2017 SHIFT Festival Agenda



Dates: November 1-3, 2017

Location: Snow King Resort, Jackson, Wyoming


*all speakers, panelists and moderators are proposed unless indicated otherwise


8 a.m.: State Offices of Outdoor Recreation Workshop

Snow King Resort

Offices of outdoor recreation offer states the opportunity to diversify their economies, improve citizen health and protect our lands, waters and wildlife, all at the same time. In the past year alone, five states have announced the creation of offices of outdoor recreation, bringing the country’s total to eight, with more in the wings.

This workshop, designed to create a toolkit for the creation of state offices of outdoor recreation, builds on last year’s program, which participants from North Carolina credited with taking “a year and a half” off the process of launching their office. Rather than focusing on existing state offices in Colorado, Utah and Washington, as we have the past two years, the workshop will feature representatives from state offices that are now coming online. Principals behind the drive for offices in Vermont, Oregon, North Carolina and Wyoming, as well as the country’s newest Director of a state office of outdoor recreation, Montana’s Rachel VanderVoort, will share lessons learned from their efforts to create offices in a panel discussion format. The panel discussion will be followed by a “Campaign Workshop” in which participants work in teams to develop actionable plans for office creation in their respective regions.

12-2 p.m.: SHIFT Registration

Snow King Resort

2 p.m.: Welcoming Remarks

Snow King Grand Room

Christian Beckwith, Director, SHIFT

Introduction of the 2017 SHIFT Festival theme, Public Lands: The Business Case; the three sub-themes for the event (Closing the Nature Gap; Community Futures; The Outdoor Rec Economy); Summit objectives; and agenda review.

2:15 p.m.: Opening Keynote: A Unified Vision for the Future of Conservation

Jon Jarvis, former Director, National Park Service

Snow King Resort

Drawing on 40 years of experience in the National Park Service, especially the last eight as the 18th Director serving under President Barack Obama, Jarvis will outline a new vision for conservation, one that is more inclusive of all Americans and their stories, including cultural, natural, environmental and social justice, economic disparity and that addresses climate change head-on.  His unified vision and business case includes the often-disparate branches of conservation: scientific, government, non-profit, preservation, sustainability, education, business, health, and urban and rural communities to unify in not only inspiring but also empowering a new generation of conservationists, who represent the diversity of the nation and will be prepared to address a very challenging future.

3 p.m.: SHIFT for the Planet

Snow King Resort

A collaboration with 1% for the Planet, Silicon Couloir, George B. Storer Foundation and The Blue Sky Funders Forum, SHIFT for the Planet features a pre-vetted selection of the most innovative, impactful and replicable work in the country in an event designed to amplify and enhance the collective impact of funders. SHIFT Award finalists who are also 1% for the Planet nonprofit partners will be invited to present their work to an audience that includes 1% for the Planet business members, Blue Sky Network members, independent funders and peers. The five-minute presentations will feature the work’s focus, its impact, and a central challenge facing its ongoing success.

5:30-7 p.m.: Happy Hour: The Modern-Day Activist

Location TBD

Luke Nelson, Shelma Jun, Miho Aida and Forrest Shearer were selected as 2017 SHIFT Award Adventure Athlete Official Selections for the work they do on behalf of our planet. Join us for a discussion on how we can elevate responsible recreation as a behavioral norm in the human-powered outdoor rec community, connect all people to the outdoors, and engage them in the decision-making processes that affect the places in which we play.

7-9 p.m.: Bears Ears

Jonah Yellowman, Eric Descheenie and Cynthia Wilson

Center for the Arts

Created in 2016, Bears Ears National Monument is the country’s newest national monument. It’s also unique. Proposed by The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, whose members include the Navajo Nation, Hopi, Ute Mountain Ute, Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation and the Pueblo of Zuni, the Monument encompasses 1.3 million acres of ancestral land on the Colorado Plateau and engages Tribes and Federal agencies as co-managers to integrate traditional stewardship and knowledge with western land management practice.

2017 SHIFT Award Official Selection Utah Diné Bikéyah (UDB) established itself in 2011 as a first-of-its-kind Native American organization focused on safeguarding cultural resources and protecting the ecological integrity of ancestral public lands in southeastern Utah. UDB has a ten-person, all-Native Board of Directors (Navajo and Ute), holds a Memorandum of Agreement with the Navajo Nation and Bureau of Land Management, and plays a supportive role to Tribes in both its designation of Bears Ears and in helping to collect traditional knowledge within tribal communities.

This event features UDB Board Member and Spiritual Advisor Jonah Yellowman, UDB Community Specialist (and Arizona State Representative) Eric Descheenie, and Cynthia Wilson, UDB’s Traditional Foods Program Director, in a celebration of 10,000+ years of traditional knowledge, sovereignty and the creation of Bears Ears.

Introducing the evening, Native American participants of the 2017 Emerging Leaders Program will help frame the presentation within the context of the greater 2017 SHIFT Festival.


8 a.m.: Wielding Power: Lessons from Oil and Gas for the Outdoor Recreation and Conservation Coalition

Breakfast Keynote by John Northington 

Snow King Resort

As the principal of Northington Strategy Group, John Northington’s list of past and current clients include ExxonMobil, Lockheed Martin, and Chevron Corporation as well as The Nature Conservancy, The Wyss Foundation and Trout Unlimited. One of the top ten energy consultants in Washington, Northington presents on the ways the oil and gas industry has developed its influence—and the pages the outdoor recreation/conservation community can take from their example.

9:00 a.m.: Closing the Nature Gap

Snow King Resort

85% of Americans today live in urban areas. In cities across the country, parks, trails, and open spaces enhance property values, increase tax revenues, attract homebuyers and knowledge workers, and boost economic development. Open spaces in urban areas are key to the future of our public lands, for without that initial introduction to nature and its benefits, the next generation of Americans will never become invested in their health and wellbeing.

At a time when the average American child spends seven hours per day in front of screens and seven minutes in unstructured play outside, and rising childhood obesity rates adds billions of dollars to health care costs, public lands also improve the mental and physical health of American citizens.

This track focuses on the value of public land investments where most Americans live: in urban areas.

Specific panels include:

Gyms to Crags

Climbing gyms in cities around America have engaged the most diverse generation of outdoor recreationists in history: millennials. How do we insure these potential stewards transition outside with their diversity intact, that the ways they recreate are informed by a conservation ethic—and that their experiences translate to jobs in the outdoor industry?

Green Jobs, Urban Playgrounds: Connecting employment and conservation in nontraditional communities

Bridging the Backcountry Divide: How hunting and fishing organizations are connecting urban Americans to public lands

In cities—home to most Americans, and thus to the majority of constituents for US Senators and Representatives—the concept of “public lands” can be abstract. Hunters and anglers are our greatest advocates for public lands, in part because of the fees they pay for licenses and equipment, which generated $1.1B for critical state environmental conservation and recreation projects in 2016 alone.

Problematically, the hunting and angling communities are overwhelmingly Caucasian at a time when the country is becoming a minority majority country—and are primarily the pursuits of rural America at a time when 85% of Americans live in urban areas. One direct result: hunting expenditures—and the associated excise taxes—declined 29% over the past five years.

This panel explores how organizations are connecting urban residents to public land issues by engaging them in hunting and fishing, how this engagement is making hunting and angling more relevant to communities of color, and how the results can help influence the votes of our elected officials and fund conservation and recreation projects throughout the nation.

10:30 a.m.: Coffee Break

12 p.m.: Lunch (On Your Own)

Hike up Snow King or hit town—your choice

2 p.m.: Community Futures

Snow King Resort

Public lands and the outdoor recreational opportunities they afford offer economic assets to communities around the country. The quality of life they permit improves the health and wellbeing of citizens, while their ability to attract not only recreationists, but also tourists, baby boomers retiring to greener pastures, and entrepreneurs, who in turn create economic diversity, is well documented. As Headwaters Economics notes, “[C]ounties with more federal lands or protected federal lands perform better on average than their peers with less federal lands or protected federal lands in key economic measures.”

This track focuses on investments in public lands as a way to drive economic growth in communities around America.

Specific panels include:

Transition Towns: How communities around America—particularly ones for which logging, mining, and oil and gas have been the historic economies—are using investments in public lands and outdoor recreation to drive economic growth

Beyond Tourism: How public lands and the quality of life they permit can attract entrepreneurs, who in turn can create economic diversity

The Designation Effect: How the economies of national monument gateway communities around the country have been impacted by the designations

5 p.m.: Happy Hour: You Gotta See It To Be It: How social media born in cities is changing the face of who’s outside

Pink Garter Theater

Representatives from NativesOutdoors, FlashFoxy, MelaninBasecamp and other social media accounts discuss the influence of social media on who we expect to see outside, and how we can use grassroots mediums to change the prevailing narrative of the outdoor recreation community.

7 p.m.: Common Ground: Diversity, Inclusion and the Future of Our Public Lands

Center for the Arts

Girltrek Founder Morgan Dixon and film-making conservationist James Q Martin struck up a friendship at last year’s SHIFT that has afforded a candid conversation about a difficult topic: race, inclusion and outdoor recreation. With this curated film program, the two friends from radically different backgrounds use the medium of film to build a more unified American movement to protect our public lands.

Preceding their program, we will recognize the most innovative, impactful, replicable work in the country that is currently leveraging outdoor recreation for conservation gains with the 2017 SHIFT Awards.


8 a.m.: Breakfast Keynote: The Emerging Leaders Present

Snow King Resort

Stories from the front lines of the outdoor recreation/conservation coalition.

9 a.m.: The Economic Case

Snow King Resort

Elected officials require sound information to advocate on behalf of outdoor rec and public lands. When business owners and landowners join the coalition of public land advocates, doors open, political leaders listen and legislation related to the health and wellbeing of outdoor rec and public lands advances. This track looks at ways we can use the financial case for public lands to bolster the argument for their health and wellbeing.

Specific panels include:

The Rec Act: How The Bureau of Economic Analysis’ Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account fits into the big picture of the American economy, and how the information it generates can effect legislative decision-making

The Business Case for Advocacy: Why companies like Patagonia, Simms, First Light and KEEN took positions on public lands and how they fared as a result

The OR Trade Show Leaves Utah: A case study of an industry, political power, what we learned and what comes next

11 a.m.: Closing Keynote: Angelou Ezeilo 

Snow King Resort

Angelou Ezeilo is the Founder and CEO of Greening Youth Foundation (GYF). Through the GYF, she is working to change the face of conservation in the United States and help young people of color find meaningful careers in conservation. Angelou believes that the outdoor recreation and conservation communities have a vested interest in reaching a new talent pool and engaging more diverse communities. For her, diversifying the pipeline to public land management and other careers is a step toward a broader culture shift where the country begins to think differently about who can and should enjoy our public lands, experience the joys of outdoor recreation, and take responsibility and leadership for stewarding our precious shared resources.

12 p.m.: Lunch (on your own)

1 p.m.: Outdoor Business Alliances Workshop

Snow King Resort

State-wide and regional business alliances such as Colorado Outdoor Business Alliance and the Pikes’ Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance are successfully harnessing industry voices to advance public land issues. Other models, such as Business for Montana’s Outdoors and the Yellowstone Gateway Business Coalition, include business interests outside the outdoor recreation industry. Taken together, such alliances offer a powerful tool that is greatly underleveraged in contemporary conservation: coalitions of business interests that advocate on behalf of public lands. This workshop features representatives from successful business alliances from around the country discussing how they were formed, the obstacles they’ve overcome and how they are applying their stakeholder coalitions for collective impact. A panel discussion will be followed by break-out groups in which participants work with alliance representatives on how to build business alliances in their regions, and how they can take specific action to advance change.

5 p.m.: The People’s Banquet, with Lucas St. Clair 

Center for the Arts

Elliotsville Plantation, Inc., is a 2017 SHIFT Award Official Selection. Its president, Lucas St. Clair, led a twelve-year effort to establish the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine. St. Clair brought a different style to the debate over a national park, meeting with locals over kitchen tables and on forest trails. He opened up 40,000 acres of Elliotsville Plantation to hunting and snowmobiling in 2013, endearing himself to local residents. St. Clair’s effort sought to redefine the relationship between access, rural economics and outdoor recreation. His work came to fruition in 2016 with the successful establishment of the Monument.

Jackson Hole’s foodie event of the year, the People’s Banquet celebrates the local food system with a matchup of the valley’s finest chefs and best producers. The evening begins with locally sourced cocktails and hor d’ouevres, followed, at 6:30 p.m., by St. Clair’s presentation. The banquet begins at 8:00.

Rocket Fuel