Animal related

BUFFALO FIELD CAMPAIGN

  • West Yellowstone, MT
  • http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org

Mission Statement

Stop the cruel harassment and slaughter of Yellowstone’s wild buffalo herds, protect the natural habitat of these free-roaming buffalo and other native wildlife, and work with all people—especially Indigenous Nations—to honor and protect the sacredness of the wild buffalo.

Main Programs

  1. Frontline Bison Defense Patrols
  2. Citizen Advocacy
  3. Litigation
  4. Policy
  5. Media, Outreach, and Education
Service Areas

Self-reported

Montana

We are active in the field as well as in the policy arenas, generally seeking to: end the suffering of these iconic and abused animals, create year-round protection for buffalo, and generate respect for the migration needs of this exploited species.

Our hands-on efforts are executed through a carefully planned, multi-pronged strategy to permanently protect buffalo using field patrols, grassroots citizen advocacy, litigation, and legislation. We bring a humane, science-based, and ecologically balanced approach to buffalo “management” that respects and protects bison, their habitat, and their fellow animals.

ruling year

1994

Mr. since 1994

Self-reported

Mike Mease

Keywords

Self-reported

buffalo, bison, Yellowstone, ecosystem protection, habitat protection, west, native american, national parks, public lands, livestock, Montana, direct action, Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, wildlife

Notes from the Nonprofit

BFC represents the best of what hands-on grassroots activism should be. We operate year round in one of the harshest environments there is, fighting to save innocent wild animals from the cruel and wasteful government bureaucracies that have targeted them. We treat one another honestly, and respect…and we are saving lives with our own blood, sweat, and tears.

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Also Known As

BFC

EIN

36-3964401

Physical Address

14365 Hebgen Lake Rd

West Yellowstone, MT 59758

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Wildlife Preservation/Protection (D30)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (C01)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (D01)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Frontline Bison Defense Patrols

Depending on weather, BFC conducts daily field patrols in vehicles, on boots, skis, snowshoes, or on mountain bikes—but we DO always patrol. Teams monitor key bison migration corridors and core habitat areas along the Yellowstone boundary year-round, including several months of 24-hour coverage through each cold Yellowstone winter when the buffalo need us most.

In addition to documenting and interrupting buffalo abuse, our field patrols have compiled a comprehensive and current collection of scientific data, video footage, and personal experiences with buffalo in their native habitat. Our patrols document every action against the buffalo and inform a wide range of other activities designed to protect them. Nearly 5,000 volunteers have joined our hands-on front-lines patrols to protect the buffalo, all the while learning about activism, leadership, and direct action; many go on to create or support other organizations.

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Program 2

Citizen Advocacy

BFC leverages the grassroots energy of more than 40,000 supporters to support of our mission. We facilitate letter writing and email campaigns by folks supportive of our mission, and use them to help politicians and legislators understand that not all constituents are uninformed and passive. In fact, our supporters are generally very engaged.

Each year in the summer, we have volunteers who set up informational tables in authorized areas of Yellowstone, as well as in the tourist hubs where visitors flow into and out of the park. We seek to expand public knowledge about this issue, including the cruelty and the waste of public monies.

We also regularly reach out to local landowners, initiating dialog and offering information about property rights violations and frequent illegal trespass activities by the Montana Department of Livestock. While much of the prime buffalo habitat in the Yellowstone ecosystem is public land, there are portions on private land as well. BFC works to identify landowners and residents who welcome bison on their lands, and is establishing a large network of “Bison Safe Zones.” One property on the Horse Butte Peninsula, an 850-acre former cattle ranch, was declared a wild bison sanctuary by the new owners, who then informed the Montana Department of Livestock that they (the government agents) may not enter the property to haze, capture, or slaughter bison. More than 100 landowners in Gardiner and West Yellowstone have joined this alliance and posted BFC’s Bison Safe Zone signs on their property, thus formally notifying all government agencies that “buffalo management operations” are not permitted there.

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Program 3

Litigation

BFC works year-round to challenge and change the policies that have resulted in the senseless slaughter of nearly 4,000 Yellowstone bison since the year 2000. We attend public hearings and conferences where we present and submit comments on buffalo management decisions. We also work through the courts to uphold laws and contest management actions—and at the state and national levels to craft legislation to stop the slaughter and protect buffalo.

BFC is very fortunate to have had a series of animal rights and environmental law students volunteer with us in various capacities. Now, years later, we reap the benefit of a well-educated and well-placed legal support system. We do have to pay for some services, but generally receive about four dollars of legal guidance, research, and representation for every dollar invested. This is a return of four to one, and a benefit that we seek to maximize for the animals.

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Program 4

Policy

In addition to the legal actions described above, we are working with members of the U.S. Congress on initiatives aimed at bringing permanent protection to America’s native buffalo. Since 2010, we have maintained a staff person in Washington DC to educate and build relationships with congressional offices and members of the executive branch and to spur federal action to provide wild buffalo greater room to roam. We build daily upon this valuable work and maintain a presence in our nation’s capital.

We also have the good fortune to have Mr. James St. Goddard as our (informal) Native Liaison. He is a spiritual leader of the Blackfeet Nation, and volunteers with us. Mr. St. Goddard has made multiple trips to Washington, DC, Helena, and Denver on behalf of BFC and wild buffalo. He has and shares good contacts on Capitol Hill and has made key introductions for BFC with members of the Senate and House, and introduced us to key staffers at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian.

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Program 5

Media, Outreach, and Education

BFC informs tens of thousands of concerned citizens around globe through our regular email “Updates from the Field,” as well as our newsletters, press releases, Facebook postings, and print articles. We have spent literally thousands of hours educating and advocating for the buffalo, including through our annual and highly popular BFC Road Show that travels through many communities across the country. We have built a powerful grassroots movement aimed at ending the horrific treatment of these animals, and achieving permanent protection for the buffalo on their year-round habitat. These communication and engagement efforts play a crucial role in supporting our legislative work, as concerned citizens contact congressional offices (and agencies) and help lawmakers understand that their constituents demand protection for the last of the wild bison.

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Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Buffalo Field Campaign's patrol and advocacy efforts have so far saved the last of the wild buffalo from extinction, but the best long-term strategy to end the heart-wrenching cruelty and protect the buffalo over the long term is a federal “Endangered Species” listing. While continuing our extensive field campaigns, we will increase the level of protection provided to wild buffalo and their habitat through implementation of pragmatic state and federal policy changes.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    - We are working to change Montana law to recognize wild bison as an essential native species requiring protection and remove the Montana Department of Livestock’s (DOL) bison management authority. Specifically, we seek to transfer management authority from DOL to Montana’s Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. Accomplishing this will transfer power from an agency whose mission is to protect the profits of the livestock industry to an agency whose mission is to protect wild buffalo and restore them to their native habitat.

    - BFC will increase the protection of wild buffalo and their habitat by obtaining a “threatened” or “endangered” status for America’s wild bison under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).

    - We frequently attend public hearings and conferences where we present information and submit comments on buffalo management decisions.

    - Our legal team diligently works within the courts to ensure that existing laws are upheld and contest management actions that are detrimental to the buffalo and/or their ecosystem.

    - We strongly ally ourselves with native tribes to highlight and promote the many tribal perspectives favoring wild bison in Montana.

    - Throughout the year we attend conferences and expositions, and conduct public education talks throughout Montana and on the east and west coasts. We also regularly set up information tables throughout Yellowstone National Park to inform and engage visitors, who are largely unaware of the way buffalo—as a national treasure—are treated.

    Much of the above requires legal casework, court filings, dealing with myriad agencies and bureaucracies, and the execution of a public education component that we continue refining.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    BFC’s capable cadre of staff, volunteers, and allies includes some fine pro bono legal help. These legal professionals are supported by our experienced internal staff as well as occasional paid legal specialists, wildlife biologists, and other expert assistance.

    BFC is very fortunate to have had a series of animal rights and environmental law students volunteer with us in various capacities—including field patrols. Now, years later, we reap the benefit of a well-educated and experienced legal support system. We do have to pay for some services, but generally receive about four dollars of legal guidance, research, and representation for every dollar invested. This four to one return is a benefit that we maximize for the buffalo.

    To support our national-level buffalo protection efforts, we have maintained a staff person in Washington DC since 2010. This person educates and builds relationships with congressional offices and members of the executive branch to spur federal action to provide wild buffalo greater room to roam.

    We also have the good fortune to have a Native Liaison who is a spiritual leader of the Blackfeet Nation and volunteers with us. This person has made multiple trips to Washington, DC; Helena, MT; and Denver, CO on behalf of BFC and wild buffalo. He has and shares his Capitol Hill contacts, making key introductions between BFC and members of U.S. Congress, as well as key staffers at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian.

    BFC leverages the grassroots energy of more than 30,000 supporters to support our mission. We facilitate letter writing and email campaigns by folks supportive of our mission, and use them to help politicians and legislators understand that not all constituents are uninformed and passive. Our supporters are generally very engaged.

    At a “basecamp” in West Yellowstone, BFC maintains a very rustic headquarters occupied year-round by between 5 and 20 staff and/or volunteers from around the world (depending on the season and activity level). The leaders of BFC have trained hundreds of volunteers on every aspect of BFC’s work—and helped “launch” thousands of activists out into the field after experiencing the effectiveness and empowerment of BFC. These wonderful people keep in touch and help grow support for buffalo protection.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    We track the plans and proposed actions of the buffalo adversaries and seek to hinder them, without violating any laws, as described in “Strategies” above.

    In our fieldwork, many of our primary indicators must be framed and adjusted annually, or even seasonally, according to the activities of buffalo antagonists and the buffalo themselves, for example:

    How many buffalo crossed the Yellowstone National Park boundary? Of those, how many buffalo were harassed and/or killed by the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) this season/year compared to previous seasons/years? Did DOL meet their self-imposed buffalo kill (or forced relocation) quotas? Can our actions be directly or tangentially linked to decreased buffalo injury and/or mortality? How much film did we capture of the cruel actions of the DOL, and how widely, articulately, and effectively did we share the story of what these animals endure? Through media and outreach activities, how effectively were we able to shine a protective spotlight onto the atrocities perpetrated against these last wild bison?

    Regarding our education and outreach activities, we track how many people attend educational events, visit our information tables, “Like” our Facebook page, visit our website, and telephone inquiries into our office. We also measure responses to our electronic newsletters, in which we request our supporters to take action via phone calls, emails, and letters to legislators.

    In legislative and policy areas we evaluate how broadly our coalitions have grown and how well we work together with our allies. We also track the progress of our efforts through the state and federal systems as we seek to ensure true and lasting protection for buffalo via changes to law and policy.

    We monitor all of the above closely as an organization, as does our Board of Directors, and together regularly evaluate what we have accomplished against our goals. We discuss what has worked, how things can be improved, and regularly seek input, feedback, and new ideas from our large pool of volunteers.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    In the near-term, our field patrols continue to reduce buffalo suffering and death on a consistent basis. BFC’s volunteer ranks continue to grow. Our cameras continue to capture evidence of the cruel way our taxpayer dollars are wasted, as DOL agents harass a species fighting for its very survival. We continue making videos and sharing stories of this deplorable situation…and public interest is slowly but steadily growing.

    For the longer term, and in consultation with the Montana tribal legislative caucus and other allies, we are pursuing various legislative avenues to protect the buffalo and their ecosystem. We have been in close communication with members of the tribal caucus and are very excited about the potential of working together to champion a pro-bison bill in the upcoming legislative session.

    BFC is currently working to draft, promote, and find a sponsor for legislation to introduce in the 2015 Montana legislative session that would strike the harmful anti-bison law MCA 81-2-120 from the books and strip DOL of buffalo management authority. We understand that the Montana legislature is heavily influenced by the livestock industry, and that it will be extremely difficult to pass legislation to change the status quo of bison management. However, recent state and federal polls clearly show that more than 70% of Montanans and Americans hold a favorable impression of wild, free-roaming buffalo. To capitalize on this public sentiment, we plan to follow our 2015 legislative agenda with a 2016 ballot initiative taking the issue to Montana voters to earn protection for the bison. A precedent already exists with wild elk, a species allowed to carry out its natural migration across Yellowstone’s boundaries. Our legislation will protect the bison’s right to migrate and, like the elk, place them under the authority of Montana’s Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. We are making good progress on this project.

    Most importantly: a listing as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act would be the most effective way to protect the bison. With this end in mind, we are currently compiling all the relevant data to draft an objective, scientifically persuasive, and legally defensible petition to list the species. We are working with attorneys and biologists to answer key strategic, legal, and scientific questions pertaining to this effort.

    Outreach, education, and media, are informing an engaged citizenry, continue to play a huge role in achieving success.
Service Areas

Self-reported

Montana

We are active in the field as well as in the policy arenas, generally seeking to: end the suffering of these iconic and abused animals, create year-round protection for buffalo, and generate respect for the migration needs of this exploited species.

Our hands-on efforts are executed through a carefully planned, multi-pronged strategy to permanently protect buffalo using field patrols, grassroots citizen advocacy, litigation, and legislation. We bring a humane, science-based, and ecologically balanced approach to buffalo “management” that respects and protects bison, their habitat, and their fellow animals.

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Financials

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BUFFALO FIELD CAMPAIGN INC
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

BUFFALO FIELD CAMPAIGN

Leadership

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Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Board Chair and Board Co-Chair
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Mr.

Mike Mease

BIO

President, Co-founder, and Campaign Coordinator Mike Mease has worked as an environmental organizer,
activist, and videographer for more than two decades. His activism, along with his passion and skill in
creating compelling short films on/about bison behavior and management, are some of BFC’s greatest
organizational assets. His leadership in the field has been crucial to BFC’s success.

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Mr. Mike Mease

Buffalo Field Campaign

Term: Sept 1994 -

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Yes

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?