Pam Hardy, Western Environmental Law Center Attorney
Pam Hardy is an attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center, an active volunteer with the Harney County Restoration Collaborative, and the newest addition to the High Desert Partnership board. Pam’s passion for healthy land, water, fish and wildlife began in her childhood.
"From the time I was a little kid, I loved the land, the fish, the trees. When life was hard, my sanctuary was the little wooded creek beyond the apricot orchard behind our house. When I learned that such places were in danger of pollution, degradation and more something in my heart vowed that I would work to change that. It wasn’t a conscious choice—more like a deep sense that I had a duty to take care of the land that had taken care of me.
I studied wildlife biology as an undergrad, and started my career studying hummingbirds with The Nature Conservancy. Soon, however, I found myself teaching outdoor school to 5th and 6th graders and fell in love with the experience of helping others find those magical connections to nature that had meant so much to me. I spent the next ten years as a backcountry and river guide. I tasted just about every kind of outdoor guiding out there from bike tours in Amish Country to meeting Navajo shamans in Arizona, from sea kayaking in Nova Scotia to white water on the Colorado River, from Museum tours to the gnarly mountain bike adventures, from Elderhostel to kindergarteners, and just about everywhere in between.
But after 10 years I realized that my body wouldn’t stand up for 10 more years of such physically challenging work. To continue carrying out my vow to care for the land, I went to law school to study environmental law. I graduated from the University of Oregon in 2006, and spent the first eight years working mostly as a litigator on behalf of a number of different environmental organizations.
Despite my time in the courtroom, I always had a sweet spot for the situations where people could work out their differences through better communication. All through law school I was a mediator in the local circuit court, and early on in my schooling, I wrote a research paper about the “Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Area” and how it had come to be. That’s how I learned about Harney County. In 2004, I was appointed to that group in the Dispersed Recreation seat, and stayed there for about 10 years.”
In 2017 Pam joined the Western Environmental Law Center with her role being "to extend the success we’ve seen at the Blue Mountain Forest Partners to other parts of the Blue Mountains." It was in 2018 that Pam began participating with the Harney County Restoration Collaborative. "I stay involved at HCRC because it works. People listen, they think about the various perspectives, and are willing to find middle ground where we can all agree on treatments."
As of September 2020 Pam has taken on another role as a member of High Desert Partnership's Board of Directors. "I’ve seen collaboration work. When people take the time to sit together, respect each other, and hear each other out, opportunities arise that would otherwise be missed. There is a chance to get most folks into mutual understanding and alignment. And when that happens we can take action with clarity and confidence. We’re facing some tough challenges with natural resource management. All the easy and obvious solutions have already been found and implemented. This next level is going to require nuanced understanding and ingenuity. That requires working together."