Hiking in the Yukon. Image: Pat Morrow
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"I left inspired to protect the special places in my own backyard."
Sara Renner, Y2Y supporter

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Introducing Jodi Hilty

Born and raised in the U.S. Rockies, Jodi Hilty aims protect the region she loves as Y2Y’s new President and Chief Scientist.

What first inspired you about Y2Y?

At an international conservation meeting in the highlands of Ecuador in 2006, we were told that the Yellowstone to Yukon region was the most intact mountain ecosystem in the world. I was so inspired to know that all the large carnivores and hooved animals still survive in relatively healthy populations throughout this vast landscape. Recognizing that made me recall so many amazing moments with wildlife across wild landscapes. I returned from Ecuador more deeply inspired by the Rockies than ever. It’s my home.

How will you advance the Yellowstone to Yukon vision?

I will bring my expertise as a wildlife corridor ecologist and a leader in the field of large-landscape conservation. I will also share my passion for connecting and protecting this entire region, as well as the realistic optimism and know-how to make that vision a reality. Through my global experiences, I can bring relevant approaches from around the world to further the Y2Y mission.

Finally, I believe that conservation is only possible through the collective efforts of many individuals and groups working together. I greatly enjoy working across partnerships—from participating in grassroots community initiatives to engaging with industry and government agencies to inspire conservation at the local, national and international scale.

A young pronghorn remains alert in the Rockies' Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Photo: Kent Nelson.

How can other people make a difference?

There are many ways to support the vision. You can support Y2Y with a one-time or monthly donation, as this provides resources for conservation action. You can also speak out locally, regionally and internationally for Y2Y and the work we do. Or, sign up for our newsletters and share these with your friends and colleagues. Everything you do makes a difference!

What are three big successes you worked on related to Y2Y?

In my role at the Wildlife Conservation Society, I helped develop scientific information that guided the expansion of Nahanni National Park—now 3.5 times larger than Yellowstone National Park—and oversaw policy efforts to create the first U.S. federally-designated wildlife corridor, the “Path of the Pronghorn,” which protects the longest-known migration of pronghorn in Wyoming, between Grant Teton National Park and the Red Desert.

I also oversaw the program that conducted science to support the need for expanded land protections in the Crown of the Continent region, linking Montana, Alberta and British Columbia. That effort bore fruit in a big way last month when Alberta announced full protection of the biologically diverse Castle region!

Photo: Harvey Locke.

What are your hopes and aspirations for the future?

When I look at the ecosystem through the eyes of a wolverine—one of my favorite critters, because it represents quintessential wilderness—I know we need to ensure it has large and intact wild spaces in order to roam throughout the Yellowstone to Yukon region.

We need to work hard to limit harmful impacts on its critical habitat from human activities, such as development and natural resource extraction. In this way, the region will continue to be home to amazing wildlife, and wolverines and other wide-ranging species will remain healthy and thriving into the future.

A wolverine in its perch in a larch tree. Photo: Keith Webb.
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