Soon-to-be defending EP student Hannah Jaicks was recently the recipient of an award from the Sarah Baker Memorial Fund. This fund is distributed by the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y), a joint Canada-U.S. not-for-profit organization that connects and protects habitat from Yellowstone to Yukon so people and nature can thrive. The Sarah Baker grants support student projects that advance Y2Y’s conservation strategy and result in tangible benefits within the region. Besides the benefits they bring to the region and our organization, the knowledge and experience students acquire can enhance their resumes and further their careers. Congratulations Hannah!
Continue reading for more information on Hannah’s work, Y2Y and the Sarah Baker Memorial Fund.
Project Information: Crossroads Conservation: Identifying Solutions to the Cultural Barriers of Transportation Agencies so Internal Champions of Wildlife Crossings Can Thrive
My project will enable conservationists to effectively address institutional barriers that prevent transportation agencies from consistently incorporating wildlife crossings into their plans and projects for roads in the Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y) region. Mitigation of wildlife-vehicle collisions via crossing structures should be a standard practice rather than an exception to the rule. Highways are among the greatest barriers to wildlife movement in the Y2Y region. They are also killers, with an estimated 1-2 million wildlife vehicle collisions occurring annually in the U.S. alone. Despite these pervasive and costly consequences, results from two recent studies led by the Western Transportation Institute revealed that transportation agencies are inconsistent in their deployment of wildlife crossings to mitigate these concerns. The causes for this inconsistency are two-fold. First, it is not part of transportation agencies’ mission to conserve wildlife. Second, few conservation organizations in the Y2Y region have the expertise or capacity to address this issue. Whereas conservationists are well-versed in participating in, and influencing, forest management or recreational development decisions, few groups understand the perspectives and prerogatives of transportation agencies in regards to wildlife. Thus, this study will examine the organizational psychology of transportation departments in the Y2Y region to reveal the institutional barriers that obstruct these agencies’ implementation of wildlife mitigation measures and identify potential solutions for surmounting these obstacles. This research will culminate in a professional report for conservation professionals on how to effectively influence transportation agencies and their plans and projects to ensure consistent deployment of crossing structures.
The Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y) is a joint Canada-U.S. not-for-profit organization that connects and protects habitat from Yellowstone to Yukon so people and nature can thrive. They are the only organization dedicated to securing the long-term ecological health of this entire region. Y2Y takes a scientific and collaborative approach[y2y.net] to conservation, and highlight and focus on local issues that affect the region. They have worked with more than 300 partners[y2y.net], including scientists, conservation groups, landowners, businesses, government agencies as well as First Nations and Native American communities to stitch together this landscape.
Without a unified vision for this deeply interconnected landscape, local conservation efforts may be isolated and less effective. Y2Y seeks to ensure conservation efforts are aligned in support of large-scale objectives, and therefore become continentally significant. Today, Y2Y is recognized as one of the planet’s leading mountain conservation initiatives.
The Sarah Baker grants support student projects that advance Y2Y’s conservation strategy and result in tangible benefits within the region. Besides the benefits they bring to the region and our organization, the knowledge and experience students acquire can enhance their resumes and further their careers. Sarah Jocelyn Baker’s appreciation for the natural world and ability to find solutions resonate with the aspirations and vision of Y2Y. They are honored to carry her spirit forward through the Sarah Baker Memorial Fund. Thanks to a gift from her extended family, Y2Y is able to offer grants to post-secondary students pursuing environmentally related studies in any post-secondary institution.