Learn more about the people behind Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative.
Y2Y Staff, Post-docs and Contractors
Candace Batycki has been a conservation advocate for more than 30 years, with a focus on protecting ecosystems for threatened and endangered wildlife. She began her career with marine protection campaigns, but since 1990 has focused on BC’s Columbia and Rocky mountains and the inland temperate rainforest.
Candace is interested in governance, and served a term on city council in Nelson, BC. She is fascinated by Indigenous-led conservation, applied road ecology, and social process technologies. Candace loves to hike, ski and paddle the Yellowstone to Yukon region.
EMAIL: candace (at) y2y (dot) net
Katrina brings a background in public relations, communications and content creation to her role as Y2Y’s content co-ordinator. It’s her lifelong passion for wildlife and the environment that drove her to pursue a career in conservation. She is thrilled to play a role in deepening others’ connection to nature and Y2Y’s work.
She is grateful to live in Alberta’s Bow Valley on Treaty 7 territory, where she takes any opportunity to explore the Rockies and discover other wild places in the Yellowstone to Yukon region. In her spare time, Katrina is probably cooking, tracking down a good cup of coffee, or taking walks with her rescue pup.
EMAIL: katrina (at) y2y (dot) net
Natalie is passionate about relationships people have with their environments. She brings expertise working with Indigenous peoples in the field of traditional knowledge and environmental assessments, as well as project management and report/proposal-writing.
Originally from Quebec, she was drawn to the Rocky Mountains where she can be found hiking, camping, cycling, skiing, and otherwise enjoying the beautiful landscape with her family.
EMAIL: natalie (at) y2y (dot) net
Tim has a lifelong love of wild places, and has experience in political organizing, park management, and research.
Prior to joining the Y2Y team, Tim was committed to driving positive change as an organizer for multiple political, non-profit and labour campaigns, and in the past worked as a researcher for the Cohen Commission, which examined the collapse of Sockeye Salmon fisheries on the Fraser River.
Tim was inspired to focus his career on conservation advocacy and research after two seasons as an operations manager for several provincial marine parks, where his passion for the wild evolved from a fascination with Canadian natural history to contemporary politics and policy surrounding the environment, natural resources and conservation movements.
Tim completed his Master’s degree at the University of Northern British Columbia, working on a grassroots mapping tool for conservation.
As B.C. Manager, Strategic Engagement and Peace Region, Tim coordinates the efforts of local conservation organizations, First Nations, scientists, government, industry and other interested parties to conserve biodiversity and wildlife connectivity in BC. He advocates for conservation solutions in provincial policy initiatives, engaging with decision makers on ecological legislation and policy campaigns.
Tim lives in Victoria, B.C., with his dog Mick, and spends his free time exploring the mountains, rivers, lakes and prairie of the beautiful Peace region.
EMAIL: tim (at) y2y (dot) net
As someone who has been passionate about protecting wild places his entire life, Nick has long been inspired by Y2Y’s mission and is excited to be a part of the Y2Y team.
In his role with Y2Y, Nick is leading projects to protect key private and public lands, reduce wildlife collisions, and prevent and reduce wildlife conflicts in Montana’s High Divide. He is also currently a co-coordinator for the Montanan’s for Safe Wildlife Passage coalition.
His conservation ethic has been shaped by incredible experiences in wild places around the world including trips to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Africa. His educational background is in natural resources management, environmental studies, and natural resource conflict resolution. In his free time, he enjoys volunteering to further wilderness protection efforts. Immediately prior to coming to Y2Y he was with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Park’s Lands Unit working to advance land conservation.
Nick lives in Helena, Montana with his lovely wife, Kaelyn, and dog Millie. He enjoys exploring wild places, floating rivers, photography, and traveling.
EMAIL: nick (at) y2y (dot) net
Marley Duckett is an environmental anthropologist and a recent graduate of the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Saskatchewan. Her thesis work explores resource extraction and Indigenous groups in northern Alberta with a focus on consultation policy and procedure. Her areas of expertise include political ecology and ethnography. Other research interests include sustainability, conservation, and anti-oppressive Education. Marley is also a lecturer in Anthropology at the U of S where she splits her time equally between teaching and waiting in line at Starbucks.
When not sipping a caramel latte, Marley participates in a variety of artistic endeavours including music and comedy. In the past, she has worked with groups such as the Greystone Singers, Aurora Voce, and now the Saskatoon Chamber Singers. She has performed improv comedy with LadyBits and the Saskatoon Soaps. Most recently, her play, “Stone Picker” was produced in the Short Cuts Play Festival.
Marley is passionate about the study, preservation, and education of environment. She is absolutely thrilled to be joining the Y2Y team and to play a small role in highlighting the impressive work of so many contributors of conservation.
Robin’s early exposure to the values of protecting wildlife and habitat came from her father who worked in conservation in Manitoba.
Seeking a career in a cause she believed in, Robin is now taking these values and implementing them in her career as donor relations associate for Y2Y.
Robin comes to the organization with a strong commitment to discipline and excellence, along with a breadth of international experience. In her youth, Robin was a national level competitive figure skater.
After attending Brandon University she pursued her love of skating, spending eight years performing as a principal soloist and pairs skater with Disney On Ice around the world.
Upon retirement from performing she began coaching in Edmonton, Alta., and has been coaching in the Bow Valley. She devotes her free time serving as a technical specialist for Skate Canada and lives in Canmore with her husband Mark and two young children Anya and Lukas.
Robin is thrilled to be part of Y2Y, using her passion for connecting with people to protect and connect wildlife and habitat for future generations to enjoy.
EMAIL: robin (at) y2y (dot) net
Renée has a passion for people and creating connections.
After serving Y2Y as communications manager for four years, Renée moved into the role of donor relations manager where her strong communications skills will enable her to forge important relationships with Y2Y supporters.
Prior to Y2Y, Renée worked with academics and company leaders to develop communications strategies and community relations programs. Born and raised in Alberta, and as a skier, hiker and cyclist the Yellowstone to Yukon region is both her home and playground.
Renée looks forward to using her talents in support of the Y2Y vision.
EMAIL: renee (at) y2y (dot) net
Chi’s interest in accounting began at the age of 15 while attending a business administration course at high school and continued education at college. After graduating from college, Chi moved to Canada and worked as a bookkeeper for more than 10 years.
She is very excited to be a part of the Y2Y team and bring the knowledge of accounting. She likes numbers and enjoys finding new ways to take the work out of paperwork. Also, she enjoys being outdoor especially camping, fishing, hiking, biking, snowboarding and skiing in the Canadian Rockies.
EMAIL: chizuru (at) y2y (dot) net
Jessie’s conservation experience and academic background integrate forest ecology, biodiversity, species conservation, and climate change into collaborative projects in forest and watershed restoration, wildland protection, and human-wildlife coexistence.
She lives in Idaho and enjoys incorporating her connection to its people and landscapes into her work with Y2Y.
EMAIL: jessie (at) y2y (dot) net
Bre values the connection humans have with nature and is excited to merge her accounting knowledge with her passion for the Rocky Mountain region and its ecosystems.
Bre has over a decade of experience in accounting, administration, and customer service to bring to the Accounting Coordinator role. She found her interest in accounting while taking accounting courses in a Professional Golf Management Diploma. After this program, Bre completed a BCom Degree with an Accounting Major. She has experience in public practice completing bookkeeping, financial reporting, and taxes; and has knowledge of accounting for the not-for-profit sector. She is excited to bring her abilities to the reporting and reconciliation processes at Y2Y.
Bre moved to Canmore in 2019 to immerse herself in the wilderness of the Rockies and spends her spare time hiking, mountain biking, skiing, camping and exploring the Yellowstone to Yukon region. She is thrilled to be a part of the Y2Y team and to play a role in the conservation of these lands.
EMAIL: breann (at) y2y (dot) net
Dr. Hilty is an internationally recognized wildlife corridor ecologist and conservationist, with over 20 years of experience managing large-scale conservation programs.
She enjoys applying science-based solutions to complex conservation challenges and works to advance conservation by leading science and community-based and collaborative conservation efforts. She has co-edited or been lead author on four books, her most recent release is 2019’s Corridor Ecology: Linking Landscapes for Biodiversity Conservation and Climate Adaption.
Prior to joining to Y2Y, Dr. Hilty served as Executive Director of the North America Program for the Wildlife Conservation Society. She currently serves on the Board of the Smith Postdoctoral Fellowship and as Deputy Chair of the IUCN Connectivity Committee. She was born and raised in the Rocky Mountains, and loves to explore the region with her family.
EMAIL: j.hilty (at) y2y (dot) net
Dr. Devin Holterman studies the political, economic, and ecological dynamics of biodiversity conservation and the extractive industries.
In Tanzania, his doctoral research examined how transnational resource extraction benefits from the biodiversity crisis, how protected areas are becoming increasing fortified, and how protected and conserved areas affect the lives of people and wildlife. Devin co-founded the Beyond Extraction Research Collective and has worked with various not-for-profit groups around the world.
Devin leads a collaborative research project with Y2Y and the University of Northern British Columbia on conservation social science across the Yellowstone to Yukon region.
He enjoys climbing, hiking, snowboarding, and exploring the world alongside his young son.
EMAIL: devin (at) y2y (dot) net
Dr. Aerin Jacob has studied animal behavior, forest and coastal ecology, and conservation biology in Canada, Alaska, East Africa, and Central America for nearly 20 years. She designs, conducts, and communicates applied research to inform Y2Y and partners across the region, including species at risk, land-use planning, recreation ecology, social science, and the role of science in law and policy.
Her doctoral research was on strategies to restore tropical rainforest to support wildlife, carbon storage, and local communities. Her postdoctoral research focused on social, economic, and environmental trade-offs associated with marine and coastal planning in B.C.
Aerin is active in science communication and policy engagement, received the 2019 Early Career Conservationist award from the Society for Conservation Biology, and is an adjunct professor at the University of Northern British Columbia.
EMAIL: aerin (at) y2y (dot) net
Claire Jarrold is passionate about connecting with people and with nature, and she is happy to be engaged in both roles at Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative.
Claire loves telling the stories that connect people to causes, which is at the root of her fundraising. She has extensive experience in donor relations, fund development and project management within the fields of international and community development, and social welfare, as well as conservation. She has maintained an active Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) status since 2013.
Originally from the U.K., greater access to wilderness spaces was a big part of Claire’s decision to make Canada her home. Canoeing, hiking and cross-country skiing are her favourite ways to explore the Rockies and beyond.
EMAIL: claire (at) y2y (dot) net
Cheryl is a Chartered Professional Accountant with more than twenty years of experience in both the private and not-for-profit sectors in Alberta and internationally.
She started her career as an auditor and applies those skills in effective risk management and in seeking efficiencies in internal control processes. Her data analysis contributes to not-for-profits’ understanding of programming costs and benefits and the measurement of value to stakeholders.
Cheryl is an adept communicator that can discuss financial information equally well with finance professionals or with those who are new to the world of financial statements and budgets.
Cheryl enjoys spending her spare time hiking, cycling, skiing and snowboarding in the mountains. She values the wildness of the Rockies and is happy to be part of a team that is working to conserve habitats in the Y2Y region.
EMAIL: cheryl (at) y2y (dot) net
Tim’s role on the Alberta program team combines his love for mountain landscapes with an academic background in geography to help advance Y2Y’s work on safer highways for wildlife and people, and supporting efforts at sustaining the land, water and wildlife of Alberta’s Eastern Slopes.
In addition to his work at Y2Y, he is also involved with coordinating volunteer trail care programs and other projects related to the stewardship of Kananaskis Country. His love of maps and self-powered travel usually result in any free time being dedicated to exploring the backroads and trails of the U.S. and Canadian west by bike.
EMAIL: tim.johnson (at) y2y (dot) net
Brittney comes to Y2Y with a background in journalism, digital marketing, social marketing/influencer strategy, and community building. With over a decade of experience to draw from, she most enjoys a wide variety of storytelling, connection, and community work both on-and-offline.
As a Digital Media Officer at Y2Y, she works with our B.C. and U.S. teams with a focus on communications. Knowing how important biodiversity, wildlife, and nature is to our lives, Brittney is happy to be part of the Y2Y team.
Brittney lives on Treaty 6 Territory and Metis Nation 3 in Edmonton, Alberta. She’s often found exploring her city and dreaming of the next opportunity to travel and explore the Y2Y Region. She’s a fan of a good tourist stop—from scenic waterfalls to educational sites or visiting the world’s largest roadside attraction. When not focusing on Y2Y, Brittney spends too much time online, reading, playing games, and working on expanding her statement earring collection.
EMAIL: brittney (at) y2y (dot) net
Caleigh was born, raised, and educated on Treaty 6 land, and has spent countless days learning and playing in the Yellowstone to Yukon region.
Caleigh grew up in a home of educators, who shared with her the importance of our relationship with wildlife and the outdoors, and our role as human stewards. After completing her BA and MA, she pursued a variety of different careers, experiences, and places to live and play in.
The constant in her life has always been a connection to her purpose as an agent for positive change, and a voice for the voiceless. Home is now the Bow Valley, where her personal passion for the outdoors and her diverse professional background has merged in this exciting role with Y2Y. She is thrilled to contribute her skills and energy to the mission and values of Yellowstone to Yukon.
EMAIL: caleigh (at) y2y (dot) net
Adam Linnard is Y2Y’s Alberta Program Manager in his hometown of Canmore, on Treaty 7 territory. He guides campaigns to protect key wildlife habitat and ensure that animals can move between and beyond those protected areas, focusing on headwaters regions, wildlife corridors, and highway crossings.
With a mixed background in environmental justice, literary ecocriticism, and international poverty relief, Adam combines these interests in working for sustainable, justice-oriented, thriving communities that make space for other-than-human beings as well. Adam likes to be outside, on foot, in inclement weather.
EMAIL: adam (at) y2y (dot) net
Dr. Annie Loosen has worked on a variety of wildlife-related projects, from assessing how ungulates use critical winter habitat, to studying climate microrefugia for pikas, to evaluating strategies to reduce human-large carnivore conflicts in Alberta.
She completed her masters at the University of Alberta, where she studied environmental attributes linked with American black bear densities, and how black bears share the landscape with grizzly (brown) bears in southwestern Alberta. In 2018, Annie moved to Norway for a PhD where she studied how recolonizing carnivores, roads, forestry practices, and a changing climate affect the way that moose use habitat and find food in Scandinavia.
Annie leads a collaborative research project with Y2Y and the University of Northern British Columbia on recreation ecology in western Alberta and eastern B.C., working with multiple government agencies and recreation and conservation groups.
EMAIL: loosen (at) y2y (dot) net
An explorative passion for wildlife and the outdoors led Billie to the role of Y2Y’s grant administrator. Attracted to wild places and with an enthusiasm for conservation, she is thrilled to be a part of the Y2Y team. With her, she brings a background in administration and communications.
Based out of Alberta’s Treaty 7 territory, Billie can often be found exploring the wilderness of the Rockies with her dog and camera.
EMAIL: billie (at) y2y (dot) net
Ellen is a Calgary native and the great granddaughter of Scottish immigrants who settled in Banff in 1901.
Prior to joining Y2Y, she was program manager for Mountain Culture at The Banff Centre and a member of the team responsible for delivering the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival. She is thrilled to be a part of Y2Y working on behalf of wildlife and wild spaces.
Ellen graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a BA in Business Administration. She lives in Canmore with her husband and daughter. In their free time they love skiing, rafting, gardening and exploring.
EMAIL: ellen (at) y2y (dot) net
Laura has worked in communications, marketing and fundraising for the not-for-profit sector, and prior to that, spent several grueling years planting trees in the wilds of northern Ontario and southern BC.
She moved with her family to Canmore from Toronto in search of blue skies and high peaks, and she is absolutely ecstatic to be working at Y2Y and helping to achieve this collective vision to keep these beautiful landscapes protected and connected.
Laura believes the root of all fundraising is in storytelling, and she is excited to share stories about Y2Y’s vital efforts in conservation. When not in the office, you can find her on the ski hill, and consuming and making art as often as she is able.
EMAIL: laura (at) y2y (dot) net
Originally from Ontario, Erica has visited many places and lived in the US and Nicaragua. After moving to the Bow Valley in 2012, she knew she had found her place to call home.
With a diverse professional background, Erica is excited to be contributing the skills and knowledge she has acquired over the years towards the protection and preservation of the Y2Y region.
Whenever possible, Erica spends her spare time camping, hiking and fishing alongside her partner Xavier and two dogs Frida and Diego.
EMAIL: erica (at) y2y (dot) net
Sarah is thrilled to be working with Y2Y in a capacity that blends her legal skills and policy analysis, with her passion for conservation and the pursuit of strategic, practical, collaborative solutions.
Prior to joining Y2Y Sarah was a consultant in environmental law and policy. Over the course of her legal career, Sarah provided advice to clients on a wide variety of matters. These included: land use planning; remediation of contaminated lands; conservation and reclamation; the environmental assessment process, corporate environmental systems; environmental compliance and management of environmental risks and liabilities; climate change; and new environmental legislation and policy.
Sarah obtained her Bachelor of Laws, LL.B. degree from Dalhousie University and was called to the Alberta bar in 1995. She graduated from the Director’s Education Program with an ICD.D designation from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. Sarah is a member of the Law Society of Alberta and the Canadian Bar Association.
Currently, Sarah is a Director with Alberta Ballet; and serves as a Director on two family foundation boards. Sarah has served on a number of not-for-profit boards, including: Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative; the Calgary Foundation, Arts Committee; the Environmental Law Centre; and the Calgary Institute for Humanities, Advisory Committee at the University of Calgary.
Sarah is committed to working towards protecting one of the last intact mountain ecosystems in the world; the Yellowstone to Yukon region. She is from Calgary and is passionate about Alberta’s incredible wilderness and mountain parks. Sarah enjoys hiking, cycling and skiing in Canada’s Rocky Mountains.
EMAIL: sarah (at) y2y (dot) net
Robert has spent his career as a conservationist, naturalist, and educator. He is dedicated to connecting people with the natural world to inspire conservation action, and he is thrilled to be focused on the preservation of habitat with the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative.
Robert has led numerous conservation and education programs in the U.S., Mexico, and South America and has been on the founding boards of several conservation education organizations including the Montana Environmental Education Association and the Montana Natural History Center.
A native of Indiana, Robert received a BFA from Washington University in St. Louis and an MFA in painting from the University of Montana. Robert makes his home in the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana where he enjoys woodworking, canoeing, hiking, birdwatching, and restoring his land with native plants.
EMAIL: robert (at) y2y (dot) net
Nadine has a background in environmental science, education, local government, and community development. She believes in doing good research to make good decisions, and comes to Y2Y with unique experience in leading applied social science research with and for communities across the Columbia Basin.
With a deep care for wild places and sensitive species, Nadine is eager to work with local organizations, businesses, governments, and First Nations to help connect and protect the Columbia Mountains so both nature and our rural communities can thrive. Nadine is an avid mountain biker, split boarder, rock climber, mushroom hunter, and dog walker.
EMAIL: nadine (at) y2y (dot) net
Hannah is delighted to be supporting Y2Y in her roles as U.S. Program and Adaptive Management co-ordinator. She recently received her MSc in Environmental Conservation from the University of Wisconsin’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. Her project work focused on reviewing monitoring and evaluation practices within Y2Y. Hannah is excited to be applying her diverse skill set to Y2Y’s amazing team and conservation effort.
Originally from the Rocky Mountain West, Hannah grew up exploring the mountains and rivers around Yellowstone National Park and has a life-long passion for contributing to the success of conservation efforts. Her professional background includes many years experience in the environmental non-profit sector ranging from fundraising to operational roles. She has worked with citizen science groups, land-based conservation efforts, large carnivore coexistence efforts around the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and has enjoyed field-work positions focused on sage-grouse in Wyoming, and carnivores in Zambia.
Hannah enjoys exploring the outdoors through hiking and canoeing with her partner Sam and loving labradoodle Oscar.
EMAIL: hannah (at) y2y (dot) net
Patty Richards joins the Y2Y team after rewarding careers in not-for-profit and industry arenas focused on communications, community relations and social performance. She is tickled green to be able to bring her skills around pragmatic, informed, collaborative and sustainable project management and communication to Y2Y while being able to learn from those focused on science and conservation.
Patty has a Master’s degree in Communications (focus on social marketing) and an undergraduate degree in Art History. She is a volunteer member of the Grant Advisory Committee for Environment for the Calgary Foundation.
Her informal education and free time has been based around the Rocky Mountains — whether in taking range and riparian management courses, facilitating multi-stakeholder working groups focused on sustainable development in the Eastern Slopes or in hiking and skiing in parks across the Yellowstone-to-Yukon region.
EMAIL: patty (at) y2y (dot) net
Alissa is excited to be joining the Y2Y team as the Assistant to the Chair of the IUCN WCPA Beyond the Aichi Targets Task Force. She is a recent graduate of Trent University’s International Development and Environmental Studies program and is passionate about conservation, climate change, and environmental education.
Alissa has been involved in the environmental sphere for most of her life, being most recently involved as a member of the 2020 Canadian Climate Action Cohort, a volunteer with the Biosphere Institute of the Bow Valley and the Bow Valley Climate Action group, and a facilitator with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.
In her free time, she loves hiking and birding in the Yellowstone to Yukon region.
EMAIL: Alissa (at) y2y (dot) net
Marlis’ passion for nature and wild creatures has brought her to Y2Y many years ago. She has been working in various roles in Y2Y’s administrational department for over 15 years.
Originally from Switzerland, she has lived in the Canadian Rockies for most of her life.
In her free time, Marlis enjoys nothing more than being outside, hiking in the mountains, camping, and exploring new corners in the Y2Y region.
EMAIL: marlis (at) y2y (dot) net
Growing up in rural Alberta, Talia’s passion for nature led her to take as many opportunities as possible to increase knowledge about, and protection for, natural places and wildlife. From volunteering with Tasmanian devil research in Australia, monitoring cheetahs in South Africa, learning about human-elephant conflicts in Gabon, collecting bighorn sheep and ground squirrel data in the Canadian Rockies, and rehabilitating wildlife in British Columbia, she is always looking for ways to make a positive impact on nature and our relationship with it.
With a Master’s of Science in Environmental Management and a strong interest in using mapping as a conservation tool, Talia brings a broad range of experience and enthusiasm to Y2Y as a conservation science technician.
EMAIL: talia (at) y2y (dot) net
Josh is an Alberta Program Manager grateful to be living, playing, and working from his home in the Bow Valley on Treaty 7 territory.
Josh joined Y2Y after working for 20 years developing a body of work that seeks balance between land-based conservation and development in Canada and the United States. His approach has always been dedicated to the pursuit of building social and ecological resilience. Through ideas big and small, his focus is to connect people to place, to nature, and to each other.
With his background as a planner in mountain towns, a landscape architect, and a national park ranger, Josh’s primary work is with public park lands and the emerging economies projects. His personal connections with the land are most often made while on hikes with his wife and son and while logging countless hours in the mountains as an ultra runner.
EMAIL: josh (at) y2y (dot) net
Dr. Hilary Young is thrilled to be working with the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative in a capacity that blends her passion for the beautiful Rocky Mountains with her background in ecology and conservation biology.
As Alberta Program Director for Y2Y, Hilary leads Y2Y’s Alberta program. She and her team work with communities, stakeholders, industries, governments, and conservation groups to ensure that key lands are protected and connected along the western margin of the province.
Hilary and her family spend much of their free time hiking, cycling, skiing and breathing deeply in the mountains.
EMAIL: hilary (at) y2y (dot) net
Kelly comes to Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative with a love of the outdoors and interest in science communications. Their role combines academic experience in biological sciences with professional experience in data management, social media and journalism.
Passionate about science and wildlife conservation around the world, Kelly is thrilled to be an advocate for the Yellowstone-to-Yukon region, inspiring and engaging others to get involved. Their preferred way to connect with nature is to snowshoe and hunt. Sometimes even running.
EMAIL: kelly (at) y2y (dot) net
Gwen has been working on environmental protection and management for more than 17 years.
She grew up in the Y2Y region near Nelson, British Columbia, and comes from a legacy of environmental conservation advocacy. Gwen’s passion for water and the preservation of headwater environments led her to complete a Master of Science in Renewable Resources from the University of Alberta, with a focus on forest hydrology.
She then spent a decade working for Indigenous peoples in Canada and the US. This, and her heritage as a member of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation of Alberta, has created a passion for ensuring that indigenous peoples are able to influence the decisions on their land. Most of the natural resource related decisions facing First Nations are related to the ability to maintain a land base necessary for the sustainability of their cultural lifeways and relationships with the land. With the preservation of cultural lifeways of indigenous people, a vast amount of knowledge about the land base and its needs and methods can be preserved and applied to environmental management, including conservation areas.
Gwen’s approach to conservation is centered on the need to create the space necessary in order that Indigenous peoples maintain their cultural relationships to the land. The applicable land management knowledge can then be shared more broadly. The concepts of conservation biology, biodiversity, ecology, hydrology and climate science, etc., offer a complement to traditional indigenous knowledge. Utilizing both science and indigenous knowledge to protect and manage conservation areas will result in the best outcome for biodiversity conservation, cultural sustainability, and the ecological and societal resiliency needed for climate change adaptation.
After working with the Mescalero Apache, the Makah Tribe and the Okanagan Nation, Gwen began consulting for conservation and indigenous groups. She was the Chair of the Syilx Working Group which conducted, from the Okanagan perspective, the South Okanagan Similkameen National Park Reserve Feasibility Study. Gwen has also worked on codifying relationships between First Nations and other levels of government, including the development of a MOU with the Canadian Wildlife Service and a First Nation, based mainly on traditional ecological knowledge, Okanagan story principles, indigenous conservation priorities, and indigenous conflict resolution. Gwen has supported First Nations in strategic planning, governance strategies, title and rights protection strategies, policy analysis and creation, relationship building and fundraising.
Gwen lives near Nelson, B.C. with her husband and four kids, loves the peace and quiet and dark, and volunteers to restore Kokanee spawning to her backyard creek.
Wendy has been involved with Y2Y since its inception, and she has advanced the vision through many different capacities and roles, including Program Director, Interim President and Board Chair.
Currently acting as a Senior Advisor for Y2Y, Wendy has spent most of her career advocating for wilderness and wildlife. Her love of nature was nurtured during her childhood in Ontario, where all weekends and summer holidays were spent outside in neighborhood woods or at the family cottage near Algonquin Provincial Park.
Wendy cut her teeth on conservation issues as a volunteer with the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) in Calgary, participating in successful public campaigns to oppose development in Banff National Park.
In 1991, then-Premier Ralph Klein appointed Wendy to a review panel that led to strengthening the province’s environmental protection legislation.
In 1996, she decided to make her career in conservation, going on to help protect southern Alberta’s Whaleback region, create Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park, and secure provincial park protection for Kananaskis Country. She later helped to create a new Endangered Species Act for Ontario and was a key member of the project that launched the Canadian Boreal Initiative and led to Ontario’s commitment to protect 50 per cent of its northern boreal forest.
Educated in biology and environmental law, Wendy was the founding conservation director for CPAWS in Calgary, director of conservation science for Ontario Nature in Toronto, and was program director for the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative for several years. In 2012, she received both a Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal and Wilburforce Foundation’s Conservation Leadership Award for her efforts.
Wendy spends as much time as possible in the natural world — hiking, backpacking and cross-country skiing. She lives in Gibsons, B.C.
Harvey is co-founder and Strategic Advisor to the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative. He served as President or Vice President of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society for 17 years and is currently its Senior Advisor, Conservation. He is a member of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and co-founded the Nature Needs Half movement.
A native of the Calgary-Banff area of Canada, Harvey is globally known for his work on wilderness, national parks and large landscape conservation from Yellowstone to Yukon and beyond. Named by Time Magazine as one of Canada’s leaders for the 21st century, he was recently awarded the Fred M. Packard International Parks Merit Award by the IUCN, a prestigious global award that recognizes his extensive conservation work.
Harvey has led work on major private lands conservation projects for connectivity, national park creation and management, climate change and nature conservation, and he was a member of the executive committee for the World Wilderness Congress (WILD9) held in Merida, Mexico, in 2009.
Conservation canines and cats
Get to know some of Y2Y’s furry friends.
Bella is a surprisingly strong, short statured, skunk-monkey of a mountain dog. She’s game for outdoor adventures on leash as long as her people are willing to carry her when the snow gets too deep or the scree too loose.
Birdie is 19 years young. She knows what she wants and doesn’t suffer fools lightly. Most days you can find her catching rays, glaring at kids, and stealing from unguarded water glasses.
Jazzie loves tasting the clear waters of the many creeks, rivers, and lakes of the Columbia Headwaters. She is an excellent office mate and always lets you know when someone is coming for a meeting.
Leo and Gemma hail from northwest Montana where they enjoy daily romps in the woods. Their favorite activities include camping and napping.
Lupin is wild at heart and loves spending her days in the mountains, no matter the season. After a good day out, she curls up into a doughnut, either on the couch or right in front of the woodstove.
Mickey is a Peace River dog who loves birds, cuddles, and large landscapes!
Millie is a rescue dog living the good life in Helena, Montana. She is the life of the party. In her spare time she loves long road trips, camping, floating rivers, walks, and “her” sofa.
Monte is an Australian ex-pat rescue mutt who discovered what a fantastic playground the Canadian mountains and forests are for a pup who loves to jump high logs like a kangaroo and run up and down mountains.
When not adventuring you can find him licking and sleeping on people’s feet under desks or baking in a sunny spot. He will do anything for cheese or that yummy smoked salmon he has become so fond of since becoming Canadian.
Oscar enjoys running fast through fields, monitoring squirrel and rabbit habitat, picking up burrs, and taking long naps on the couch.
Originally from Mexico, Rhoda left the tropical weather behind for an enthusiastic love of snow and outdoor adventures with her rescue-humans. Her favorite pastime is getting attention from anyone who notices her.
T’Challa and T’Chaka are loving brothers except when they’re clutched in a mutual headlock. They like watching flickers and squirrels, and having their cheeks rubbed.
Niles: Niles enjoyed eating, sleeping and sniffing every tree in the forest. He loved belly rubs and was often found in the Y2Y office, anxiously awaiting any drops of food that may fall his way.
Chester: Chester lived in Canmore. He once dug a frozen bagel out of a 2-foot deep snowbank (clearly missing his calling as a rescue dog) and filled his 14 years with hikes, eating elk poop, snowshoe adventures and swimming whenever there is an opportunity. Even in January.
Abeille: Her name was “bee” in French. Abeille’s favourite activities included exploring new trails and watching ‘squirrel TV’ while her favourite humans climbed up and down rocks in the mountains.