“SuzAnne Miller is such a patient instructor, informative naturalist, devoted animal trainer, and self-mocking drill sergeant.”
Elizabeth Baldwin, Atlanta, Georgia
SuzAnne Miller, a fourth-generation Montanan, grew up roaming the mountains and fishing the streams of western Montana. Fresh out of high school, SuzAnne became one of the first women to “man” a Forest Service fire lookout by herself.
She met the love of her life, Sterling Miller, at the University of Montana while she was studying forestry and he was studying wildlife biology. After marrying, they joined the Peace Corps for three years in Chile.
They returned to the US for graduate school at the University of Washington where SuzAnne majored in biomathematics. They then migrated north to Alaska, where they spent more than 20 years in professional posts with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game – Sterling as a research biologist specializing in bear research and SuzAnne as a biometrician involved in research on nearly every species of fish, bird, or mammal in Alaska. SuzAnne's experience included countless field trips, where she fine-tuned her outdoor skills under extreme conditions – including going toe-to-toe with a 1,000-pound sea lion in the Gulf of Alaska.
The Millers' time in Alaska brought fulfilling careers, fantastic adventures across the entire state, and two wonderful sons: Jake (born in 1987) and Mark (born in 1992).
Yet for all the beauty and grandeur of Alaska, Montana retained a strong hold on their hearts – in part because of SuzAnne's love of horses and her desire to return to “horse country.” They bought Dunrovin in 1997 and have since turned the property into a quality Tennessee Walking Horse ranch.
When not introducing Montana to guests, SuzAnne consults with government and private agencies on the human dimensions of managing natural resources. One of her consulting projects, The Montana Challenge, established the link between the health of Montana's natural landscape - its land, water, and wildlife - and Montana's socioeconomic landscape. She has been across the state meeting with public groups to discuss the economic importance of maintaining Montana's environmental quality. SuzAnne served as the vice president of the Tennessee Walking Horse Association of Montana, a member of the Missoula Backcountry Horsemen, and has served on the board of the Montana Natural History Center.
Sterling is a world expert on grizzly bear ecology and population dynamics and past president of the International Association for Bear Research and Management. He now serves as the Senior Scientist for the Northern Rockies Office of the National Wildlife Federation and as an associate professor for the University of Montana and the University of Alaska. Currently his work is focused on mitigating the impacts of climate change on wildlife populations.
SuzAnne and Sterling's two sons are great students with broad interests. The family celebrated two graduations in the spring of 2010. Jake graduated from the University of Montana and now lives in Madison, Wisconsin where he works for the Wisconsin State legislature and is applying to law schools in pursuit of a career in international law. Mark graduated from Sentinel High School and is enrolled as a freshman at the University of Montana where he has yet to declare a major.
The entire family shares a deep appreciation for travel, the arts, and sports. The boys have been active in the Missoula Children’s Theater and family trips have taken them to New York City, Las Vegas, Montreal, Europe, and Australia to enjoy theater productions, festivals, hiking, boating, swimming, scuba diving, and touring. Jake is an accomplished competitive swimmer while Mark has a second degree black belt in Taekwondo. Both boys spent part of the summer of 2010 in Europe – Jake studied in Russia and Mark toured central Europe with his British cousin.
Most important to SuzAnne and Sterling: Dunrovin Ranch and the opportunity to help you explore your connections with the natural world on the best of all conveyances: a smooth-gaited Tennessee Walking Horse. Their long careers in natural resource management and their world travels have taught them just what a privilege it is to live and work in Montana – the last best place!
“I like nothing better than sharing the sense of joy and awe that fills me when I am on the back of a good horse in Montana’s back country.” –SuzAnne Miller