We are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction in the planet’s history. At the same time, technology has sparked the greatest mass migration in human history—a migration inside, behind screens.
This growing disconnect from nature is adding billions of dollars to health care costs as chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and mental anxiety proliferate. It also undermines the value of nature in society at large: If we do not interact with nature on a regular basis, we will not be invested in its outcome.
Public health as an ecosystem service is a nonpartisan issue that has the potential to revolutionize our appreciation for both public and planetary health. By championing the importance of nature to health outcomes, we’re able to make implicit demands for its protection.
The Center for Jackson Hole is a 501c3 nonprofit organization the mission of which is to advance and promote the importance of nature as a social determinant of health. Doing so, we believe, creates the strongest argument we can make for nature itself.
Our vision? By 2025, to get 10% of Americans to take their doctor’s recommendations for physical activity outside.
We achieve our mission via two main programs: SHIFT (Shaping How we Invest For Tomorrow), an annual summit, held each autumn in Jackson Hole, that explores issues at the intersection of outdoor recreation, conservation and public health; and The Emerging Leaders Program, which trains early career leaders to help develop our work at SHIFT and in America.
Learn more about our programmatic focus here.
At the core of our vision is the belief that bringing together leaders from various sectors, cultures and lived experiences to discuss the most challenging problems facing our public health and our natural world’s survival makes us stronger, smarter and more resilient.
Personal investments in one another are our foundation, and our opportunity. When we invest in trust and respect, we grow individually and as a community. This allows us to build upon our shared experiences at SHIFT and ELP with new allies and partnerships.
We are part of the natural world. We learn from it and about it, and are partners in its future.
Building a diverse coalition is difficult and complicated. We enter this work with the expectation that deeply held beliefs may be challenged—and that changing our perspectives and our minds to develop new ways of thinking may be critical to our shared success.
SHIFT and ELP are built to foster and create personal relationships. The resulting alliances make our work fun and sustainable and enhance our ability to protect our natural world.
Additionally, our efforts are informed by the Four Principles of Successful Networks identified by Jane Wei Skillern at New Network Leader:
At The Center for Jackson Hole, we believe the coalition of stakeholders working to protect our natural world has the potential to become a movement. Outdoor recreationalists, land managers, health care professionals and conservationists realize their greatest opportunities for effectiveness when they address issues of common concern with a unified voice. Working together to achieve shared objectives, our ability to champion public health and our natural world in a time of unprecedented threat is extraordinary.
One of the greatest threats to the movement’s success is 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.
Jackson Hole wildlife biologist Olaus Murie used to say, “It’s going to take all of us to do it.” Until our efforts to protect our natural world represent the rights and interests of all people, we won’t be strong enough to succeed.
By uniting natural allies and combining the protection of the natural world with health, business, and responsible recreation, The Center for Jackson Hole’s programs advance ideas and initiatives that are revitalizing the American conservation movement. In an increasingly partisan political landscape, these programs also represent a uniquely nonpartisan effort to protect our natural world. With your help, we look forward to creating a unified framework for its stewardship.