This past summer I worked with Wildlands Network to develop transboundary solutions to pressing wildlife issues affecting the North American continent. The solutions I helped develop included drafting state level wildlife legislation for Virginia, Colorado, California, and Washington, devising a policy toolkit to reform state-level wildlife management agencies, and providing comments to the United States Forest Service in line with proposed NEPA regulations. These experiences were an invaluable opportunity for me to both learn a tremendous amount of information about the wildlife policy world, and provide a tangible and impactful service to further important natural resource advocacy work. I could not have accomplished these goals without the support of PILP.
Highlights of my summer experience included numerous conversations with state agency officials, public stakeholders, national interest groups, and high level policy experts in line with drafting wildlife corridor legislation. I had numerous meetings with policy specialists and directors within the state game and fish departments, science experts within state departments of transportation, and attended digital science briefings with state conservation and recreation departments. Further, I spoke with the legislative advocates for numerous national wildlife and conservation interest groups. After speaking with these groups to determine individual needs and desires in line with wildlife policies, I personally drafted a proposed bill that would establish wildlife corridor infrastructure within several states. In Virginia specifically, our organization identified state legislators to sponsor the bill I wrote in the upcoming 2020 legislative session.
On my weekends, I was able to get outside and play in the environments I was working to protect through legislation. I spent a great deal of time in the Olympic Peninsula, the North Cascades, and I summited several of our volcanoes across in the Pacific Northwest. Between the work I conducted in the office and the adventures I experienced outside, I could not have asked for a better summer experience, and none of this would have been possible without PILP. I am deeply grateful for the support of PILP in providing financial support for my experience. I appreciate PILP’s commitment to furthering the public interest ambitions of the Lewis and Clark community. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.