explores the history of his ranch and the conversion from beef to buffalo, was chosen for One Book South Dakota in 2009. Dan’s latest non-fiction book, Wild Idea – Buffalo & Family in a Difficult Land is a sequel to Buffalo for the Broken Heart. 

Dan is a two-time winner of the National Endowment for the Arts’ individual artist’s grant, a two-time winner of the Western Heritage Award, and a 2001 recipient of the Bush Creative Arts Fellowship. 

In addition to writing, Dan divides his time between working on the ranch, teaching ecology, and writing and serving on the Black Hills branch of The Nature Conservancy. 

About the Edward and Nancy Dodge Lecture 

The Edward and Nancy Dodge Lecture is supported through the R. Edward Dodge, Jr. and Nancy L. Dodge Family Foundation Endowment, established through the generosity of Dr. Edward Dodge, MPH ’67, and his late wife Nancy to provide core funding for the Center for a Livable Future.