The following is an interview with the Safe Wildlife Crossings campaign volunteer, Anya Tyson. Anya was featured in our recent Alliance publication, “Empowering Conservation Leaders.” You can view the entire newsletter here.
How did you get involved in the wildlife crossings campaign?
Vance spoke about Wildlife Crossings at one of our first CLI gatherings; he was frank and selfless. His words hit home: our amazing experiences with animals in this valley are not a given.
What is your most memorable moment and/or proudest achievement while working as a volunteer?
The first was decidedly zany, as I hopped in my packraft-turned-Start Bus to chase a raft full of ungulates down the Snake River during the 2015 Pole Pedal Paddle race. The second was more understated when a whole lot of hard work and dedication came quietly to fruition in June 2015 as the county commissioners approved funding for the Wildlife Crossing Master Plan.
How did the Conservation Leadership Institute influence the work you do now to protect wildlife, including with the wildlife crossings campaign?
CLI helped me turn concepts into practice. People are moved to action by effective storytelling. In order to motivate people to act on behalf of wildlife, whether you’re asking them to collect citizen science data or vote, sharing something about your own journey can create the spark.
You’ve heard Vance’s story through the Conservation Leadership Institute and seen his passion and dedication to the wildlife in our valley through working on the Safe Wildlife Crossings Campaign. What about his story do you find particularly compelling?
I am drawn to his focused resolve. There are many ways to help wildlife, but Vance considered his values and settled on a specific course of action: we need wildlife crossings.
How has the Conservation Alliance helped you in your mission of protecting wildlife and helping shape the next generation of conservation leaders?
The Alliance was a key catalyst for me in my transition from intention to action. CLI introduced me to the mechanisms by which local decisions are made, a cadre of accomplished people who drive these decisions, and a whole cohort of passionate, up-and-coming conservation rockstars.