Utah Nature Photo of the Month

Check back each month a great new shot of our favorite outdoor places in Utah, each showing a different side of our work in this one-of-a-kind state! 

June 2018

The Wilson’s Phalarope is a globally important species that commonly visits the Great Salt Lake as a migratory stopover, where they molt and feast on brine shrimp and brine flies before they continue on their long journey.

Their primary threat in Utah is the loss of habitat and food due to fluctuating water levels at the Great Salt Lake. The Conservancy is working with various partners in support of creating numeric water quality standards for the Great Salt Lake to ensure the long-term health of this globally important ecosystem.

May 2018

Last month, photographer Drew Rush toured Southern Utah for an epic road trip with his dad and his daughter. We featured their adventure on Instagram and learned how nature brings people together. We also learned what it takes to get that perfect shot. With this dreamy photo of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (which he had to be up especially early to capture), Drew reminds us, “No matter who you are, or where you’re from, it’s easy to marvel at the beauty that surrounds us in nature every day."

April 2018

For the past eight years, American kestrels have visited the nest box at The Nature Conservancy’s preserve near the Great Salt Lake. This year, we decided to install a nest cam so we can monitor their behavior and get to know them a bit better—and we want to share the experience with you! Check out the nest livestream now through August to learn more about this fascinating and fiercely cute species.

March 2018

Utah prairie dogs are no stranger to controversy. While many find the presence of these threatened critters to be a nuisance, the Utah prairie dog plays an important role in maintaining the health of our local ecosystems. In fact, Utah prairie dogs are a keystone species because they are a source of food for predators and their burrows allow the soil to better absorb water and nutrients. Many actions are being taken by groups like The Nature Conservancy to protect prairie dog populations. By implementing multiple conservation strategies, we are able to make a greater impact for recovery.

February 2018

Late last year, President Trump announced that he would be decreasing the boundaries of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, beginning what is sure to be a long and precedent-setting legal battle. But win or lose, the president's actions may have other ramifications. "The Antiquities Act will no longer be a reliable conservation tool, and every national monument that was established through the act can no longer be considered permanently protected,” says Mark R. Tercek, president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy.

January 2018

Somewhere near San Rafael Swell, a light veil of scattered snow kisses the desert earth as the sun begins to set in the horizon. This year, let nature be your meditative medicine—and be sure to get an extra dose, especially during these challenging times.

December 2017

The stakes for nature are incredibly high and the challenges we face show no signs of letting up. But no matter what, we remain unwavering in our commitment to protect our planet. Stay the course with us.

November 2017

Although spring and summer are the most popular seasons for birdwatching, winter also provides its own unique birding experience — especially at the Scott M. Matheson Wetlands Preserve in Moab, Utah. More than 200 species of birds, amphibians, and mammals can be found at the preserve throughout the year, and winter is no exception. A variety of geese, ducks, crows and raptors (like this Cooper’s Hawk) hang around the preserve during the colder months. So, grab a coat and some binoculars and enjoy observing the biodiversity of a desert oasis during this tourist hot-spot’s off-season.

October 2017

At the Conservancy’s Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve, we’re bringing visitors closer to nature with our GPS-triggered audio tour, and fall is the perfect time to try it out for yourself. Download the tour before you go to experience the preserve in an immersive new way!

September 2017

Carving through world-class scenery at the intersection of three different ecological zones, the Virgin River gives life to a staggering array of plants and wildlife found nowhere else. From cutting-edge fish habitat improvements to the protection of key riparian lands, learn how the Conservancy and its partners are keeping this river healthy for the human and natural communities it supports.

August 2017

According to Bill Frist—former Senate Majority Leader and current member of The Nature Conservancy's global board—supporting our diverse public lands and investments in our natural resources through effective conservation and science programs is key to putting us and our nation on a stronger path. But first, Congress must stand up for nature so nature can sustain and protect us. Read Bill Frist’s full op-ed in USA Today to learn more about this critical message.

July 2017

For July 4th, we celebrate independence and our identity, rooted in iconic lands, waters and wildlife. These protected lands spring from the wisdom of earlier generations of Americans who recognized and agreed upon the need to protect these places for present and future generations. Take a moment to be grateful for the long tradition of Americans coming together around nature. Let’s honor that tradition as citizen stewards and by encouraging our government leaders to do the same.

June 2017

Last month, more than 1,000 people participated in the Great Salt Lake Bird Festival. At the Conservancy’s booth, kids and families were invited to color swallows, visit the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve to see them in person, and try out our brand new audio tour. One of our Utah staff also lead a “Behind-the-Gates” tour through the Legacy Nature Preserve, where twelve eager birders identified 59 species by sight and sound! These birders encountered a variety of familiar bird species, including a family of bald eagles, a singing common yellowthroat, and dancing sandhill cranes. They were even graced by the sight of white-faced ibis flying overhead!

MAY 2017

Last month, award-winning local photographer Dave Koch hosted a weeklong takeover of our Instagram. During his takeover, he shared a selection of photos capturing his favorite places in Utah, many of which the Conservancy is working to restore and preserve. In this featured photo of Arches National Park, he encourages us to “look beyond the obvious.” While many of us visit Arches for the spectacular rock formations, he encourages us to look deeper. “Look around and behind the arches,” he writes, “There is much more to see and learn from." Visit our Instagram page to see more photos from Dave’s takeover.

APRIL 2017

Washington County is home to an exquisite plant that exists nowhere else on Earth—the dwarf bear poppy. Unfortunately, this unique piece of Utah’s natural heritage is facing a number of challenges. To protect remaining populations, the Conservancy is working with communities, government agencies and other local organizations, particularly at our White Dome Nature Preserve, which is now open to the public. Here’s what you need to know before you start planning your visit.

MARCH 2017

Last month, Darlene Smith hosted a weeklong takeover of our Instagram. To raise awareness of the importance of nature in all our lives, she shared a selection of photos capturing her favorite places and wildlife in Utah, many of which the Conservancy in Utah is working to protect and preserve. This photo of the north arm of the Great Salt Lake was a fan favorite. Visit our Instagram page to see more photos from Darlene’s takeover.


Last month, Utah kicked off the year with a wet winter. Snowpack levels reached approximately 200% throughout most of Northern Utah, which is already trickling down into our beloved lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. This runoff is great news for people and nature, especially in places like the Great Salt Lake and Bear River that experienced declining water levels in recent years.


You don’t have to go far for a taste of the real Westworld. Not far from where the hit HBO show was filmed on site, you can find incredible biodiversity near the Conservancy’s working Dugout Ranch. By acquiring the Dugout Ranch near Canyonlands National Park, The Nature Conservancy saved one of the West’s most iconic landscapes, unique among other Utah ranches. Today, the ranch, spanning more than 305,000 acres of private and public land, is the foundation for the ground-breaking Canyonlands Research Center.


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