Hi, hey, hello!

If you haven’t heard about me yet, I’m Dagny Deutchman and I am the Idaho Conservation League’s new conservation fellow. A welcoming blog post  introduced me a while back, but I’d like to share a little bit about my first month of experience working at ICL. There are many things I could tell you about the work I’ve been doing so far. A few of notable tasks have included generating momentum around declining salmon and steelhead populations, writing about a recent Wild Idaho podcast with Sara Dant, and assisting for a rare litigation opportunity surrounding an interbasin water transfer.  However, the most interesting part of this job has been getting to know the staff at the Idaho Conservation League.

On my first day of work, my supervisor Lana Weber told me about a longstanding tradition here at ICL where the newbie sets up one-on-one meetings with everyone on staff.  Despite the task being very informal, I was a little intimidated. Thankfully, I found that this introduction exercise not only was useful to build a framework for the next six months, but that the people who work at ICL are really, really cool.

My First Meetings With ICL Staff

Utilizing my psychology background, I decided upon three topics that would give me a little bit deeper sense about who everyone on the team actually is:

  1. How did ICL find you? What do you do here, and what are you currently excited about?
  2. What is your favorite daily conservation practice?
  3. Describe your perfect day off.

When I met with Austin, our senior conservation associate, he had his dog, Miles, with him that day. On his days off Austin, his wife, and Miles like to pack a lunch and "go get lost" in the outdoors somewhere. He also loves working on green transportation.

When I spoke with Mary Beth, our designer and editor, she shared two beautiful poems with me about fishing. We talked of her long history with the Idaho Conservation League and how she has recently been focused on pinpointing a new artist for next year’s artist in residence program.

Justin, our program director, was much more to the point with his answers. He likes to mountain bike, and ski, and fish, and turn out the lights, and shut doors. Something he didn’t explicitly state but that became clear was that he also has a great sense of humor and finds any excuse to laugh.

I even got to pin down everyone in our North Idaho and Central Idaho field offices for some phone-interview action. Hopefully, I will also be able to spend some time with these folks in-person to learn more about how they address regional specific conservation issues for our great state.

We have 21 permanent staff members at ICL, and I have enjoyed all my conversations with them. They are all smart, passionate and love the state of Idaho.  I wanted to share the wisdom that each of them possesses. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough room on the blog for every interview so instead I have highlighted everyone’s responses to the second question.  Scroll down to get to know your ICL staff as they talk about their favorite daily conservation practices.

I’m biased, a little star-struck and deeply grateful to be here. I hope you are too.

Favorite Daily Conservation Practices of the ICL Staff

Amanda, Boise office, development assistant –  "Ohh, good one. Recently I would say that I’ve become a little bit obsessed with the Boise Food Co-op lately because I found out you can enjoy a beer or glass of wine while you shop. I find I like to support local and ethically responsible food sources despite the unfortunate price raises of doing so. For me, that has always been important, but especially so after my work at the Idaho Hunger Relief Task Force  "

Austin, Boise office, senior conservation associate –  "I try to be really conscious of my health and I do that for a variety of reasons. I feel like it very much impacts my conservation work as a whole. I appreciate a clean space (like the environment around us) because that’s essentially what’s going into my body through air and water and other resources. I like to exercise and go to the gym and run, and every time I do that I feel like there’s a piece of conservation in there."

Ben, Boise office, energy associate –  "I like to keep my house very cold. I love being in the outdoors and I don’t mind the cold and I like that I use minimal energy to heat it. Like just this morning, I bundled up tight and went outside to drink my morning coffee. I live a very simple life and my carbon footprint is very small. I can ride my bike to work and home and very rarely am required to leave the surrounding area of that."

Betsy, Central Idaho office, Central Idaho director –  "I really care about Idaho and I think Idaho is an amazing place. Big issues around the globe motivate me. My day-to-day life is that I contribute to [conservation] financially and get involved with in various ways. Hiking, biking and skiing are also important on my daily radar."

Brad, North Idaho office, North Idaho director –  "Bike riding rather than driving. I bike commute when I can. I think that’s a good way to reduce emissions but it’s also just more enjoyable than driving. It’s a good way to get fresh air. I always find I’m more aware of my surroundings. I feel like when people are driving cars they can easily engage in behavior they wouldn’t always like to see. I feel like I’m a better person for myself when I ride my bike."

Dagny, Boise office, conservation fellow –  "I recently just turned an old retired school bus into a tiny home. Although the immediate impacts during the conversion process created a lot of garbage, I love the idea of reusing something that might otherwise just sit in an empty lot somewhere. I guide every summer and I get tired of short term leases that don’t invest in anything bigger. I don’t drive it more than to park it essentially twice a year. I’m still working out a lot of the kinks, as winter is approaching I’m learning how cold it is to not have a thermostat. But I think it’s something I’ll get past."

Erin, Boise office, office manager –  "I drive a hybrid. It’s more expensive to buy a car like that, so it was kind of a big investment and a sacrifice because it impacts your daily budget, but you’re a little more environmentally friendly. I ride my bike whenever I can. Turn all the lights off. Repair over replace. I love projects. I never throw anything away without seeing if I can reuse it first. Especially from wool. I love to make old wool sweaters and cashmere sweaters into gloves."

Jenny, Boise office, development director –  "I really try not to use a lot of plastics. If you see glass jars in the fridge they’re probably mine. This may not totally related but I don’t have a science background or the boots-on-the-ground piece of this job. Instead, I try to take care of my body. I try to be really, really solid on the self-care side of things so when I show up to do my job at ICL, I can really put my best foot forward and make the greatest impact.

Jonathan, Boise office, government relations director –  "I like to put things on the map. It’s not really a daily practice but it’s a long term thing. I like to change the way maps are formed. Idaho Roadless Rule, Boulder-White Clouds, main Salmon river. These are all things I’ve worked on that have changed maps in some way. Additionally, I like to ride my bike to work everyday. It’s a great way to amp up for the days events and amp down after them."

John, Boise office, public lands director –  "I have two twin girls and I love biking with my kids down the greenbelt to their school on a daily basis. We are almost always running late but it’s fun, and we get to stop and I get to help them learn about the great blue herons or the fish or the plants we pass."

Josh, Central Idaho office, conservation associate –  "My favorite is riding my bike to work. Ketchum is small so it’s almost like it doesn’t count, but I really love it."

Julia, Boise office, director of finance and administration –  "I have always loved riding my bike. I have been, on and off, a very avid road biker my whole life. I’ve done several 200-mile days on a road bike, and more 100-mile days than I can count. I love just getting on my bike and getting into a rhythm. It’s good for me, it’s good for the environment and I just feel so good."

Justin, Boise office, program director –  "I like to turn out the lights, shut the doors and get outside to enjoy Idaho. What else would you like to know?"

Haley, Boise office, development and marketing associate –  "My husband and I eat a lot of vegan and vegetarian foods. We just try to limit the amount of meat and dairy we consume and make [food] home. I don’t love cooking all that much but I love to eat, so it’s been fun to try and identify what kind of delicious foods you can make without meat or cheese in it. I really identify with trying to do this because I just don’t feel comfortable with what’s always going on in the meat and dairy industries, and don’t really want to participate in that so I try my very best to be intentional about what I eat."

Lana, Boise office, community engagement coordinator –  "The new Boise plastics program is my current daily. Trying to figure out what goes into that orange bag isn’t always easy, but I’m trying to be better about it."

Marie, Boise office, water associate –  "Composting! I do that daily. Which, bigger picture would be the garden. We send yard waste to the city’s composting program. Which I’m thrilled they have, but I also really enjoy composting my own. We grow a lot of our own food and my little girl is already familiar with flowers, and she picks fruit every day all summer. My parents and grandparents had a farm with a huge garden, so it always brings me back to that. It makes you be totally in touch with the weather and soil."

Mary Beth, Boise office, editor and designer –  "What an interesting question. It’s so interwoven into my life and so I don’t even think of most of it anymore. However, I just got a new furnace the other day, so I would say right now it’s about learning about my new high tech thermostat and sorting that energy efficiency out."

Matt, North Idaho office, conservation associate –  "So let’s see, well the thing that I think about often and feel is important and I’m proud of is that I’m a vegetarian.   There are so many good reasons to be vegan or vegetarian both for your health and for the environment. Especially when you learn what it takes to support a cattle ranch or a dairy farm and how that can impact water quality and climate change. It kind of blows my mind that I know people who are reasonable, and thoughtful, and those people question me and ask pointedly why I’m eating the way I am. I don’t know, if more people did that it could be such a meaningful thing for the environment."

Rick, Boise office, executive director –  "My favorite daily practice of conservation is being outside in Idaho. I live on the edge of the Boise foothills and I try to get out every morning in the foothills."

Shelby, North Idaho office, community engagement assistant –  "I’m really obsessed with the public health connection to environmental issues. Paying attention to where my food is coming from, where I’m buying it. How I’m voting with my money, et cetera. Like, if I buy this product, where does that money go next? How does it impact its immediate community? How does it impact my own? I try to be very intentional about it."