Ten years ago, the man who is now my husband asked me to move to Idaho. He had a great sales pitch-he’s a fourth-generation Idahoan, and while he had a great time traveling and exploring new places, he wanted to go home.
In fact, he needed to go home. For him, Idaho meant family, heritage and beauty; he wanted to spend time with his grandparents in their last years and return to his roots.
I must admit that I was concerned. In fact, I was terrified that my career in conservation advocacy was over. I assumed that Idaho was a black hole in terms of conservation.
That is until I met Rick Johnson and Justin Hayes at the Idaho Conservation League. To my surprise, there was a highly influential conservation group in Idaho. At ICL, I committed myself to working for the environment in the state I grew to love.
The part of Idaho that I have never been comfortable with is the politics. The people of Idaho love their wildlands, rushing rivers and abundant wildlife, but the politicians too often seem to forget this the moment they take office.
Facing this challenge is, in part, why I have accepted the executive director position at Conservation Voters for Idaho. My last day at ICL will be June 26, and my first day at CVI is July 20.
For the last 10 years, CVI has been working to create the political environment to protect Idaho’s clean air, water and wildlife habitat. It is critical that we create political will to protect the things we all love about Idaho-clean water, clean air, vibrant communities and spectacular landscapes. This is the legacy I hope to share with my son.
I will leave you with a quote often cited by Rick Johnson, one of my mentors, in hopes that it inspires you as we move forward in this work together.
One cannot be pessimistic about the West. This is the native home of hope. When it fully learns that cooperation, not rugged individualism, is the quality that most characterizes and preserves it, then it will have achieved itself and outlived its origins. Then it has a chance to create a society to match its scenery.
– Wallace Stegner, The Sound of Mountain Water