The Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y) came together with The Community Library this week to screen the Emmy-nominated documentary “Wild Ways: Corridors of Life.”

Photo by Blake Beckwith.

Photo by Blake Beckwith.

The film focuses on the drastic loss of biodiversity throughout the American West, Western Canada, and beyond. “Wild Ways” explains that many species, such as grizzly bears, are now threatened because they’re becoming confined to one area – such as Yellowstone National Park. As one conservation biologist stated in the beginning of the film, “As big as Yellowstone is, it’s not big enough on its own.”

Although Yellowstone National Park is close to 3,500 square miles, it has been compared to a “biological island.” The grizzly bear population is dwindling within the boundaries of the park, and Y2Y aims to help the grizzly bears and other animals by connecting smaller protected areas to create a corridor of nearly 2,000 miles, running from Yellowstone up to the Arctic Circle.

Scott fishing out at Silver Creek. Photo by DJ Muehle.

Scott fishing out at Silver Creek. Photo by DJ Muehle.

Following the film, our executive director, Scott Boettger, was joined by representatives from the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, The Nature Conservancy of Idaho, and Y2Y for a panel discussion. While the other panelists focused mainly on the big picture, Scott reminded us that, “It all starts at home.”

Scott urged us to keep it local, by educating local populations while also considering the greater impact of humans on the land.  He reminded the audience that people need to gain an appreciation for the land, water, and wildlife in our Valley before getting behind a project like Y2Y and understanding the human impact on biodiversity.

Towards the end of the evening, the moderator introduced an idea from biologist E.O. Wilson’s latest book, Half-Earth. Wilson has come forward saying that humans must protect 50% of our land if we want to protect biodiversity, and therefore humanity. With that intimidating thought in mind, Scott explained that “It’s going to take 100 different Band-Aids to fix this.”

Even though it feels daunting now, it’s inspiring to think that we are moving in the right direction.

Thinking about the bigger picture is a little scary, but we’re all working towards this greater goal, one Band-Aid at a time.

By Josie Brownell