New Podcast Tells Story of Snake River Birds of Prey Conservation Area


Common Land, a new radio documentary-style podcast series, debuts Thursday, January 30. The podcast is produced by KRBX Radio Boise, the Treasure Valley’s only non-profit community radio station, and the Wild Lens Collective, a Boise-based non-profit media company focused on environmental storytelling. The series is hosted and produced by award-winning filmmaker Matthew Podolsky, who co-directed Sea of Shadows, winner of the Audience Award at Sundance Film Festival in 2019. The first season of the show will tell the creation story behind a unique patch of protected land right in Boise’s backyard – the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area (NCA).

The Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey NCA was created by an act of Congress in 1993. When the NCA celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2018, a coalition came together to conduct interviews with key figures in the area’s history for the creation of an oral history series. Early on in this process, the idea for a radio documentary series that would utilize these oral histories to tell the story of the NCA in a compelling and accessible format was proposed, and Common Land was born.

The story behind the creation of this unique NCA is deeply fascinating; former Bureau of Land Management District Manager Dean Bibles describes the area as “the only [protected] place in the entire world where the boundaries were scientifically designed.”

The NCA is located near Murphy, Idaho, 30 miles south of Boise, and was established to provide protection for the highest nesting density of birds of prey anywhere in North America.  It took more than 40 years of scientific research, political maneuvering and strategic advocacy to successfully establish federal protection for this area.

However, this story does not end with the establishment of protection for the Snake River Canyon region – there are dire threats on the horizon for the NCA and its unique raptor population. The Common Land podcast asks these essential questions – what does it mean to protect a patch of land? Is protection enough in this era of climate change and extreme wildfires?

Jolie Pollet, the Bureau of Land Management’s Division Chief for Wildfire Planning, worries, “We could see a permanent loss of ecosystems unless we start dealing with this pretty seriously.”

Episode one of Common Land will air on Radio Boise at 4 PM on Thursday, January 30, and will be available to download and stream as a podcast at the same time. This debut broadcast tells the story of Morley Nelson, the greatest champion for protection of the Snake River Canyon and birds of prey across North America. New episodes will be released weekly at the same time; season one of the Common Land series will feature ten 30-min episodes in total.

Listen to the first show trailer.

Watch the Common Land video trailer.

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