What happens when a Ghanaian intern summers in Canmore?
You inspire an eager intern ready to share the Y2Y concept globally
Trading in the sounds of Ghana’s monkeys for Canada’s squirrels, Elvis Acheampong, a conservation science intern from Connecticut’s Yale University originally from Ghana, spent his summer in Canmore, Alberta.
Not surprisingly, Elvis was “awestruck” by the majestic peaks that carve out the skyline, and the wildlife that roam the valley.
He experienced many firsts, from hiking and rafting to trail running in the Rockies. Recreational outdoor activity is not a big part of the culture in Ghana.
But here, “the many hiking and biking trails available in the valley encourages people to get outside and enjoy the beauty of nature and its healing power,” Elvis explains. Even more impressive to him was how the community integrates conservation and recreation — something not yet done in his home country.
Another first for Elvis was seeing a grizzly bear while driving with Y2Y staff on Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park near Radium Hot Springs — something he’d only seen in movies or read about in books.
After pulling over at a safe distance, the group watched the bear feed for some time before it crossed the road. “That beautiful bear could have been run down even in the park,” he says.
From elk to elephants — the importance of wildlife crossings
Like the many crossing structures that support species such as elk and bears throughout the Yellowstone to Yukon region, wildlife bridges are increasingly being used in Africa to help elephants and antelope stay safe.
Elvis believes these bridges are great models to study and replicate to enhance conservation efforts around the world.
“These structures help wildlife safely cross roads, as well as connect habitat, improve gene flow and maintain healthy animal populations. My greatest takeaway is that there is still room for improvement even in the Parks,” explains Elvis.
“The crossings, for example, may not be enough or the location may not be entirely accurate — or there may not be crossing structures at all.”
Reflecting upon his time here in Canmore, meeting with Y2Y partners and learning about the issues and solutions that exist in this valley, Elvis says, “there is more to be done in Ghana to make people friendlier to wildlife and support the course of conservation. But, I think using what I’ve learned here in the Bow Valley from experts, it’s definitely possible and something I hope to do.”
Elvis begins his second year of his master of science in environmental management program at Yale University in the fall. Funding for his internship, which helped him to map Y2Y partnership projects from Yellowstone to the Yukon over the summer, comes from the Carpenter Sperry Fund and Yale School of Forestry.
Read more about Elvis's adventures in the Rockies here.
You can help our wolverine film get made
Two clicks, one vote = $50,000!
We've been busy making a film about wolverines in the Canadian Rockies along with researchers at the University of Calgary and filmmaker Leanne Allison. Now we have a chance to turn this short film into a longer documentary, but we need your help.
Until August 2, you can vote once a day to let Storyhive know you support our wolverine documentary, Chasing a Trace.
Voting takes just two clicks. See the sneak peek and vote now.
What’s inspired you this summer?
Share your Y2Y adventures with us
What have you been up to this summer? We’d love to hear from you. What or where inspires you in the Yellowstone to Yukon region? What are people are doing to support wildlife where you live or vacation?
If you have a story, video or photo from the Yellowstone to Yukon region, please share it with us by emailing [email protected].
Did you know that Charity Navigator rates us highly?
Y2Y is proud of our four-star rating on Charity Navigator. We were also recently included in one of their ‘top 10’ lists.
Sharing coexistence successes between mountain towns
The 2018 Mountain and Resort Town Planners Summit will provide powerful models
Empowered communities can inspire others.
In late June, Alberta Environment and Parks determined a wildlife corridor plan for a proposed housing development in the Three Sisters area of Canmore, Alberta was “not satisfactory.” The announcement followed 17 months of decision-making, and a conversation that has been underway for decades.
Concerned citizens want to make sure development in this key area that links populations of wolves, grizzlies and elk in the Bow Valley — and beyond — is appropriate, and they made their voices heard.
They opposed a proposal that would have brought in 1,700 residential units, plus commercial and recreational space, by encroaching on a wildlife corridor. Y2Y was among those who contended the plan pushed wildlife up too far up mountain slopes to make the corridor viable.
The passionate people who wrote letters, came to community conversations and open houses, and shared informed opinions and love for this important place, played a key role in the outcome. For now, work on the Smith Creek Area Structure Plan has been delayed as Three Sisters Mountain Village Properties re-evaluates the project to meet requirements.
With your help we look forward to continuing to work together to ensure the long-term vision for the area focuses on its importance as a wildlife movement corridor.
We look forward to sharing the kinds of changes like this that empowered communities can bring as best practices for other mountain towns and resorts.
Join us in November
This fall, stories and successes like this will be shared at the Mountain and Resort Town Planners Summit, which will be hosted in Canmore. This intimate, interactive conference combines conservation and community best practices from towns across western North America.
City planners, citizen planners, community activists, design professionals, conservationists, academics, mountain town residents and anyone else committed to addressing the unique challenges faced by mountain communities are encouraged to attend.
Sessions include living with wildlife, solutions to large landscape conservation, seasonal housing, public engagement and more.
The summit is Nov. 28-Dec. 1, 2018 in Canmore, Alberta. Register to attend now!
We’ve got a lot to do — make sure your gift goes as far as it can!
An easy way to scale up
Did you know many employers have matching gift programs? If you aren't sure yours does, it may be worth asking, since this benefit is an easy way to amplify your giving to Y2Y or another of your favorite charities.
Matching gifts could result in a doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled donation — a benefit that applies to both U.S. and Canadian employees.
We make giving as easy as possible, and your gift helps us tackle critical conservation issues ensuring that both wildlife and people thrive.
Contact your HR department or research your company’s matching gift information. When you donate, the employer makes an additional gift according to its matching ratio.
Matching gifts through employee giving is like a free donation. Take advantage of this wonderful benefit now.
Find more information on these stories:
Banner: Elvis hiking in Kananaskis Country, Aerin Jacob.
Inset photos: Grizzly crossing Highway 93, Catherine Pao. | Wolverine at bait station, Michele Hueber. | Donate button, Tim Rains/National Park Service