JACKSON, Wyo. — Tomorrow, Dec. 9 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance will host its annual Winter Party and Conservation Leadership Institute Graduation. This event is open to the public via Zoom and interested parties can register here.
In the past eight years, the Alliance has graduated over 150 participants from the Conservation Leadership Institute (CLI), teaching the necessary skills to organize, advocate, and become effective grassroots activists in our community. Graduates have gone on to lead successful local campaigns, join volunteer boards in local government and organizations, and even start their own nonprofits.
You may be familiar with many CLI projects, including the “Save the Block” campaign that saved the historic Café Genevieve block, the passing of the plastic bag ban, and the passing of a $10M SPET measure for wildlife crossings.
Attendants will get to meet this year’s CLI participants, learn about their projects, and learn how to get involved with their various campaigns. Attendants will also hear from guest speaker Todd Wilkinson. Todd is an American journalist, author and the founder of Mountain Journal. He is based in Bozeman, Montana and loves writing about the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. His work has appeared in a wide variety of national publications, including National Geographic and The Washington Post.
This year, you can purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win over $1,000 in prizes from some of Jackson’s best local businesses, including Stio, Persephone Bakery, Melvin Brewing, New West Knifeworks, and more. 100% of proceeds from raffle ticket sales support Alliance campaigns, including the Conservation Leadership Institute.
Thanks to generous donations from members and groups like the George B Storer Foundation and the Wyoming Nonprofit Network, CLI remains free and accessible to all who are interested and accepted into the program. Participants come from all diverse backgrounds and fields of work. They are young people, parents, volunteers, hospitality workers, scientists, outdoor enthusiasts, and advocates. They are people who have lived in Jackson their whole lives or people who have recently moved and are interested in becoming more engaged in their new community.
“I was drawn to CLI as I want my daughter to grow up in a great place with everything from recreation opportunities and pathways to a diverse community where people from all walks of life can thrive,” said Kahlynn Huck, a 2021 CLI participant and new mom. “After everything I’ve learned, it’s hard to envision a person who wouldn’t benefit from taking CLI”.
Getting involved in local government often seems like a difficult endeavor for community members. CLI’s curriculum makes civic engagement more attainable by teaching participants how to get involved in government and local issues they are passionate about. CLI’ers also hear from a variety of guest speakers, including local elected officials and grassroots activists.
This year, four CLI groups worked on different projects tackling a variety of issues: allowing food trucks in Jackson Hole, supporting establishing START bus route to the airport, transitioning to compostable restaurant to-go containers, and organizing the community to participate in the review of the proposed Grand Targhee Resort expansion. This year CLI participants spoke at public meetings, sent out surveys, and were interviewed about their work by the News&Guide.
CLI participants learned to work as a team to accomplish goals for their campaigns. “It was great to connect with like-minded folk and create connections in the community,” said Matt Bambach, another participant this year. Monica, who worked with her group to encourage restaurants to utilize compostable to-go boxes, agreed. When discussing what it was like to work her team she said, “Collaborating with four different people who think differently taught me a lot. Our group had a few road bumps, but it was empowering to see the components of our campaign come together at the end like a puzzle.”
Join the Alliance on Thursday evening to meet all the wonderful graduates, hear more about their campaigns, and learn how to get involved. Attendees of the Winter Party will also have a chance to hear from guest speaker, Todd Wilkinson, and have a chance to win raffle prizes!