After attending an Alliance Speaker Series presentation about the importance of protecting migration corridors and keeping habitat intact, Mary Ignatiadis decided to devote her Americorps service project time to the Safe Passages campaign with the Alliance. Serving as an Americorps volunteer with Teton Science Schools, Mary already felt a connection with the wildlife and open spaces of Jackson Hole and understood the importance of educating others on wildlife issues. Through volunteering with the Alliance, Mary was able to apply her passion and skills in education to a grassroots campaign, and we are so appreciative that she chose to do so with us.
During her time with the Alliance, Mary established curriculum around wildlife crossings to be used in local classrooms, connected with local art groups to foster relationships for future collaboration on wildlife art projects, and helped create a communications strategy for future volunteers on the campaign to effectively educate the community about migration corridors and wildlife crossings. Luckily for us, Mary will continue on with the volunteer team and serve as networking coordinator moving forward.
You can read what Mary had to say about her time with the Alliance below and learn more about her and her Americorps story here.
Thanks for everything, Mary, and congratulations on completing your Americorps term. We are excited to continue to have you on the team!
The Alliance is a well-known leader in advocating for our community’s well-being. The future that the Alliance is working to create is a Jackson that is livable and affordable, not because it has sacrificed our wildlife to development, but because it has succeeded in protecting the unique wilderness that drew us all here in the first place. Most importantly, the development solutions that the Alliance proposes to achieve that vision are based on the best available science. I was inspired by the passion and practicality of the staff at the Alliance, and saw an opportunity to further their impact by increasing scientific literacy in the community around the issue of wildlife crossings.
Because of its renown as a tourist destination, Jackson has the opportunity to become a world leader in developing a sustainable urban-wildlife interface. However, few people in the U.S. know about wildlife crossings, one of the most effective tools we have for allowing humans and wildlife to safely cross the same space. I created lesson plans for local middle and high school students that survey the ecological, economic, and social implications of building wildlife crossings. Furthermore, the lessons give students a framework for making community decisions about the development of sustainable infrastructure. Another great tool for educating our community about wildlife crossings is public art. This summer, I’m establishing partnerships between the Alliance and other community organizations to have students create and display art related to wildlife crossings.
Getting to know the awesome team at Alliance has truly been a highlight of my AmeriCorps term. I would like to thank everyone there for supporting me with their insight and enthusiasm. I’m excited to keep working with y’all!