As we move into the New Year, I hope you’ve had a moment to reflect, get outside, and enjoy some time with family and friends. For many of us winter is just getting going, yet the days have already begun to grow longer. It may be barely noticeable for us, but for the critters in the Idaho backcountry, I suspect the growing sunlight helps keep them going through long Idaho winters.

As the Idaho Conservation League’s director for more than a couple decades now, I value the time where the whole ICL team pauses over the holidays together. 2016 was a fantastically busy and challenging year-when is it not?-but the coming year will bring new challenges.

Because of your support, ICL is ready for 2017. We have a new wilderness bill in Congress, as Sen. Jim Risch moves the collaboratively developed legislation for the proposed Scotchman Peaks Wilderness. ICL has helped retool the wilderness movement for the entire United States, working with a broad base of stakeholders to designate nine new areas in Idaho in the last eight years. I’m proud that ICL has been an integral part of the team that developed the new Scotchmans bill. It’s important to enter the new Congress and the new administration with a forward-looking, positive vision for Idaho.

Right around the corner, we have the Idaho Legislature convening. ICL was founded 44 years ago to be a voice for conservation in the Statehouse. We have been there for you every year since we started. It isn’t easy, but knowing our members and supporters have our back, well, that makes “your voice for conservation” stand taller.

I’m also proud of our work with business. As we thread our way through the inevitable ups and downs of politics, ICL is also finding common ground with many leading business interests. Sustainable practices that protect the environment and the bottom line are becoming common sense for all.

For over 20 years, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance has helped lead "market transformation," working to "drive market adoption of energy efficiency products and services." The governing board of NEEA is made up  of major electric utilities across the Northwest, but it just elected ICL’s energy associate, Ben Otto (aka Captain Kilowatt), as the public interest group representative on  the board. Kudos to Ben!

This is another example of how ICL’s work reaches beyond Idaho borders. From our wilderness advocacy to our leadership on energy and climate, ICL’s day-to-day work right here in Idaho helps set the bar for commonsense conservation in the region.

We cannot do it without your generous support. We need you at our back. Help us enter 2017 with the momentum you’ve come to expect and that the future of Idaho deserves.

Thank you and Happy New Year! And let’s get to work.