You’re developing young naturalists - Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

You’re developing young naturalists

North Idaho youth learn to identify bees at a field workshop in Idaho. Photo by Scott Rulander/Gem Vision Productions.

This summer, your contributions enabled us to partner with Idaho Fish and Game and Selkirk Outdoor Leadership and Education to let kids experience nature at two field workshops in north Idaho.  

More than 90 youth from kindergarten through high school were able to explore parts of the Boundary-Smith Creek wildlife management area, an area featuring wetlands we’re working with partners to restore, thanks to your help.  

Y2Y is now in the early stages of collaborating with partners such as Idaho Fish and Game on a wetlands restoration project. Biologists and staff will create new seasonal ponds and plant native trees and shrubs that will help to lower temperatures, and give wildlife a place to find refuge as the climate changes.  

The ponds will restore land drained and fragmented over the years by agriculture, supporting rare pale jumping slugs similar to Skade’s slug elsewhere in the state (see below) as well as native frogs and toads that only reproduce once a year — deterring invasive bullfrogs that breed year-round.  

Many other species, including grizzlies who range between the Selkirk and Purcell mountains, will benefit from the shade the team is bringing back through re-planting, as well as the associated cool air and moist soil they need to thrive.  

Work on this lower anchor of a chain of wetlands stretching from Bonner’s Ferry, ID up to Creston, B.C. officially begins in 2019, but planning and preliminary projects have already started, including nature workshops such as these.  

Attendees learned to identify different types of bees and understand why they play an important role in the state’s future and on a larger landscape scale, among other activities.  

Thanks to your support, these projects allow children to explore, achieve and lead by getting their hands dirty in their local lands while improving their science literacy.  

Skade’s slug: Making tributes to combat climate change

At just two-years-old, Skade from Idaho has accomplished something few of us will: having a never-before-seen species named after her. This new gastropod, Latin name Hemphillia skadei, is a type of jumping slug discovered in the state’s Selkirk mountains.  

Skade’s slug, found only in America’s Pacific Northwest, was first documented by her biologist parents, former Y2Y staffer Lacy Robinson and her spouse Michael Lucid. The pair named the slug after their daughter as she is likely to experience the effects of climate change in her lifetime. Skade herself is named for Skadi, the Norse goddess of winter, skiing and bowhunting.

Perhaps you, like Michael and Lacy, are concerned about the impacts of climate change on future generations. While not everyone is in a position to name a new species after their child in tribute, you can make your own impact through a gift to Y2Y.  

Know that your support helps Y2Y hire great staff, protect key lands, complete restoration projects and support on-the-ground efforts to reach communities likely to be affected by climate change impacts. Together we are working to address environmental changes.   

Increasing the amount of intact landscape in the world is one of the best solutions to a changing climate.

That makes projects like those to protect Alberta’s Bighorn or the wetlands restoration in Idaho not only good news for slugs and bears, but also for children such as Skade, who rely on us to address climate change.  

Your support is key in making that happen.