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Save the Last Dance Author Talk
Noppadol Paothong
Author and Sage-grouse photographer

Doors open at 6.00 p.m.
Program begins at 7.00 p.m.
Tickets: $15, under 18 free
(Buy tickets on top right of this page)
Venue: U.S. Forest Service Auditorium, Mammoth Lakes Visitor Center
Admission includes one beverage of your choice.
Bring your own cup or mug, or purchase an $8 ESIA stainless steel mug onsite.


The impressive and at times bizarre courtship dances of prairie-chickens, sage-grouse, and sharp-tailed grouse are known to nature lovers as one of the most impressive wildlife displays in North America. Sadly, grassland grouse are now dramatically down in number.

Prairie-chickens (pinnated grouse) were once common throughout the North American prairie. As early as 1900, there were three sub-species of greater prairie-chicken: the Attwater’s prairie-chicken, the greater, and the heath hen. Today only two sub-species species remain, with one dangerously close to following the path of the heath hen which went extinct in 1932.  On the other hand, sage-grouse face an uncertain future with fewer than 400,000 in 11 states and two Canadian provinces. As a result, many bird lovers, nature enthusiasts, and even many long-time residents of the West have never even seen these extraordinary birds.

During the seventeen years of working with these birds, he has seen populations disappear throughout their range. Several places where he had photographed them no longer have any birds. We have so much to learn from the sage-grouse and the land they depend on, and it is our responsibility to have a deeper conversation on how to protect this heritage for us and our future generations.

In this presentation, Noppadol Paothong will highlight spring courtship behaviors of these birds that he has been documenting for 17 years for his books Save the Last Dance and Sage Grouse, Icon of the West. His talk will include the extraordinary story of the life and history of sage-grouse and the habitat under threat in the American West.

Noppadol Paothong is an award-wining nature/conservationist photographer with the Missouri Department of Conservation since 2006 and an Associate Fellow with the prestigious International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). The iLCP is an elite group of world’s top wildlife, nature, and culture photographers around the globe. Beside having over 150 cover images in the Missouri Conservationist magazine, his work appears regularly in national publications including Audubon, National Wildlife Magazine, Nature Conservancy and many others. He specializes in rare and endangered species with focus on grassland grouse and their fragile habitat. In addition, he has dedicated over 17 years to documenting the North American grassland grouse which resulted in two large format grand prize winners of the National Outdoor Book Award and Indie Book Awards 2018 Sage Grouse, Icon of the West and Save the Last Dance (2012). He has received numerous national and international honors for his work including “Best of the Best” Picture of the Year, and Missouri Photojournalist of the Year.