Small bird tracks on a smooth rock by the Flathead River in Montana

Ways you can help make a difference no matter where you are

There’s plenty happening in the world that demands our attention daily, often asking us to act. We understand, sometimes it feels overwhelming. Where to start? What to do? Will it even make a difference?

Guess what? Everything you already do, or have done, to support Y2Y — donating, attending events and webinars, sharing messages — makes a huge impact for wildlife and nature every single day. Thank you.

We strongly believe that every step forward can bring change. Sometimes, that change happens quickly, and sometimes it takes longer. Sometimes you do the work on-the-ground, and sometimes it’s from the comfort of your living room couch. We also know that when digging up the courage (and hope) for wildlife, for nature, and for the environment, it can help knowing that you aren’t alone.

Here’s what some of Y2Y’s team and board members shared when asked for their advice on how to inspire and create positive change for wildlife and places in the Yellowstone to Yukon region.

“Don’t let bumps along the way stop you from moving forward (even the big ones). Try to learn from failure and use it to be more effective.”

— Dr. Aerin Jacob, conservation scientist

“My kids say it’s important to remind people to not feed wildlife. We crafted posters and put them on our front door. Visitors were always curious to know more, so of course my kids were happy to be the experts and explain why it’s dangerous. There’s no action (or person) too small to make a difference!”

— Robin Forsyth, donor relations co-ordinator

“Show people how amazing nature is to inspire them to protect it and make more of it. For me, this is taking my parents out on their first hike or bringing a new hunter out with me. We all need more nature in our life and more stories to tell from it. Inspiring awe helps make the case.”

— Kelly Zenkewich, communications and digital engagement manager

“Find your voice! Write to your local representatives, attend community events that support conservation, and share important messages with friends, family and even strangers.”

— Catherine Pao, HR & finance director

“Solving all the world’s problems is overwhelming. Pick a small set of challenges to which you can bring knowledge and passion; then act, learn, adapt, and build on that foundation.”

— Bill Weber, vice-chair, U.S. board of directors

“People act on an optimistic vision. It may be surprising but a can-do energy spreads quickly and others get excited to join in whatever the effort and help proliferate positivity.”

— Jodi Hilty, president and chief scientist

“Find common ground with others. Listen to peoples’ stories, explore the landscape with those who experience it in a different way than you do, seek to better understand others’ perspectives and tell them what you learned from them. You might find that our values are closer than they appear.”

— Kim Trotter, U.S. program director

“We obviously face some big challenges in trying to keep our planet healthy. During my hockey career, I found that the best way to face big challenges was summoned up by the old hockey cliché ‘one shift at a time’. As the Chinese proverb says, ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’ By taking it one step, one shift at a time, we will make a difference.”

— Scott Niedermayer, board member

“First, let your voice be heard and then, bring others into the conversation and listen.”

— Merrill Chester Gregg, board member

“If you’re in wildlife country, alert animals to your presence with your best (or worst) singing voice, or simply have a conversation with your mate. Singing or talking will help you avoid an undesired encounter, and both you and the animal can return to your den.”

— Renée Krysko, donor relations manager

“Get committed: Maybe it’s your watershed, or a favorite hiking valley, river or lake. Pick a place, get to know it really well, educate yourself about how it is managed and what the threats to it might be, then make a commitment to be a steward and guardian of this special place.”

— Candace Batycki, B.C. and Yukon program director

Header photo: National Park Service