Hiking in the Yukon. Image: Pat Morrow
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Y2Y intern profile: Ross Donihue

After meeting board chair Bill Weber and president and chief scientist Jodi Hilty, Ross Donihue says he knew Y2Y was the place for him to intern.

After meeting board chair Bill Weber and president and chief scientist Jodi Hilty, Ross Donihue says he knew Y2Y was the place for him to intern. 

“Y2Y's mission resonates with me and the diversity of projects and location in the Canadian Rockies were huge draws," he says.

Ross DonihueHailing from Waterville, Maine, Ross could be the most easterly intern Y2Y has ever hosted. With experience in cartography and visual storytelling, Ross was a welcome addition to the team this summer, supporting staff capacity and adding key skills to the organization.  

Ross says he saw his role with us as one bridging science, policy, and community.

“As someone who is new to the Yellowstone to Yukon region I did a lot of listening,” he says with a laugh, "but it was easy to find ways to contribute my time and skills to feel part of the team."  

From producing videos on wildlife overpasses to mapping human-wildlife coexistence projects across the Yellowstone to Yukon region, he certainly had a busy summer. 

“The 10 weeks flew by,” says Ross. “It’s just been non-stop storytelling. There is so much happening here and so many important stories to share!”  

The map is his biggest contribution to the organization and includes highlighted projects from across the Yellowstone to Yukon region. He says it was an ever-expanding project that can be built on for years to come.  

“The more people I talked to, the more interesting coexistence projects I uncovered,” he says. 

From bear bins to Karelian bear dogs, the map is expected to be complete by the end of November. We’ll be sure to share it then.  

Also a talented photographer, Ross relished in his lived experience of working in the Rocky Mountains this summer. He captured amazing moments in and around the Yellowstone to Yukon Region, including northern lights from the top of Wapta Icefield in Banff National Park and young coyote pups near Kananaskis Country. 

Northern lights from Bow Hut, Alta. | Ross Donihue

Now that his internship has wrapped up, Ross will return to the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies to complete his Master’s degree.   

Looking forward, he is particularly interested in continuing to use geospatial data for land management and exposing the interesting stories in conservation.

“We are constantly learning new things about humans and the environment and we're creating raw data at alarming rates,” he explains. “We need to be able to take that data and turn it into meaningful information — maps and visual storytelling help to bridge the gap between policy, science, and communities.”  

He will also continue to feed his entrepreneurial interests with Maps for Good, a business he founded.

The mission of this social-good startup is to make maps and digital media for conservation organizations in the U.S. and abroad, telling their stories in visually compelling ways.

View a gallery of some of Ross’ favorite shots from his internship. Or follow him on Instagram to see more of his work.

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