Wildlife Friendlier Fencing Program Awarded “Citizen of the Year” in Cody

Wildlife Friendlier Fencing Program Awarded “Citizen of the Year” in Cody


From left to right: JHWF Board President Aly Courtemanch, JHWF Associate Director Kate Gersh, JHWF Executive Director Jon Mobeck, Wyoming Chapter of The Wildlife Society Board Member Ben Wise

The Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation received the Citizen of the Year Award for its Wildlife Friendlier Fencing Program on Thursday, November 17, at the Annual Meeting of the Wyoming Chapter of The Wildlife Society in Cody, Wyoming.

The Wyoming Chapter of The Wildlife Society Board Member Ben Wise announced the award at the closing evening banquet at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Wise introduced JHWF’s Executive Director Jon Mobeck to accept the award on behalf of the many hundreds of volunteers who, collectively, were recognized as Citizen of the Year. The Society typically gives the award to individuals who have made a significant contribution to wildlife management. Wise and other nominating agency partners from Wyoming Game & Fish and the Bridger-Teton National Forest saw an opportunity to celebrate the dedicated community that has formed around the Wildlife Friendlier Fencing program. The program’s impact exceeds the 183 miles of fence it has removed or modified over 20 years. It has also served to embody a community’s commitment to a land ethic that highly values landscape permeability.

In a brief acceptance comment, Mobeck alluded to Aldo Leopold’s oft-quoted mantra: “There are two things that interest me: the relation of people to each other, and the relation of people to land.” Mobeck concluded that one benefit of the Wildlife Friendlier Fencing program is that it advances meaningfully both of these relationships. JHWF believes that communities of people that come together for wildlife, especially throughout the rural West, may bridge social divides as we also clear barriers to wildlife movement. Since wildlife is a deeply shared interest in Wyoming – a Western passion – that connects people to each other, we believe that we can weave together the ethical fabric that allows a community to live compatibly with wildlife, while connecting individual communities to each other across a larger landscape. That ensures a bright future for wildlife in the Greater Yellowstone for generations to come.


JHWF Executive Director Jon Mobeck accepts the Wyoming Chapter of The Wildlife Society’s Citizen of the Year award on behalf of program volunteers at the closing evening’s banquet dinner.

The conference in Cody, which brought together 150+ researchers, students and land managers for three days of talks, workshops, films, field trips and social gatherings, reflected this spirit. By promoting collaborative science and land management – and refreshingly linking art and science by inviting the gifted artist James Prosek to deliver the keynote talk at the banquet – the conference aims to build healthy and resilient landscapes for Wyoming’s wildlife and people.

On the opening evening of the conference, JHWF’s film “Free to Roam” was screened to a receptive and engaged audience. “Free to Roam” captures the essence of the Wildlife Friendlier Fencing program and many of the individuals who have been involved since its origin.

JHWF’s Board President Aly Courtemanch and Associate Director Kate Gersh also attended the conference, which enabled the organization to make many valuable connections to extend its reach, and learn from some of the best wildlife managers and advocates in the state.

The Wildlife Friendlier Fencing Program endures because of the relentless volunteer commitment of many individuals as well as the financial support of individual donors and many foundations and agencies over the years. Thank you to all who have made a contribution to this effort!

Read a short piece about the Award in the Jackson Hole News and Guide.


Volunteer for Crystal Creek Fence Project August 6th

Volunteer for Crystal Creek Fence Project August 6th


Join Us for Our August 6th Fence Project:

On August 6th, we are returning to the Gros Ventre to Crystal Creek, to remove more than one mile of barbed wire fence on Bridger Teton National Forest land. The project is average in difficulty (6 on a 1-10 scale), with most of the work on rolling terrain after a moderate hike up to the fence line. Please join us!

We will meet at three car pool sites:

  1. Home Ranch Parking Lot (north side) at 8:00 a.m.
  2. Gros Ventre junction at 8:15 a.m.
  3. Kelly Warm Springs at 8:30 a.m.

We will carpool from these sites to project. We plan to work from 9:00 a.m to 2:00 p.m. and half-day (morning) is welcome, as well.

We will provide water and snacks. Please bring your own water bottle or hydration packs. We will provide water and Gatorade to fill your bottles, and some granola bars for a snack. Additionally we will take a mid-day lunch break. Please bring your lunch.

You should wear layered clothes, long pants, sturdy shoes and bring a rain jacket in case of storms. Sun or eyeglasses are a MUST for working with barbed wire. Sun protection (hat & sunscreen lotion) is also recommended, and will hopefully be necessary! We also recommend that volunteers check the status of their tetanus shots, in case of scratches from the old fencing material. We will provide work gloves, tools, and detailed instructions.

Please RSVP to jhwffencepull@gmail.com if you plan to attend and let us know at which meet-up point you will join us (1 of 3 locations listed above). You can also send questions to this same email address.


30 Volunteers removed 1 mile of barbed wire at Crystal Creek on July 16th. 

Celebrate Wildlife!

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