The Premise: The coalition of stakeholders working to protect our public lands has the potential to become a movement. Youth engagement proponents, outdoor recreationists, land managers, and conservation advocates realize their greatest opportunities for effectiveness when they address issues of common concern with a unified voice. Working together to achieve shared objectives, their ability to champion our public lands in a time of unprecedented threat is extraordinary.
The Problem: The greatest threat to the movement’s success is its fragmentation. Compartmentalization of work, replication of effort, lack of communication between principals, and conflict between natural allies are just a few of the challenges that conspire against a united whole.
The Solution: SHIFT (Shaping How we Invest For Tomorrow) unites natural allies around the common goal of protecting our public lands. By providing a unified framework for their stewardship, we increase the effectiveness of our individual efforts.
Held each October in the “crucible of conservation,” Jackson Hole, SHIFT inspires the outdoor recreation/conservation partnership with food, film, speakers, workshops and outdoor adventure. Our objective is to advance on-the-ground solutions that leverage outdoor recreation for conservation gains, and to provide a unified framework for natural allies to better protect our public lands, waters and wildlife.
From October 13-15, 2016, SHIFT will convene a highly curated gathering of outdoor rec, conservation, land management, communication and youth engagement advocates as we develop and strengthen the coalition of stakeholders dedicated to the preservation of our public lands. The theme of the 2016 Festival, “Outdoor Rec & Our Public Lands,” reflects its focus on three main topics: the public land transfer movement; funding for public lands; and next-generation engagement and cultural relevancy.
Immediately preceding this year’s SHIFT, the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) will convene a gathering of rising stars (21 and older) who have distinguished themselves in the fields of outdoor recreation, outdoor education, land management or conservation to chart a course for the future of the outdoor recreation/conservation partnership. Together with representatives of the 2016 SHIFT Award nominees, the Emerging Leaders will then plug into The SHIFT Summit as we facilitate a deep drill of the opportunities and challenges at the heart of our common interests. As is always the case at SHIFT, lunch and breakfast discourses, happy hours, film programs, keynote speakers and The People’s Banquet will add dynamic, provocative cross-pollination to the mix.
SHIFT is run by The Center for Jackson Hole, a nonprofit that leverages outdoor recreation for conservation gains via the Festival and related programming.
Christian Beckwith, Director: The founder and director of SHIFT and of its parent organization, The Center for Jackson Hole, Beckwith moved to Jackson, Wyoming, in 1994, and soon thereafter started his first publication, The Mountain Yodel. In 1996 he became the youngest person to edit the world’s premier mountaineering journal, The American Alpine Journal. In 2002 he co-founded Alpinist Magazine, an archival-quality climbing quarterly that Reinhold Messner called “the greatest climbing magazine in the world today.” More recently, he started the surfing, skiing and climbing extravaganza, The Alpinist Film Festival; coordinated the Teton Boulder Project, which developed a Jackson Hole bouldering park to honor Teton pioneers; and launched Outerlocal, a social media website for adventure athletes. He has made expeditions to Kyrgyzstan, Alaska, Peru and Tibet, skied the Grand Teton half a dozen times, and established numerous first ascents and descents around the world. Beckwith advocates a “place-first” approach to outdoor recreation that prioritizes the well-being of our places over the activities we love to do in them so that we may avoid the tragedy of the commons and the loss of John Muir’s legacy.
Chris Perkins, Logistical Director: A highly driven, naturally comfortable leader who seeks to improve the success of those around him in a variety of settings, Chris seeks to build a dialogue both with students and peers about how to practice scientific thinking in the way we interact with and explore the world. He is a place-based educator at the Teton Science Schools, and has been a Field Education AmeriCorps intern, a trip leader for Adventures Cross-Country, a raft guide for All Outdoors Whitewater Rafting, and an Operations Intern for NOLS.
Ben Johnson, Research and Outreach: Growing up in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley, Ben enjoyed some of the most expansive Wilderness and roadless areas in the continental United States as his big backyard. Not fully understanding this privilege until growing up a little bit, he has since pursued a career focused around the intersections of humans and landscapes, teaching undergraduate field courses for the Wild Rockies Field Institute in Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Alberta, and British Columbia covering the gamut of environmental studies topics, as well as introducing a younger demographic of students to their own backyards via place-based education programs for the Teton Science Schools. In joining SHIFT, he brings a rounded knowledge of Western conservation history and issues, as well as a passion for the exploration of wild places. He holds a master’s degree in Science Education and Environment & Natural Resources from the University of Wyoming, as Well as a Humanities degree from Fort Lewis College. When he’s not in the SHIFT office or out in the field with students, you can find him dreaming, scheming, and chasing ski mountaineering objectives, always carrying a little extra training weight in the form of a bulky camera.
Luther Propst, Chair: Luther Propst founded the Sonoran Institute in 1991 and served as executive director until December 2012. He has worked for World Wildlife Fund in Washington DC, and practiced law, where he represented local governments, landowners, and organizations nationwide in land-use matters. He has co-authored three books, including Balancing Nature and Commerce in Gateway Communities. He is currently the chair of the Outdoor Alliance, and serves on the boards of the George B. Storer Foundation and the International Mountain Bicycling Association. Propst is recognized as a leading practitioner in the North American West of community-based, collaborative, and innovative efforts to advance conservation and to ground conservation in an understanding of economic values and implications.
Ted Staryk: Ted Staryk chaired The McKnight Foundation board of directors during the exploration and development of its impact-investing program. He currently serves as the chair of its Mission Investing Committee. In 2006, he and his wife Noa bought Jackson, Wyoming’s Snake River Brewing from its original founders, Albert & Joni Upsher.
Mitch Dann: For over 30 years Mitch has been involved with start-up companies, as an entrepreneur, investor and executive, primarily in the medical device field. He is the Principal of Sapient Capital Management, L.L.C., an early stage investment firm. Mitch has resided in Jackson Hole since 1994. Over the years Mitch has served on over 10 corporate boards of both private and public corporations and served on non-profit boards. He currently serves on the board of Friends of Bridger Teton Avalanche Center. Mitch also Ski Patrols at Snow King, teaches skiing part time at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and guides part time with Teton Mountain Bike Tours. He is an avid backcountry skier, mountain biker and road cyclist.
Amy McCarthy: Amy is the Executive Director of the Teton Rapter Center. Following a childhood in upstate NY and upon graduating from Hobart and William Smith Colleges with a dual major in economics and environmental studies, Amy returned to Wyoming permanently. Amy participated in the inaugural year of Teton Science Schools’ Professional Residency in Environmental Education program and earned a Master’s degree in Forest Resources and Natural Resource Policy from Utah State University. These experiences left her with a substantive foundation for understanding the natural history of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, a deep appreciation for the community of Jackson Hole, a commitment to sustainability and wildness, and a thirst for ongoing discovery. Amy has mixed drinks at Dornan’s Bar in Moose, guided trips in the Tetons and Wind Rivers for Exum Mountain Guides, served as communications and development director for The Murie Center, explored the world of documentary filmmaking, as the associate producer of Don’t Fence Me In (a production of The Equipoise Fund), headed operations for an independent investment advisory firm and endured a season in Antarctica as a recycling specialist. She lives in Jackson with her husband Forrest.
Caroline Markowitz: Caroline Markowitz is the founder of Born to Crunch – Jackson Holesome Granola. She graduated from Princeton University in 2011 with a B.A. in history and a certificate in environmental studies; she was also a member of the women’s lacrosse team. Caroline lived in San Francisco and New York City working in customer service for the men’s e-commerce clothing company, Bonobos. But her yearning to explore and love for the west led her to Jackson, where she is also a contributing writer for Jackson Hole Magazine and retail associate at Stio.
Ryan Dunfee: Ryan Dunfee is the Managing Editor at Teton Gravity Research, where he manages daily editorial content production, leads content strategy, and curates TGR’s editorial voice. He manages a field of contributors and interns producing four-season outdoor sports content year-round. A 2008 graduate of Williams College, Ryan has been working in communications, marketing, and journalism in the outdoor industry ever since. Ryan is addicted to any sport with expensive toys – mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, and surfing come to mind – but equally passionate about using intelligent communications to effect change when it comes to climate change and environmental issues. He’s also used his Spanish skills to assist with translation needs in Jackson’s Latino community.
Stacy Bare: Stacy Bare is a climber and skier, the Director of Sierra Club Outdoors (SCO), a veteran of the war in Iraq, and a brand ambassador for The North Face, Keen Shoes, and Combat Flip Flops. SCO facilitates 250,000+ people getting outside each year. Under his direction, SCO launched the Great Outdoors Lab with the University of California-Berkeley in 2014 to put scientifically defensible data behind the power of the outdoors to support improved mental, physical, and public health. He is also a 2014 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year and the 2015 SHIFT Adventure Athlete of the Year. He holds degrees from the Universities of Mississippi and Pennsylvania and is at home in Salt Lake City with his wife, Dr. Makenzie Selland and their daughter Wilder.
Meryl Harrell: Meryl L. R. Harrell is a Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, working with the U.S. Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Since joining USDA in 2009, Meryl has been involved in a range of natural resource issues, including land management planning and connecting youth to the great outdoors. Prior to joining USDA, Meryl was part of the President’s Campaign for Change in 2008, and has also worked on public lands issues at The Wilderness Society in Washington, D.C. Meryl received her J.D. from the Yale Law School, where she studied environmental law, and graduated magna cum laude with an A.B. in geosciences and environmental studies from Princeton University. She is also an alum of the Teton Science School, where her love of rocks turned into a passion for public lands. A New Jersey native, Meryl enjoys spending as much time as she can hiking on our National Forests and Grasslands with her husband Peter and son Sam.
José G. González: José G. González is an educator with experience in formal and informal education in the arts, education, conservation, and the environment. He has broad experience as a K-12 public education teacher, environmental education advisor, outdoor education instructor and coordinator, and university adjunct faculty. He received his B.A at the University of California, Davis, and his M.S at the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment. He also holds a CA single-subject teaching credential in Social Studies. His recent work is founding and developing Latino Outdoors. Latino Outdoors is a growing community as a network and volunteer-run organization. Latino Outdoors exists to “connect cultura with the outdoors”. The focus is on promoting a network of like-minded professionals, supporting outdoor leadership capacity-building opportunities for youth and young adults, and serving as a storytelling platform for defining the ambicultural identity connecting Latino communities and the outdoors.
Yoon Kim: Yoon Kim is the founder of the media startup Blogs for Brands, an ecommerce agency with an award-winning design team that manages blogs… for brands. The company works with 100 full-time freelance outdoor journalists who write for major publications like Outside Magazine, National Geographic and Men’s Journal. Prior to starting Blogs for Brands, Yoon ran Country Outfitter’s content strategy. He lives in Bentonville, Arkansas, travels too much, spends too much time in the office, and wishes he were outside more often. Yoon also directs the Outdoor Blogger Summit at SHIFT.
Carl Kish: After seeking the endless winter and returning from a semester snowboarding and studying Adventure Tourism Management in New Zealand, Carl Kish interned for the Center for Surf Research as a college senior in the Sustainable Recreation and Tourism Management program at San Diego State University. Focused on studying sustainable surf tourism, Carl developed his research while visiting resorts in Fiji, Hawaii, and Costa Rica, which is where he saw the need for a formalized standard for surf tourism operators. While Carl gets stoked on surfing, his heart lies in the mountains. After graduating with honors from San Diego State University, in addition to moving into sustainable tourism consulting full-time, he took the building blocks of his sustainable surf tourism research and began studying best practices in sustainable ski tourism. One year later, Carl created the first sustainability certification program for surf and ski tourism operators with his professor, Dr. Jess Ponting, called STOKE Certified. Passionate about sustainability, especially in snowboard and surf tourism and product development—he is committed to progressing the riding culture with a future-proof perspective.
Linda Merigliano: Linda Merigliano was introduced to wilderness in the Adirondacks. After one season as a volunteer ranger in the Tetons, she completed a Natural Resource degree at Cornell University and headed west. She spent the next 11 years working as a seasonal wilderness ranger and completing a master’s degree at the University of Idaho focused on indicators of wilderness quality. In 1988 she was one of six field people who testified before Congress as part of a GAO audit on Forest Service wilderness stewardship. She has been working on the Bridger-Teton National Forest since 1991 and currently serves as the recreation, wilderness and trails program manager for the Jackson District in addition to interagency assignments to help develop wilderness character monitoring and teach wilderness planning. She lives in Driggs Idaho with her husband Mike who is a riparian plant ecologist affiliated with the University of Montana.
Peter Metcalf: Peter Metcalf co-founded Black Diamond, Inc. in 1989 and became its Chief Executive Officer May 28, 2010. Mr. Metcalf served as the President of Black Diamond, Inc. from May 28, 2010 to August 11, 2014, and as its Director from May 28, 2010 to May 29, 2015. He co-founded Clarus Corp., and served as its Chief Executive Officer and President on May 28, 2010. He served as the President of Chouinard Equipment Ltd. (inc), a Subsidiary of Lost Arrow Corporation from 1981 to 1989. Mr. Metcalf serves as Director of Salt Lake City Branch of Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. He has been a Member of Board of Managers of PIEPS GmbH since October 1, 2012. Mr. Metcalf is a graduate of the University of Colorado, with a major in Political Science. He holds a Certificate in Management from the Peter Drucker Center of Management.
Dan Nordstrom: Dan Nordstrom has been CEO of Outdoor Research since 2003. Prior to that he spent 18 years at Nordstrom Inc. in a variety of roles that included CEO of Nordstrom.com and Co-President of Nordstrom Inc. He is a passionate advocate for conservation and assuring Americans have access to human powered outdoor experience. He’s a past President of the Access Fund, where he led the creation of the Access Fund Land Preservation Fund, and is currently on the board of Forterra, the leading conservation and land policy organization in WA, as well as a founder of the Outdoor Access Working Group and board member of the American Mountain Guides Association. All of that that is actually a cover story that allows him to seem very busy though he actually spends most of his time plotting the next climbing or skiing adventure.
Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin: Aparna is an equity, diversity, and inclusion consultant and founder of the Avarna Group, which supports organizations in the outdoor and environmental space in attracting and engaging a diverse and inclusive base of people and promoting inclusive organizational cultures. Over the past six years, she has facilitated workshops on hidden bias, inclusive recruiting practices, cultural competency, and other salient topics for thousands of educators, nonprofit leaders, land managers, conservationists, and outdoor industry professionals. She has also spearheaded projects that encourage public dialogue about diversity and inclusion in the outdoors, including Expedition Denali: Inspiring Diversity in the Outdoors. In a previous life, Aparna was a hotshot lawyer for a decade and a not-so-hotshot engineer for less than a decade. This meant she didn’t have time to do the things she loved, like playing outdoors. (She did, however, get some amazing views from top floor offices of skyscrapers.) In 2010, she turned her passion into a career, switching out her skyscraper views for mountain views, and has never looked back. While not at work, she can be found outside playing with her partner Jamie and their son Kieran and blogging about it when the mood so strikes her.
Bob Ratcliffe: As Division Chief for the National Park Service’s Conservation, Recreation and Community Assistance Programs for the last four years, Bob oversees the widely recognized Recreation, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program, National Trails and National Rivers programs among others. These innovative programs help fulfill the NPS mission in working with partners to extend the benefits of parks, recreation and conservation to communities across the country. Previously, Bob served 24 years for the Bureau of Land Management in a variety of field and national leadership roles including over a dozen years as Deputy Assistant Director for Resources and Planning, and Division Chief for the National Recreation and Visitor Services Program. Mr. Ratcliffe has been successful in working with constituents, coalitions, partners and agency leadership to emphasize rivers, trails, recreation, conservation and community assistance as top priorities for the agencies and the Department. He helped guide the development of the President’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative and has helped shape the NPS’ Centennial efforts as well as Department’s strategic priorities for youth engagement and promoting economic and health benefits of outdoor recreation. Currently he serves as the interagency staff Chair of the Federal Recreation Council (formerly FICOR). He is also a member for several of NPS strategic leadership teams guiding efforts to help define future roles for NPS and the Department of Interior in addressing recreation, urban, public engagement challenges and identifying opportunities to support the agency’s relevancy, diversity and inclusion goals.
Alyssa Ravassio: Alyssa is the founder and CEO of Hipcamp, a web platform that connects people with public and private land for camping. Their mission is get more people outside. She has a degree from UCLA in Digital Democracy and her deepest passion is helping shape how the internet impacts our humanity and our planet.
Michael Schlafmann: A graduate of Yale University, Michael Schlafmann serves as the Public Services Staff Officer on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, wehre he oversees wilderness, recreation, outfitting and guiding programs with a deep passion for engaging people directly in the management of open space and wild lands. Mike is a key team member in the Forest Service’s efforts to define a regional framework for sustainable recreation across the Pacific Northwest. Recently, Mike’s team on the Mt. Baker Snoqualmie was asked to form a national pilot for new approaches to engaging the public in managing resource and social capacity on the National Forests while streamlining the permit process for outfitter and guides and youth oriented organizations. He currently resides a block from Puget Sound in Mukilteo, WA.