Pronghorn and Bison near YellowstonePhoto by: Jessica Friedman

Earthfire Institute presents at Jackson Hole Wildlife Symposium

Susan Eirich, founder and Executive Director of Earthfire Institute, and Chelsea Carson, Earthfire’s Community Coordinator and graduate research intern, presented papers at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Symposium this March. The conference was a gathering of conservation professionals and passionate individuals interested in improving options for human-wildlife coexistence within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). Both Susan and Chelsea used this space to include the voices of the animals within conservation decision making. Susan spoke on “The Compassionate Conservation Movement: How might this change conservation practices?”, emphasizing the importance of valuing the individual in a species as well as the species itself. In the current paradigm individuals are considered expendable. In Compassionate Conservation they are not. Chelsea presented her graduate research, “Coadaptation, Coexistence, and Connectivity Conservation,” and explained how a multispecies perspective could advance predator-friendly ranching techniques and overall large landscape conservation goals. This symposium was a chance to bring Earthfire into the local stage and network with the multitude of agencies and organizations working to improve coexistence within the GYE.

Susan Brings Animals’ Voices to Powerful Retreat, “Reversing Extinction”

Susan recently attended an invitation only Council on Reversing Extinction, limited to a group of twenty-four change-makers from around the country. This was a weekend of humans practicing deep listening to the Earth and all of her inhabitants. The hope was to open our hearts to hearing possible responses to our current crisis not found in science, technology, or policy. Rather than feeling paralyzed, in community we find the energy to move on from despair and a sense of helplessness, and are freed to take action. Questions they considered: How do we listen for direction from the land; from the animals; from a source of wisdom greater than ours? What might we hear? What is essential? What is mine to do? The group sat together from morning into the night, with breaks for being on the land, sharing ideas, and then asking for wisdom and guidance for how to reverse the current course of extinctions. Susan will write more in her next blog.

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