Your update on Y2Y news

Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative


February 20, 2020

They say it takes a village

How people in north Idaho are working together to protect sensitive species in a changing climate

Great change can happen when people from different backgrounds put their heads together, hands in the soil and boots on the ground for a common goal. That’s been the case throughout the Bees to Bears Climate Adaptation Project, a partnership between Y2Y and Idaho Fish and Game.

For one heavy equipment operator working on this restoration project, it was "surreal" to use machinery to reverse the disturbance once done by similar equipment.

Learn more about his experience and how a community's hard work to restore wetland habitat in north Idaho is helping six especially sensitive species adapt to the changing climate.


Cheering Canada's latest conservation advancement

You helped shepherd in a new era for conservation in Canada

In January, we were thrilled at the announcement by the Ktunaxa Nation, B.C. and Canada of their intention to create a new Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area in the Purcell mountains of southeastern British Columbia at Qat’muk: the Jumbo Valley and surrounding areas. This is an historic achievement and we offer all three governments our heartfelt congratulations and thanks.

Conservation is an incremental journey and the story of Qat’muk is no exception. The battle to defend the region from a massive ski resort proposal went on for more than 25 years and was a massive effort by First Nations, environmental non-governmental organizations, conservation funders, and you.

Grizzly bear scientists have confirmed that this area serves a critical linkage role in one of only two remaining mountain ranges that connects grizzlies that roam between Canada and the United States — key to maintaining strong genetic diversity. This area is also home to wolverines and mountain goats, and is occasionally used by mountain caribou, an endangered species.

From letters to donations, bumper stickers to rallies, your involvement in seeing this step forward cannot be understated. We thank you and thousands of others like you who stood up for keeping the Purcell mountains wild.

Thank you for being a part of this advancement.


Collaborating to improve coexistence

Making areas of Montana safer for people and bears

Across the Yellowstone to Yukon region, many people either live or recreate in the same places that wildlife live, move, mate and eat.

Human food sources are a big no-no to keep any species safe, but bears are especially good at tracking down their next feast. When bears are too used to eating human food, they become habituated and lose their fear of people. With grizzly bears expanding their range in parts of Montana, making communities more wildlife-friendly is crucial.

Your donations support important work that helps people and wildlife live together. Read more about some of the work you are helping us carry out with partners to manage attractants in Montana and make things safer for people and bears.


Wild for wolverines

Why wolverines need research, community science and intact habitat to survive

From donating, writing letters and reporting sightings, to learning about human impacts on habitat, you have proven you are wild for wolverines.

Wolverines are tough by nature, but they're also tough to find and study. That's why Y2Y partnered with Wolverine Watch on a multi-faceted study about the species. And there's a spot for you to take part!

Your generous gifts helped fund research in 2019, leading to concrete findings on the threats to wolverine reproduction and movement. But we still need your support to finish the final phase of this three-year study.


A highway to connectivity

Moving forward on a project that connects and protects

In November 2019, the Alberta government announced that it would commit funding to advance a wildlife overpass east of Canmore, and an underpass in southern Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass in its 2019 Provincial Construction Program.

Albertans have been advocating for an overpass in this section of the Trans-Canada highway for eight years, and Highway 3 is becoming increasingly dangerous for wildlife and people. It's important that we ensure these commitments remain a priority and come to fruition.

The addition of these crossing structures is also an important puzzle piece in connecting mountain ecosystems in Alberta at the heart of the Yellowstone to Yukon region.

Your donations and actions are helping ensure that the government keeps these wildlife crossing structures a priority. When announcing the funding for the Highway 1 overpass and Highway 3 underpass, Banff-Kananaskis’ MLA explicitly acknowledged that the hundreds of letters they had received from constituents and others played a key role in the decision.

Now is the time to thank the Alberta government for its commitments, and to show your support for a long-term plan for highway-wildlife mitigation in the Bow Valley east of Banff National Park's gates. This plan should reflect recent and future development and include fencing with jump-outs, additional crossing structures and signage.

Working on projects together in the US

Partnerships for people and wildlife

A glance at some of Y2Y’s 2019 U.S. partner grantees' projects

Each year, you, our donors, invest in grassroots projects that help realize the Yellowstone to Yukon vision. By working together with partner organizations across the region, we can accomplish much more together.

Watch these short videos to see what the collaborative efforts of you, Y2Y staff and some of our U.S. partners achieved for conservation in 2019.


People and the path forward for protecting the wild

Understanding the landscapes we live and play in

The Columbia Headwaters region is found within the globally unique inland temperate rainforest in southeastern British Columbia. One of this region's biggest advantages is the creativity and leadership of the people who call it home. Those communities have the potential to lead the way in finding a path forward in creating balance for future generations of people and wildlife.

Thanks to your support, Y2Y recently commissioned research and gathered a diverse group in the Columbia Headwaters region, to explore the opportunities and challenges in providing for both a strong local economy and healthy ecosystems.

Read the short and sweet summary

Read the big, juicy report

Research is essential in helping people to understand the best ways to protect wildlife and help restore the environments they live in. That research wouldn't be possible without support from people like you.

Getting closer to nature: There's an app for that

Connecting to nature through technology

A growing body of research shows the benefits of nature for our well-being. One study of 20,000 people showed that those who spent at least two hours in nature were significantly more likely to report good health — both mentally and physically — than those who didn't.

When you think of a smartphone, you might not think of being closer to nature. However, the reality is that many of us spend a significant amount of time on our devices. What if you made this the year that you use your ‘connection’ to enhance the way you enjoy nature, instead of disconnecting from it?

Check out this handful of apps that complement connection and curiosity:

  1. The citizen scientist app iNaturalist
    The perfect app to explore parks and protected areas in the Yellowstone to Yukon region. By uploading photos of species you’ve encountered, you’re contributing to a worldwide database of observations and helping researchers learn about what our parks are protecting.
    Free / iOS / Android
  2. The bird-lovers' apps - Audubon Bird Guide
    A complete field guide to more than 800 species of North American birds. The app will help you identify and keep track of the birds you see, and get you excited to go outside to find new birds around you.
    Free / iOS / Android
  3. The nature app for kidsCare for our World
    An animated adaptation of the award-winning children's book, Care for Our World. Take an interactive journey around the world, discovering diverse environments and the animals that call them home, trhough activities such as creating custom habitats and learning animal facts.
    $2.99 CAD / iOS
  4. The flora and fauna ID appSeek
    From iNaturalist, the Seek app uses the power of image recognition technology to identify the plants and animals all around you. Earn badges for seeing different types of birds, amphibians, plants and fungi.
    Free / iOS / Android

Grizzly bear illustration

Why do bears cross the road?

Youth encouraged to participate in a wildlife art contest

Why do bears cross the road? What kind of trouble could two mischievous cubs get into as they travel with their mom? What should they learn along the way? How do they find their way across busy highways?

These questions and more are posed by Inspired Classroom, Sinopah Wildlife Research Associates and Y2Y as part of a book titled, “Why does the bear cross the road?”

Students from kindergarten through Grade 8 across the United States and Canada can submit entries of art work and descriptions for this book that aims to teach the importance of wildlife connectivity and develop transboundary connections.

All entries must be post marked no later than March 1, 2020. Entries submitted after the deadline will not be accepted. Full rules and submission guidelines at the link below:

Photo credits:
Header photo, planting trees at Boundary-Smith Creek in north Idaho, Phil Hough | Y2Y staff and board members hike Jumbo Pass with Wildsight staff, Alex Popov | Bear at trash bin, Shutterstock | Wolverine in snow, Shutterstock | Moose crossing sign, Daniel Glick | Elk at underpass, Highway Wilding | Hiker looking at sun, Shutterstock | Person on nature app, National Park Service | Bear illustration courtesy Sinopah Wildlife Research Associates