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Kathryn Eklund on Learning, Giving, and Enjoying Wide Open Spaces


Where do you live?


I live in Livingston and am originally from Buffalo, Wyoming.


Where do you work or what is your profession?


I work for The Wilderness Society as the Southwest MT Community Conservation Specialist. I work in Montana communities between the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, Glacier National Park, and Eastern Idaho to protect open space and help communities meet the challenges that come from living on the frontlines of our public lands.

"I'm excited to learn from all the incredibly talented, smart people in the group, as well as support such a productive, positive effort."

What do you do for fun?


I get outside as much as I can. I like to fly fish, backpack, run and do yoga. I also periodically work on home improvement projects with my partner and volunteer with a couple of organizations in Livingston.



How would you describe your relationship with Ruby Valley or the surrounding area?


I would say my relationship with the Ruby Valley is growing and developing. I have spent some time in the Ruby fly fishing and am always impressed by how much public land there is – as well as the lack of community sprawl which we have our family ranches to thank.

"I was taught that true outdoor stewardship is practiced by those who work the land."

Why are you a member of the RVSA?


My organization and I were invited to join the Ruby Valley Strategic Alliance and felt it would be a great team to jump into. As someone who is new to working in Southwest Montana, I was excited to learn from all the incredibly talented, smart people in the group, as well as support such a productive, positive effort. The RVSA has incredible comradery and allows folks to think beyond their own self-interests, which is an incredible thing to be in the presence of and a valuable skill for us all to hone.


What about the vision and goals of the RVSA most resonates with you?


Maintaining and enhancing our outdoor way of life. I was taught that true outdoor stewardship is practiced by those who work the land - more so than any recreationist. So getting to learn from all the producers about their “outdoor way of life” is very exciting.


What do you see as some of your key accomplishments?


This is not my accomplishment - but a big accomplishment of the RVSA is the ability to bring people into a room who don’t necessarily agree on everything and have open, respectful dialogue. That in and of itself is a miracle these days, so the fact that most of the time we ALSO find a solution that we can agree to, is truly remarkable.


"People are invested in taking the time to share their viewpoints, to be respectful of others as they share, and move the discussion to a place of agreement."


What do you look forward to while working with this group?


I look forward to getting to know everyone better. I’m interested in learning about the ranching operations, and the stewardship work that is being done daily by the RVSA producers. I also look forward to being a valuable member of the group, bringing capacity and resources to the table, and supporting forward movement toward the RVSA’s goals.


What do you think others could learn from the RVSA?


I think it’s neat that at RVSA meetings we have one hour blocked off to just chat and eat lunch together, which really leaves space to build connections and learn about one another. Spending time together and sharing a meal is a beautiful way to build community, and I think we could all benefit if that were implemented in more spaces.


What do you want to be sure people know about the RVSA?


This is a thoughtful and intentional group. The members make decisions through consensus, but only after everyone has had a chance to share their concerns. The RVSA thoroughly discusses and thinks through the work we do and decisions we make. People are invested in taking the time to share their viewpoints, to be respectful of others as they share, and move the discussion to a place of agreement.


What is your hope for the future of the Ruby Valley?


I hope that it remains a vibrant, functional place economically and ecologically for the people, animals, and plants. And I hope the RVSA can plant the seed of working together and helping one another far and wide so it can expand beyond this pocket of Montana.



What is your personal theme and/or walk song?


Wide Open Spaces by the Dixie Chicks

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