Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative volunteers make up Team Thrive. These important people work to amplify the Y2Y mission and vision through online storytelling, on-the-ground work, administrative or research assistance.

Online storytellers

These volunteers use the power of social media to share stories relevant to living with wildlife. They strive to foster positive connections between the people, places, and wildlife of the Yellowstone to Yukon region.

On-the-ground volunteers

From tabling at events, giving presentations to groups, and encouraging community members to actively participate in improving human-wildlife coexistence, these are the volunteers you’re likely to see out in the community.

Administrative volunteers

Working out of head office in Canmore, these volunteers help Y2Y’s administrative team share stories with our donors, supporters, and partners. 

Research volunteers

Research volunteers work remotely with Y2Y’s science team to collect and process data or on literature reviews. These desk-based projects help to ensure that the best available evidence is used to guide conservation.

Current members of Team Thrive

Growing up hiking, trail running, biking, and skiing in the Rocky Mountains, the outdoors has always been an important part of my life. I am thrilled to be volunteering with Y2Y and to combine my passion for the outdoors with community-based conservation and research. Currently I am working with Dr. Karine Pigeon on a review of law, policy, and regulation related to recreation in the Yellowstone-to-Yukon region.

Recently I completed a BSc in Applied Animal Biology from the University of British Columbia where my undergraduate research focused on human-wildlife coexistence and animal welfare. I am currently a MSc student at Trent University studying the influence of human activities and environmental changes on black bear populations across Ontario.

Being raised at the doorstep of the Canadian Rockies, my love for the Yellowstone-to-Yukon region initially started through recreation. Hiking, biking, and climbing turned into a curiosity for unraveling ecological questions and has greatly influenced my pursuit of a Bachelor of Science in Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria.

Participating in a literature review on the impacts of recreation to wildlife this summer has been a rewarding way to blend my recreational and research interests. I feel lucky to have connected with the amazing work happening at Y2Y over the past few years!

Growing up in Northern British Columbia, I spent most of my time hiking, skiing, and working in a grizzly bear conservancy. For this reason, I have always felt most at home when surrounded by nature and knew from a young age that I wanted to become an advocate for conservation.

After receiving my degree in Environmental Studies and Political Science, with a minor in Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Management, I moved to Calgary. While I have a particular interest in grizzlies, I believe all species and people should have access to healthy and sustainable protected areas. I am volunteering for Y2Y because the work being done is meaningful and brings people together to pursue conservation.

I have a deep love of nature and the large spaces and interconnections that are required to maintain its diversity. Growing up, I spent extensive time in the mountains and on Nose Hill in Calgary, a place my father was instrumental in helping to protect in the 1970s. Since moving to the Canadian Rockies in 2004 I have been involved in environmental advocacy, parks and guiding work.  

Starting in 2007, I was a volunteer Wildlife Ambassador doing trailhead education to promote human-wildlife co-existence. In 2009, I joined CPAWS and began leading outdoor education programs with students, focused on parks and protected places. 

Having commercially guided in the Bow Valley for more than a decade, from 2015 to 2017 I was a bear viewing guide on the Central B.C. Coast and was honored to work with the people of Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation. Since 2016, I’ve also been a polar bear viewing guide in Churchill, Manitoba. Weaving the story of nature’s fascinating interconnections is my favorite way to promote sustainable and balanced relationships with the natural world. 

Bears, lichens, woodpeckers, beavers, and all the wonders that nature has to offer are magical to me. When I’m not trail-running or hiking into the backcountry, you can find me sitting in what I call a “nature sweet spot” observing and listening to an orchestra, for which there is no need of a ticket! 

Find me on Instagram: @mowat.alex 

Born and raised in the small fishing village of St. Brendan’s, an island off the east coast of Newfoundland, I saw first-hand the effects of poor resource management on ecosystem sustainability. 

I attribute my rural upbringing for my love of nature and all things wild. It also gave me an appreciation for being self-sufficient and making sustainable choices. When not in the office working as a sustainability consultant, you can find me hiking, scrambling, skiing, and (reluctantly) climbing. I love a good backcountry hut and believe in the power of hot chocolate.

As an active member of the Alpine Club of Canada’s Access and Environment Committee (and past A&E Chair for the ACC Calgary Section, from 2016-2019), I spend a large portion of my time organizing trail clean-ups, sharing conservation tips with fellow outdoor enthusiasts and working to preserve Alberta’s wild spaces. I believe in the Y2Y vision and know that by working together we can ensure that wildlife always have a place to call home in the Bow Valley.

Find me on Instagram: @kmorielly 

I’m so excited to share my photos and passion for the Bow Valley this summer through Team Thrive. Growing up in Canmore, I fell in love with the outdoors through my parents, who took me out hiking, biking, and skiing all over the valley. I learned about Y2Y from reading the local newspaper and their vision truly inspired me. Where else do you see people and governments working together to protect over 3,200 kilometers of wild spaces spanning regional and international borders? I graduated from the University of Victoria with a B.Sc. in Biology and am pursuing a career in ecological conservation. If you see me at the crag or on the trail, please say hi!

Find me on Instagram: @galenpearce 

I am an amateur photographer who looks for every possible opportunity to spend time outdoors. Photography is my excuse to visit incredible natural places, particularly the mountains and prairies in the Yellowstone to Yukon region. Living in Calgary, Alberta provides access to a great variety of world-class photo opportunities. 

My favorite subjects are the amazing creatures who share our world. Wild animals are complex, intelligent and social creatures much like ourselves. Every encounter is a valuable learning opportunity for me. Through photographs, I hope to reveal the unique character of each subject and share their story with the viewer. 

Find me on Instagram: @donsurphlisphoto 

Header photo: Ross Donihue