A letter written by the Board of the Henry's Fork Chapter Idaho Master Naturalist Program, titled, "Who Are The Idaho Master Naturalists (IMNs), was posted in the IP News on 3/22/18. The article basically describes the functions of the organization. This was first addressed by the Citizen Advocacy For Island Park Idaho Issues face book page.
A list of their "only" partners included Idaho Fish & Game, US Forest Service, Henry's Fork Foundation, Nature Conservancy, and Idaho Department of Parks & Recreation. The article pointed out they are restricted from volunteering "...for political issues or advocacy of a political nature.", pointing out that "allegations" of involvement with non-governmental organizations were "false", and that they were not "participating in any campaign pertaining to the options...being considered by ITD for the Hwy 20 Targhee Pass project." However, the Nature Conservancy is an NGO.
In researching the statement regarding not participating in campaigns for alternatives this Facebook post was found from July 12, 2016, in partnership with the Island Park Safe Wildlife Passage (IPSWP) group which advocates for wildlife overpasses. IPSWP is coordinated by Yellowstone 2 Yukon (Y2Y). Although it appears the Henry's Fork Legacy Project (HFLP) created the IPSWP, the contact is Kim Trotter, the US Program Director for Y2Y.
IMN stated they do not partner with non governmental organizations (NGO), however they listed the NGO Nature Conservancy as a partner in the article. In further researching this, it was found that Y2Y lists the IMNs as a collaborating partner, along with the HFLP which was created by Y2Y, on page 12 of this 2015 annual Y2Y report. Y2Y is one of the lead initiatives for wildlife overpasses in the Island Park area.
Another NGO the IMN partners with is the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). As stated in this 2015 ScienceDaily article, "...WCS and IDFG recruited the help of the Idaho Master Naturalists (IMN)..." to "...conduct surveys for animal tracks alongside U.S. Highway 20...". This partnership was also recognized in a Rexburg Standard Journal article as seen in the graphic below.
The Island Park and Idaho Falls Idaho Master Naturalists volunteered for the US20 Road Ecology Report in which the WCS also participated.
In the June 8, 2016 IMN meeting minutes report, in which the link has now been removed by IDFG, but a pdf of that meeting can be found under the IP Focus tab, there seems to be an indication that IMN has regular contact with the HFLP and ITD, both of which are promoting wildlife overpasses.
There seems to be adequate evidence that the IMN did indeed partner, collaborate, and secondarily to that, promote objectives of the Y2Y created HFLP and IPSWP, NGOs and state agencies.
Making Sense of It All
This blog will help you make sense out of all the information on the website, how it affects IP, previous articles in the IP News, our history, and how efforts continue to put IP into various forms of conservation status.