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As a boy, Bob Budd grew up on the land with the wind at his back and the wide vista of Wyoming Ranchland stretching before him. Their family ranch in Wyoming was passed down, alongside an undying reverence for the land, from generation to generation. Budd spent his childhood learning skills and pocketing wisdom from his family, the ranch and their community.


Otter’s Dance is a story of stewardship from a perspective not often heard from- the rancher. It tells of the rhythms of the land, of the people and creatures that make it special, and the ways we can protect it, sharing a universal message about the importance of caring for our natural world. It is an elegy to the place that made Bob Budd who he is today and asks the reader to take some of that love and care back to the places that have imprinted themselves on their lives.


Praise for Otters Dance:


“OTTERS DANCE” is a treatise on ranching, conservation, wildlife, family, and most of all a unique appreciation of our home state of Wyoming.  The essays in this collection come from a lifetime of observing, listening to, and studying the land and the old-timers who were here before us.  This is an absolute must-read for anyone who wants to understand the landscape, history, and culture of the rural Mountain West.” 

- C.J. Box, #1 New York Times Best-Selling Author of SHADOWS REEL 


"Bob Budd's work is both introspective and as open as the land and people he deeply loves.  He blends an appreciation of the past with an apprehension about the future of the natural world as we seek to dominate rather than understand God's great gift to us.  Humor and irony permeate the essays but each one carries an insight into human nature and the natural world we tend to take for granted.  Bob carefully leads us to understand the roots of thoughtful conservation lies in the hard learned lessons of our agricultural ancestors.  A great read allowing us to laugh and ponder our place in the universe at the same time."  

—Former Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal 


“Between these covers await many lasting pleasures. Bob Budd writes like a poet and thinks like an ecologist. He has given us precious essays that entwine people and land – for the better. This book belongs on every reader’s bookshelf.”   

—Richard Knight, Professor Emeritus of Wildlife Conservation, Colorado State University 


Bob is smart, funny and knowledgeable and his writing reflects that.  True compassion for a landscape and a life-style.  Otters Dance is worthwhile, a great addition to anyone's bookshelf. 

—Mary B. Flitner, author of My Ranch, Too 


Humans are storytellers. We understand the world through stories. We place our lives within the context of stories. Bob Budd is a great storyteller. Every essay in Otters Dance reflects his deep appreciation for the diversity of people and landscapes we co-inhabit with the whole of life on earth. Throughout the book, he challenges us to embrace one another and life in its myriad forms as we strive to co-evolve within ever-changing social, economic, and ecological settings. In the end, he invites us to savor the mysteries and wonders of our ever-so-brief visit to this planet we call earth. 

—Fred Provenza, Professor Emeritus at Utah State University and the author of Nourishment 


“Reading Otters Dance brought me right back to my roots and reminded me of how essential family and community are to each of us. Otters Dance rejuvenates the optimism that we can persevere with humility, grace, and a good deal of humor through difficult times. Growing up in Wyoming is special. I know nowhere else where you can meet a stranger, start a conversation, and in just a few minutes, know you know the same people. Bob's journey, his observations, and his delight at witnessing the partnership he has with nature bear fruit is the stuff us kids were fascinated to listen to when the early ranchers talked about their times. Those old-timers knew things about the music of the seasons, the poetry of life, and the wonder of it all, which we have lost. Bob’s book brings back the perspective that we have lost as we focus too much on technology and precision modeling. Life is empirical by its very nature. Bob Budd tells us why it's important to be present in it.” 

— Mark Gordon, Governor of Wyoming 


“I have always known growing up and living in Wyoming was one of the great blessings of my life. Otters Dance puts into words many of the reasons why it is such a blessing to have a Wyoming life. It is the scenery, It is the solitude. It is the wildlife, but perhaps more than anything, it is Wyoming people. Wyoming people—who are both rugged and respectful, practical and sentimental, who live each day to the fullest, while fully giving back to others and always striving to improve Wyoming for future generations.   


“Otters Dance shares the magic and wonder of Wyoming through the eyes of one who knows that the state and her people are special. Bob Budd, with humor and humility shares his life lessons with a collection of stories that as a Wyoming ranch kid, reminded me of my childhood and why I love Wyoming and her people.” 

—Matt Mead, former Wyoming Governor 


“This is a book of wonders, revealing the enchantment of the natural world through the eyes of the keenest of observers. It is a book of science, explaining the interrelationship of humans, animals, habitat, and natural cycles with accessible and indelible clarity. Most of all, it is a book of hope, providing concrete examples of the ways that culture and the environment can heal through communication, collaboration, and mutual respect. I know of no more experienced or eloquent voice in the American West for the radical center, that ground on which human resiliency and healthy ecosystems meet. Bob Budd has devoted his life to building bridges between worlds that are often portrayed at odds: fifteen years as executive director of the Wyoming Stockgrowers, more than a decade managing the Red Canyon Ranch and serving as director of Land Management for The Nature Conservancy in Wyoming, and currently serving as executive director of the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust. This is a life-changing, even a world-saving book. Read it.” 


  —Teresa Jordan, Author of Riding the White Horse Home and The Year of Living Virtuously (Weekends Off) 


"Based on his own lived experience, Bob Budd offers a rare glimpse into the intimate relationships between people, land and wildlife in the American West. In a time of increasing urban-rural divide, this series of poignant essays offers an important bridge, reminding us of our shared humanity and the love of land we hold in common.   

-Lesli Allison, Executive Director of Western Landowners Alliance 





Otters Dance: A Rancher's Journey to Enlightenment and Stewardship


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