Non-Profit Leadership Lunchtime Discussion

Throughout SHIFT, 2017 SHIFT Award Official Selections will be highlighted during lunchtime discussions developed around each Award category.

Public Lands: Meeting community needs through creative solutions

Presented by The Sierra Club, the Non-Profit Leadership lunchtime discussion will be held from 12:15-2:00 p.m. at Hand Fire Pizza. The lunch will convene stakeholders in the Non-Profit Leadership category for networking, discussions of challenges common to the space and a showcase of the ways Award category representatives are addressing them with their work.

The discussion is open to the public, and local stakeholders as well as SHIFT attendees are invited to participate. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.

Moderator: John McCauley, Regional Organizer, Outdoor Alliance


  • Katie Goodwin, Public Lands Associate, Access Fund
  • Jessica Loya, Government Affairs and Public Relations Associate, Hispanic Access Foundation
  • Dick Kozoll, Founder and Board member, Nacimento Community Foundation; Coordinator, Step into Cuba
  • Heidi Van Everen, Executive Director, Whitefish Legacy Project

Synopsis: The purpose of the panel is to first and foremost showcase the work of the official selections by highlighting how they are Impactful, Innovative and Replicable—the criteria used to evaluate them for the awards.

The Moderator will begin by asking each panelist to provide a succinct summary of the work for which they were selected for the Awards.

Moderator will then work with panelists to explore the lunch’s common theme: Public Lands: Meeting community needs through creative solutions. Specifically, the panel will explore how the participating organizations are addressing threats to public lands through partnerships.

Once the panel has framed the topic under discussion, the conversation will be opened up to include the perspectives of representatives from other initiatives in the category.

The discussion is open to the public, and local stakeholders as well as SHIFT attendees are invited to participate. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.


Access Fund and The American Alpine Club, Climb the Hill

Representatives: Katie Goodwin (AF) and Vickie Hormuth (AAC)

On May 11, 2017, in Washington, D.C., Access Fund and The American Alpine Club organized Climb the Hill, a lobbying event in support of public lands. With a team of 50 climbers—including Tommy Caldwell, Sasha DiGiulian, Alex Honnold, Kai Lightner and Libby Sauter—they dispersed throughout Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress and leaders of the Department of Interior and the U.S. Forest Service. Over the course of the day, they attended 50 meetings on the Hill and with agency leaders, advocating for appropriate funding levels and balanced land management polices to support outdoor recreation and conservation.

Adventure ScientistsGallatin Microplastics Initiative

Representative: Katie Holsinger

The foundation of Adventure Scientists is built on the idea of leveraging the outdoor adventure community and their recreational activities for conservation impacts: they aim to harness the millions of hours spent by thousands of outdoor adventurers for the benefit of conservation. In the case of their Gallatin Microplastics Initiative, they mobilize a committed team of volunteers with backcountry expertise to collect water samples to study the abundance and types of microplastics in the Gallatin Watershed. The goal of this work is to tangibly reduce the number of microplastics entering the watershed. They have assembled and manage a team of 120 local volunteers—capable outdoorspeople committed to conservation—and trained them as microplastics sample collectors for this two-year effort. These volunteers visit 70 critical points on the Gallatin River and its tributaries once each season (based on hydrologic flows) on foot, bike, boat, skis and snowshoes to collect water samples.

Conservation ColoradoColorado Outdoor Business Alliance

Representative: Gabe Kiritz

The mission of the Colorado Outdoor Business Alliance (COBA) is to unite Colorado business leaders to conserve and protect access to our public lands. Launched in 2016, COBA now counts 158 Colorado businesses as members. It is unique in that it was formed and is run by a conservation nonprofit, thus bringing a true conservation and public-lands advocacy approach to the fight. Additionally, it brings together not only outdoor recreation industry businesses, but other businesses that value public lands for their contributions to quality of life and the concomitant  the recruitment and retention of high-quality employees who want to live in places with great natural amenities and recreation opportunities.

Elliotsville Plantation, Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument

Representative: Lucas St. Clair

Lucas St. Clair, President of the Elliotsville Plantation, Inc., led a twelve-year effort to establish the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. 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.

GirlTrekOne Million Women Walking

Representative: Morgan Dixon

GirlTrek is the largest public health nonprofit for African-American women and girls in the United States. With nearly 100,000 neighborhood walkers, GirlTrek encourages women to use walking as a practical first step to inspire healthy living, families and communities. As women organize walking teams, they mobilize community members to support monthly advocacy efforts and lead a civil rights-inspired health movement. Beyond walking, GirlTrek’s active members support local and national policy to increase physical activity through walking, improve access to safe places to walk, protect and reclaim green spaces, and improve the walkability and built environments of 50 high-need communities across the United States.

Hispanic Access FoundationLatino Conservation Week

Representative: Jessica Loya

Latino Conservation Week (LCW) is an opportunity for Latinos and all who want to join in to demonstrate their passion for getting outdoors and serving as stewards of our nation’s public lands. For organizations, churches, parks, government agencies and others, LCW is an opportunity to create events and activities designed to engage Latinos and provide access to stewardship opportunities.

Since 2014, close to 20,000 people have participated in 180 events (including volunteer cleanups, educational events, roundtable discussions, film screenings, fishing, mountain biking and whale watching) in 17 states from Massachusetts to California, visiting public lands and waterways—most for the first time. The event engages churches and other community groups to build new partnerships with land and water agencies, which in turn helps participants demonstrate their passion for public lands.

Nacimiento Community FoundationStep Into Cuba

Representative: Richard Kozoll

The mission of New Mexico’s Nacimiento Community Foundation (NCF) is to deliver integrated resources and programs to those in need, empowering individuals, families and communities to achieve health and self-sufficiency. NCF sponsors Step Into Cuba, a community-wide partnership that engages its people, businesses, schools, municipal and county government, land managers and health-related organizations to plan and develop opportunities for outdoor physical activity through respecting, using and protecting its extraordinary public lands.

Step Into Cuba has carefully chosen evidence-based strategies to increase physical activity from The Community Guide for community preventive services. Among other projects, volunteers and partners of Step Into Cuba participate in:

  •      Planning for a new segment of Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDNST) that will pass near town with the Santa Fe National Forest and New Mexico BLM
  •      Opening, developing and maintaining public trails on its public school and adjacent BLM lands
  •      Creating trails and community connectivity for Cuba’s village park
  •      Acquiring donated private land to plan, develop and maintain a green corridor and trail connecting town to the Santa Fe National Forest
  •      Sponsoring public programs and events highlighting local trails
  •      Developing and maintaining a website ( and IPhone/IPad trail app (Trails Across New Mexico); and
  •      Studying the health, economic and social capital-related effects of Step Into Cuba with the University of New Mexico Prevention Research Center over a 10-year period.

Paradox SportsAdaptive Climbing Initiative 

Representative: Mike Neustedter

In December 2016, Paradox Sports launched its Adaptive Climbing Initiative, a new movement to make climbing gyms across the U.S. accessible to people with physical disabilities. Through the initiative, which is sponsored by The North Face, Paradox Sports provides adaptive climbing courses in climbing gyms across the U.S. Adaptive climbing provides access for athletes with physical disabilities to climb in both indoor and outdoor settings through innovative adaptive systems, equipment and an open-ended mindset.

Adaptive Climbing Initiative courses include strategies and methods developed over many years of working with adaptive climbers, coupled with information collected from dozens of professional climbers, instructors and mountain guides. Once Paradox provides the training and necessary equipment, a climbing gym can open its doors to climbers of all ability levels and welcome a new population to the climbing community.

Outdoor Alliance, Protect Our Public Land

Representative: John McCauley

In 2016, The Outdoor Alliance built a multi-pronged campaign to fight the public land transfer movement. A petition was built to show policymakers that voters support America’s public lands, and kept signers updated with alerts targeted to their state and district. The petition was designed to combat an ongoing challenge: a majority of Americans want to keep public lands in public hands, while policymakers have been slow to speak out against the land heist.

Highlights of the campaign included:

  • 55,000+ petition signatures
  • 75 outdoor business and advocacy partners
  • 50,000 letters sent to lawmakers
  • Met with policymakers from 27 states
  • Rallied outdoor enthusiasts for 5 key town halls
  • Helped coordinate 2 public lands rallies
  • Public awareness via the creation of state-specific maps that identify local public lands
  • Creation of a coalition of non-profit and advocacy groups to support their work
  • Social media packets for participating organizations
  • Meetings with western governors and congresspeople to advocate for public lands

Public Land SolutionsProsperous Communities Initiative

Representative: Jason Keith

Public Land Solutions is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing comprehensive recreation planning and stakeholder coordination to support effective and sustainable public-land solutions.

The Prosperous Communities Initiative aims to help communities thrive by using the currency of the 21st century: recreation assets—public and private lands of all types that provide opportunities for outdoor experiences such as trail systems, rivers, lakes, and parks—on shared lands.

The Prosperous Communities Initiative builds off the bipartisan success of the November  2016 REC Act that directed that the outdoor recreation industry’s jobs and economic contributions be included in the United States’ gross domestic product.

Examples of outdoor-friendly communities that the initiative seeks to replicate include Duluth, MN, Fruita, CO, Bend, OR, Whitefish, MT, and Bentonville, AK.

Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, Vamos a Pescar

Representative: Rachel Piacenza

Vamos A Pescar (VAP)—The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s initiative to increase the U.S. Hispanic population’s participation in recreational fishing and boating—is composed of various innovative elements. U.S. Hispanics traditionally under-index in fishing and boating and, as a result, have never been the focus of fishing or boating interests in the past. The VAP program put a stake in the ground to be the first in the industry to target the Hispanic segment.

The most significant contribution that the VAP initiative has provided to the industry is the Vamos A Pescar Education Fund. The fund is a rallying cry to industry partners large and small to become more active in the crusade to increase Hispanic participation in boating and fishing. As of today, the VAP Education Fund has raised more than $250,000 from partners such as Bass Pro Shops and Disney, and has been vital to reaching the Hispanic audience on both a national and local/grassroots level. Since last year, traffic to increased by 12% to 890,000 unique annual visitors.

The Climate Reality Project, I AM PRO SNOW

Representative: Lindsey Halvorson

I AM PRO SNOW works with winter sports and mountain communities to help support their fight against the worst impacts of the climate crisis by enabling them to transition to 100% renewable electricity. In just over a year, I AM PRO SNOW and the 100% Committed campaign has helped more than 30 cities like Utah’s Salt Lake City; businesses in the outdoor rec community businesses like Alpine Promotions, Ski Butlers, and 22 Designs; and resorts like Whiteface in New York and St. Moritz in Switzerland commit to go to 100% renewable electricity.

Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Sportsmen’s Access Campaign

Representatives: Coby Tigert, Kevin Farron

In January 2015, as calls to transfer or sell America’s public lands migrated from the fringe to the mainstream conversation, the TRCP launched its multi-pronged Sportsmen’s Access campaign to organize sportsmen and women in fierce opposition to public lands threats. As part of the campaign, they initiated a non-branded, coalition-backed microsite,, to provide background on the issue and house a running petition. For each signature, letters are sent to federal, state and local elected leaders reaffirming sportsmen support for public lands and opposing their sale or transfer. To date, that petition has been signed by more than 54,000 sportsmen, generating almost 500,000 letters to public officials. The site also features a white board video narrated by hunting celebrity Randy Newberg, printable resources on how transfer would affect nine specific states, a general land transfer fact sheet, and statements of local decision-maker support (including from Western county commissioners). Content and photos from the TRCP’s social media campaign, #publiclandsproud, are also featured on the site.

Utah Diné Bikéyah

Representatives: Gavin Noyes, Jonah Yellowman, Cynthia Wilson

Utah Diné Bikéyah (UDB) is a Native American-led nonprofit working toward “healing of people and the earth by supporting indigenous communities in protecting their culturally significant ancestral lands.”

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 aims to establish itself as a leader among conservation organizations. UDB’s biggest achievement included designation for the 1,351,849 acre Bears Ears Region as a National Monument in 2016.

Whitefish Legacy PartnersWhitefish Trail Project

Representatives: Heidi Van Everen, Alan Myers-Davis

Whitefish Legacy Partners (WLP) is a non-profit organization whose community-minded vision ensures conservation, recreation and education on the lands around Whitefish for future generations.

The Whitefish Trail (WT), WLP’s anchor project, began as one aspect of a solution to the impending development and sale of 13,000 acres of Montana State Trust Lands surrounding Whitefish, Montana. In 2003, the Whitefish Neighborhood Plan was written and adopted by Flathead County, the City of Whitefish, and the Montana State Land Board and describes a long-term vision for local public land management. A recreation loop trail around Whitefish Lake was called for as a multi-partner solution to protect public access, maintain sustainable forest management, and provide wildlife habitat on the lands surrounding town.

WLP utilizes the WT to leverage increased recreation opportunities, to pursue local conservation efforts, and to provide a platform for outdoor learning. In addition, the community of Whitefish has utilized the WT to leverage local conservation efforts, effectively changing the tone of local conversations. Prior to the development of the WT system, the topic was often fraught with bi-partisan conflict, and since its creation, the trail system has demonstrated tangible benefits the community. In 2015, the City of Whitefish voted with 84% approval to increase the local resort tax by 1% to fund final purchase of a 3,020 acre conservation easement in Haskill Basin. The Haskill CE permanently secured the City of Whitefish’s water supply, and it allowed for a permanent trail easement along the western border of the parcel. This managed trail corridor leaves the vast majority of the 3,020 acres to remain open for threatened grizzly bear and lynx habitat.

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