A key goal in conservation science is to generate information that helps to improve the effectiveness of management, and thus benefit threatened and declining species. I have worked on this issue at the interface of science and management, in both the non-profit and academic sectors. I present examples of some of this research, focussing on research into the causes of, and remedial management for, northern faunal declines. In particular, I present the values of research at large, realistic scales, of considering interactions between threats, and of pairing large-scale work with focal studies on the responses of individual animals to threats and their management. I reflect on the common gap between conservation science and management, and provide thoughts about how this might be bridged. Throughout the article, I try to infuse some of the personal and human elements that are the backstory to any conservation work.