Interning for nature - Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

Interning for nature

Y2Y’s summer 2019 interns

The past few summers, Y2Y has been fortunate to have some pretty talented and driven individuals join the team and help us further our mission.

Ever wondered what it’s like to intern at Y2Y? Keep reading to get the scoop directly from our five 2019 summer interns or watch the video to learn more about them.

If you’re interested in applying, be sure to keep your eyes peeled on our job postings page starting in April!

Maya Hilty (left), Sheetal Patel, Loni Cantu and Naia Noyes-West (right) enjoying some summer weather at a nearby lake in Alberta’s Bow Valley. Credit: Loni Cantu 

Alberta: The Canmore summer interns share their experience 

We started our summer internships as strangers who came from across North America: Colorado, Texas and right here in the Bow Valley. We share similar values but brought different experiences. Y2Y provided us with the medium to build meaningful connections with one another and supported us through our respective endeavors. Words cannot express how thankful we are for this. 

We’re inspired by Y2Y’s mission to connect and protect habitat. We applied for our internships with different hopes: to live in the beautiful Bow Valley, bridge the divide between social and physical sciences, inspire a conservation ethos in youth and communities and gain a better understanding of the diverse relationships across provinces and countries in the region. 

Despite our different areas of focus within the organization, we shared our passion for conservation with each other and the Y2Y staff. The energy and dedication that the staff bring to the office inspires us to stay committed, foster change in our communities and continue pursuing conservation goals. We believe Y2Y builds strong relationships between people and nature, gives a voice to wildlife and works with communities to maintain large, connected landscapes. 

We also embraced the idea of ‘work hard, play hard’. In our spare time, we took paddleboards down the Bow River, hiked Heart Mountain, visited Moraine Lake, celebrated one of our birthdays, joined the local running club and enjoyed lunches together at the farmer’s market. Not only has working at Y2Y given us valuable opportunities for our future careers, but also to build life-long friendships (we’re already planning our reunion). Thank you for this transformational internship. 

– Sheetal, Naia, Loni, Maya

Kim Trotter (left), U.S. program director; Jessie Grossman, Cabinet-Purcell project coordinator; Hannah Rasker, U.S. summer intern; and Nick Clarke, High Divide project coordinator (right) taking a selfie break during field work in Montana. Credit: Kim Trotter

United States: Cabinet-Purcell summer intern

My internship this summer focused on evaluating the metrics Y2Y uses to monitor success within the Cabinet-Purcell Mountain Collaborative. I dove headfirst into the ever-important question: How do we as conservationists know if what we’re doing is working? It’s a question that I by no means solved in one summer, but fascinating, nonetheless.  

My project involved three parts: 

  • Reviewing and updating metrics; 
  • Interviewing collaborative partners;
  • Integrating conservation planning elements from the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation process.  

I was based out of Sandpoint, Idaho and had the chance to travel all over the Cabinet-Purcell Mountain Corridor region — from southwestern Montana into southern British Columbia. 

I enjoyed interviewing Y2Y partners and saw first-hand the diverse communities and landscapes within just one section of the organization’s enormous scope. It has been outstanding to intern with Y2Y. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. The staff have been so welcoming and friendly, and I look forward to continuing working with Y2Y as the U.S. Program Conservation Associate.  

– Hannah Rasker

Annie Cameron (right) with Nadine Raynolds, Y2Y’s Columbia Headwaters project coordinator at Starbelly Music Festival. Credit: Candace Batycki

British Columbia (B.C.): Columbia Headwaters summer intern 

This summer, I did outreach in the Columbia Headwaters region of B.C., traveling to farmer’s markets, festivals and environmental-focused events representing Y2Y. I enjoyed the friendly atmosphere of these events and the support and enthusiasm of people in each community about Y2Y’s vision and mission. 
By visiting a variety of places in the region and speaking to people from across the Columbia Headwaters region, I gained an understanding of the environmental and economic concerns specific to each community, as well as those affecting the Columbia Headwaters. The region is geographically beautiful, and the friendliness I experienced from these communities made them as memorable as the landscape. There was never a dull moment at an event; each was made unique through interesting conversations, and by the eventgoers and vendors who kindly helped me set up and take down my canopy (if you’re reading this, THANK YOU). It was a pleasure to intern with Y2Y this summer. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to explore the Columbia Headwaters! 

– Annie Cameron