Justine Sanchez Buffalo Field Campaign Board of DirectorsI was born on Fort Sill Army Base, in Lawton, Oklahoma. My father was a U.S. Army Ranger, West Point graduate, and is a veteran of the Vietnam War. My mother was and still is a devoted mom to her three girls, in addition to developing her own career path.

I grew up just north of Atlanta, GA, in the (then) small suburb of Marietta. Growing up there, I learned to appreciate the thick woods and kudzu, as well as the rich culture, of the deep south. As a child, I sought refuge in our neighborhood woods, often getting “lost” for hours.

Instead of Girl Scouts, my father enrolled my older sister and I in “Indian Princesses.” Here I had my first taste of some Native American traditions such as crafting, fire making, and living close to the earth (aka camping). During high school and college I worked summers at High Meadows Camp; the day camp for kids focused on primitive skills where I taught archery, woodworking, and tumbling. As well, we celebrated and honored Native American ceremony.

I received my Bachelor’s of Science in Geology from the College of Charleston, Charleston, S.C., thus confirming my love for and strong connection to the earth. I graduated with a 3.5 GPA while coordinating the philanthropic arm of my sorority. I also focused on Political Science, where I enjoyed the study of government and our rights as American citizens.

I joined the Peace Corp after college, as a fish culture extensionist on the north coast of Honduras. There I learned Spanish, grant writing, grass roots organizing, living in small communities, and cultural sensitivity. In addition, I learned that I enjoyed living simply…where the natural environment, my community, and my family are the priorities.

Returning home from the Peace Corp (see below), I married my husband, Roman, who is also a BFC board member, and gave birth to my son, Japhy. Japhy is now 19 years old, and also a regular BFC volunteer. I dedicated these past years to raising my son, building my own home, growing my own business as a yoga instructor, and helping to support and sustain our work at Buffalo Field Campaign.

My time as a Peace Corp Volunteer (PCV) has informed my work with Buffalo Field Campaign in several ways. First, I am a social servant. I served my country as a PCV and continue to serve our continent by working for the restoration of wild bison. Second, I am a strong advocate. I have strong beliefs around justice, freedom, and healthy ecosystems. Third, I am empowered to create change. When we work together, across social, cultural, or historical boundaries, we can enrich all life.

I have been a member of the BFC for 15 years. I am now Vice President of our Board of Directors, and volunteer in the field every spring. Building my own home and being self-employed has allowed me to live the simple life I desire with a flexible schedule that permits me to dedicate a large portion of my life to the buffalo. It is an honor to work with such a dedicated group of individuals, and to stand with America’s last wild buffalo. The community and family I have found, both at BFC and in the field with these magnificent animals, are highlights in my life.

I am an avid outdoorswoman. I love to hike, cross-country ski, snowboard, build things, and continue to learn of the flora and fauna in the ever-changing ecosystems I love. I am a community builder. In my work as a yoga instructor in the mountains above Boulder, CO, and as a board member and volunteer for BFC, I help to support my communities through my offerings. I have learned much and gained many skills around mediation, group dynamics, facilitation, and organizing by living in community and working to protect America’s last wild bison.

My husband, Roman Sanchez, is a fellow BFC board member for the past 10 years. Our son, Japhy, grew up within BFC and buffalo community. He is now a Buffalo himself, having just completed his first year of college at the University of Colorado, Boulder, CO…the Buffs!

Living in community with the buffalo and with Buffalo Field Campaign feels like coming home. There is a sense of wholeness that accompanies wild, free roaming bison on the landscape. I am here to stand with the buffalo and stand with my Buffalo Field Campaign family so that all may truly thrive.

Rosalie Little Thunder, Lakota, BFC Co-Founder, said this, “Remind yourself every morning, every morning, every morning: ‘I’m going to do something. I’ve made a commitment. Not for yourself, but beyond yourself. You belong to the collective. Don’t go wandering off, or you will perish.’” I seek to apply these sentiments to myself and to my work for the buffalo, every day, every day, every day.


Read about another BFC volunteer Board member - Roman Sanchez >>