When I moved here with my husband and older daughter almost three years ago, I had no idea that I would develop such a strong love for and commitment to Jackson Hole. We were looking for a change, an opportunity to move out West and raise our children in a place that valued nature, wildlife, and being part of a community. We wanted to get involved right away, mostly as a way to build community and get to know this place.
Just a few months after we moved, I heard about the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, mostly about this new program called the “Conservation Leadership Institute.” Having moved from South Carolina and working on environmental issues there, I was VERY out of my element here. I basically knew that there was quite a controversy around wolves and that we are lucky enough to be surrounded by a lot of protected federal lands.
I was eager to learn more about the conservation issues specific to Jackson Hole and what I could do to participate in creating a better future. I was immediately impressed by the Conservation Leadership Institute and the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance. I led similar workshops in South Carolina and had researched similar programs around the country.
As a CLI participant, I learned not only about extremely important issues such as wildlife-vehicle collisions and maintaining wildlife habitat connectivity, but I also learned how to develop a campaign, better craft my story, and, ultimately, become a conservation leader in this community.
After the course, I went on to serve as the Director of Operations for Slow Food in the Tetons, a local non-profit working to improve our local food system. Ultimately, I kept feeling drawn back to the Alliance. Under the new (at the time) leadership of Craig Benjamin, I knew that the Alliance, an organization with more than 35 years of conservation history protecting this valley, would build toward being even more effective.
I volunteered to help with research, which ultimately led to the release of AGENDA 22, a blueprint for making our community a national model of living in balance with nature. After its launch, I asked to meet with Craig to talk about upcoming programs, and inquire about ways to be involved (in my mind, as a volunteer). As fate would have it, Craig had just learned that a development position with the Alliance would soon become available.
I must admit, I had never considered a full-time position in development. Sure, I had done plenty of work relating to development, but I did not think I would ever lead the development work for an organization as prominent as the Alliance.
After reflecting on the opportunity to work for such an incredible organization, I let Craig know that I would apply for the position. The Alliance has a diverse staff, filled with experts in conservation, communications, community planning, and civic engagement – it is a dream team, led by one of the most passionate and talented Executive Directors I’ve ever known. I wanted to be a part of this team and more involved in creating positive change for our community. I wanted to give back to the place I love so much. I wanted to help empower the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance to grow and continue to be THE leading change agent for conservation in this community. And then, with that, I knew that I had to try to be the next Development Coordinator.
I hope that you, too, will support all of the seen (and unseen) reasons the Alliance deserves our support. It is not going to get any easier to keep Jackson Hole the special place we know and love passionately, so, please, donate to the Alliance today.
To donate to the Alliance through Old Bill’s, please visit www.oldbills.org, click “Add to Cart,” and enter the amount you would like to give.
Thanks for your support, we couldn’t do it without you!