Friday, February 8, 2013

ICL has new face in Ketchum

New central Idaho associate: ‘This place is beautiful’


Dani Mazzotta

    The nonprofit Idaho Conservation League has a new face in Ketchum, having just hired Oregon State University alumna Dani Mazzotta for its central Idaho associate position.
    Mazzotta takes the place of former associate Brett Stevenson, who left in November to become the first paid director of the Wood River Bike Coalition.
    Mazzotta recently moved to the Wood River Valley from Corvallis, Ore. She said it was the Idaho Conservation League job that inspired her to move here after finishing her master’s degree in environmental science at Oregon State University in June.
    “The timing was really harmonious,” she said. “I knew I was going to go into conservation and I was looking for positions with advocacy [components].”
    Mazzotta said she spent time researching other organizations, but felt the ICL job was the best fit for her, and the place where she felt she could make the most difference.
    “I love the area,” she said. “This place is beautiful! Everything kind of came together.”
    Mazzotta’s academic specialty is forest management and fire behavior, and her broader background is in natural resources management. She has a bachelor’s degree in natural resources management and rangeland ecology from Colorado State University, and spent two years working for the Anchorage Museum in Anchorage, Alaska, as a community programs manager and outreach educator. She said her experience with the museum gave her experience in working with community members to educate them about environmental issues.
  “When I say environmental education, it’s a huge broad range, but it’s about teaching and raising awareness,” she said. “The difference between that and conservation is that often you’re trying to promote action—for people not only to know about something, but to do something about it.”
    Mazzotta said she hopes to work with locals and other conservation organizations to find out what issues are most important to the area and what can be done about them.
    “I’m setting up meeting after meeting after meeting just to hear what’s most important to people in the valley,” she said. “When you come into a community, that’s the best tool you can use, just listening.”
    Mazzotta said she hopes to work with the Pioneers Alliance, The Nature Conservancy and the Wood River Land Trust in collaborative efforts to preserve the regional landscape. She said she’s also planning this summer’s hiking series and the Idaho Conservation League’s 40th anniversary celebration in Ketchum in June. Mazzotta is also an avid backcountry skier and said she looks forward to doing that in the valley and surroundings.
    Courtney Washburn, community conservation director for the ICL in Boise, said she hired Mazzotta because of her enthusiasm and experience.
    “We’re really excited,” Washburn said. “We’ve had a long presence in the Wood River Valley, and we’re excited to have her as part of the team.”
    Mazzotta said she was excited to get to work and use the knowledge of community leaders to focus on conservation.
    “Not everyone has the opportunity to have this in their backyard,” she said. “The people who live here understand how important that is. You don’t end up in Ketchum, Idaho, because you want to sit indoors.”


To contact Mazzotta
Mazzotta said she will always accept inquiries at the Ketchum office of the ICL. She can be reached at 726-7485 or dmazzotta@idahoconservation.org.


Kate Wutz: kwutz@mtexpress.com




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