Adding to our impact: The growing team at Y2Y - Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

Adding to our impact: The growing team at Y2Y

Y2Y staff
Staff and board members from Y2Y overlooking the Town of Banff in 2019. Photo: Sarah Palmer

We are thrilled to announce significant growth at Y2Y as we embark on an exciting journey to further connect and protect the Yellowstone to Yukon region’s natural treasures and enhance support for Indigenous-led conservation initiatives.

By expanding our team in strategic ways, we are now better equipped to put solutions to work on solving some of our most challenging conservation challenges. Recently we filled a number of new positions that will strengthen our impact and reinforce our commitment to preserving the biodiversity of the region. These roles fill capacity gaps, increase knowledge, and improve our impact and collaboration across this huge landscape.

Dayne Big Plume

Dayna Big Plume joins Y2Y as Eastern Slopes landscape protection and highway connectivity project co-ordinator.

This unique combined role supports Y2Y’s work to improve habitat connectivity for wildlife, advance and normalize wildlife connectivity considerations on highways in the Yellowstone to Yukon region and build relationships with communities along the Eastern Slopes of the Rockies. 

Notably, this work expands on the B.C.-based Reconnecting the Rockies project to improve wildlife connectivity along Highway 3 spanning southern Alberta and B.C. while also improving motorist safety through reduced wildlife-vehicle collisions. Dayna will also be key part of building relationships and implementing the strategies required for Y2Y to effectively support Indigenous communities, including Stoney Nakoda and others in the Eastern Slopes of Alberta and Montana’s Crown of the Continent. 

Dayna is Indigenous with lineage from Tsuut’ina (Dene), Rocky Boy (Chippewa Cree), and Aamskapi Pikuni (Blackfeet) Nations and has spent time in both Alberta, Canada and Montana, USA. Her background in communications and experience in public relations, multimedia, and project management are integral to this role. Additionally, her experience working with her Indigenous First Nation and surrounding communities brings an ability to connect and cultivate strong relationships. 

Eric Greenwell

Eric Greenwell joins Y2Y as our senior specialist in landscape connectivity.

This position supports Y2Y’s work to ensure functional wildlife corridors maintain, enhance and restore ecological connectivity among and between protected areas by taking a lead role in private land conservation and targeted public land conservation.  

Eric’s work ensures key functional wildlife corridors connect core habitats within priority areas of the Yellowstone to Yukon landscape by advancing private land conservation, advocating for connectivity-related aspects of public land management and seeking and securing funding for connectivity-related projects at the local, state, provincial and federal levels. 

Since 2017 Eric has worked for regional land trusts in the southern reaches of the Yellowstone to Yukon region, including the Wallowa Valley of eastern Oregon and the Blackfoot, Mission, Missoula, and Flint Creek Valleys of western Montana. During this time, he has led efforts to develop data-driven and equitable land acquisition strategy, protected wildlife habitat, farms and ranches, established community forests, facilitated access for Indigenous Peoples to gather on their homelands, and developed formal partnerships between tribes, federal and state agencies, counties, and non-governmental organizations. 

Nicole Olivier

Nicole Olivier is Y2Y’s new manager of landscape protection. As manager, Nicole plays a crucial role in building strong relationships with residents, businesses, and Indigenous groups, fostering a shared vision of landscape protection in the Yellowstone to Yukon region. Her efforts will support Y2Y’s work to engage the public, media, and policymakers and inspire action, transforming passion for nature into tangible conservation impact and decision-making. Nicole’s role will help ensure conservation efforts resonate with local needs and values. 

Nicole, a member of the Ojibway First Nation, brings more than 20 years of experience in clinical and community-based research at the University of Alberta. This includes co-ordinating knowledge exchange and facilitating communities as partners in decision-making through the use of models of the IAP2 Spectrum of Engagement and ethical space. Additionally, her expertise as a project manager and trainer will be a major asset in Y2Y’s work to support Indigenous-led conservation.

Recently we also appointed two people to key leadership positions at Y2Y: Tim Burkhart is now landscape protection director and Pelah Hoyt is landscape connectivity director. These roles lead teams of diverse staff working across the Yellowstone to Yukon region on our mission to connect and protect habitat so that people and nature thrive.

With these new positions and staff, we are poised to elevate Y2Y’s conservation efforts to new heights. Our goal is to foster a dynamic and inclusive team, reflecting the diversity of our planet and the unique perspectives necessary to address complex environmental issues. By combining the expertise and passion of our existing team with the fresh perspectives of our new colleagues, we are confident that Y2Y will become an even greater force for positive change.

We are grateful for the support of our passionate and dedicated supporters and funders who have made this growth possible. Together, we can forge a sustainable future where people and nature thrive harmoniously.

If you are interested in applying for future positions check our our careers listing page or sign up for our weekly Conservation Newsletter updates with job postings and more. Let’s make a difference together!

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