David grew up in Tucson and holds degrees in literature and philosophy; linguistic anthropology; and ecological anthropology, historiography, and social memory. He has practiced ecological restoration and education for over 20 years by integrating aspects of hydrology, horticulture, Japanese garden design, firefighting and management, and attention to diverse cultural values on public and private land. Representative work includes sacred spring and wetland restoration and resource protection with Hopi, Zuni, Navajo and Southern Paiute partners; prescribed fire application and wildfire mitigation with ranchers; and training the next generation of practitioners for work in complex adaptive systems. After starting a restoration consulting business in 2010 while completing a Ph.D. in ecological anthropology at the University of Arizona, David moved to Patagonia in 2012 to co-found Borderlands Restoration. His 2013 dissertation on the region explores the unique sense of place forged among rural residents, smugglers, and travelers through chance encounters and found objects on the land. Unexpected, shared experiences of grace, hope, and mutual caretaking humanize a region prone to political abstractions, and help mitigate extreme uncertainty as people continuously reimagine how best to inhabit the region together.