For over three and a half decades, the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance has worked to protect the wildlife, wild places, and community character of Jackson Hole. To carry out our mission, we integrate focused issue advocacy campaigns, intentional base building, leadership development, targeted education efforts, and holding our elected representatives accountable for their decisions.
An enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic. Self-government is not possible unless the citizens are educated sufficiently to enable them to exercise oversight.
— Thomas Jefferson
Partly because conservationists are not actively engaged in the political process in an organized and powerful manner, Wyoming suffers from myriad conservation failures, like declining funding for the Wyoming Game & Fish Department, fossil fuel energy development that harms wildlife, and a lack of support for a transition to a clean energy economy. And our local republic is not effectively addressing the big challenges we face: a housing crisis that’s destroying our middle class and threatening the fabric of our community, transportation challenges tearing into our quality of life, over 200 animals struck and killed on our roads every year, and rural development consuming the wildlife habitat and open spaces that define our valley.
The Alliance’s Civic Engagement campaign works to hold our elected representatives accountable for their decisions that shape our future, engage Teton County residents in the civic process, and educate Teton County residents on the issues that shape our future.
Even though our community is very involved in general, and even though voter turnout is around 100% for registered voters, many of our residents (especially youth and Latinos) are not yet registered and voting. In recent elections – 2010 through 2014 – the youth “vote share” in Teton County (meaning what percentage of total votes come from people under 30) has been much lower than the rest of Wyoming. It’s about half the statewide average. And when a group doesn’t vote, the decision-makers don’t always consider their interests and hear their voices. We aim to change all of this, in partnership with leaders and organizers in the youth and Latino communities.
Our long-term vision of success for our community is:
- Conservationists and wildlife advocates are an organized and powerful force in Wyoming and are able to drive state policy through political power.
- Northwest Wyoming becomes the “conservation corner” of the state with legislative representatives working together to advance a conservation agenda.
- Teton County will have passed significant legislation/funding to support wildlife, wild places, and community character (such as improved transit combined with investments in walking and bicycling, wildlife crossings, and housing that’s affordable to people who work here).
Our civic engagement campaign focus areas are:
- Vote Conservation: Get hundreds of new voters registered and voting in the upcoming elections, and share candidates’ views through our Voters’ Guide
- Keep track of how our elected representatives vote on key conservation and community issues, and educate residents about those votes – this includes both state and local decisions
- Support important ballot measures (like supporting the Teton Conservation District or SPET funding for safe wildlife crossings) by developing leaders and teams of volunteers to talk to thousands of local voters at their doorstep or by phone.