JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. — Outdoor access, impact mitigation, responsible recreation, conservation leadership and youth engagement are the topics that will be under the microscope at this year’s SHIFT Festival.
Held each October in the spectacular valley of Jackson Hole, SHIFT is an annual festival that celebrates the future of conservation with food, film, speakers, workshops and outdoor adventure. From Oct. 7-10, the 2015 Festival will feature an in-depth exploration of the opportunities and challenges at the intersection of conservation and outdoor recreation, with a goal of leveraging outdoor recreation for conservation gains.
“SHIFT is the only gathering of its kind that unites outdoor recreationalists, land managers and conservation advocates around the common goal of protecting North America’s public lands and waters,” said SHIFT Festival Director Christian Beckwith. This year’s event will feature two days of panels, small-group discussions and innovative awards that build on the intersection of five groups:
The Outdoor Industry
Outdoor Recreation Enthusiasts
Public Land Managers
The Leadership of GEMS (Gateways to Environments of Major Significance)
Communities like Jackson Hole depend on the health of their environment for economic and cultural success. Because of this, SHIFT will take a close look at GEMS as laboratories for communities striving to live in balance with nature. Leaders in conservation, wilderness advocacy and outdoor recreation will help to explore the creation of stronger, more enduring, and more united coalitions in order to help usher in a new generation of conservation champions.
2015 SHIFT will feature several notable and influential speakers and attendees, including the following:
National Geographic Society’s Chris Johns: SHIFT Keynote Speaker Chris Johns, the National Geographic Society’s Chief Content Officer, will speak at the 2015 SHIFT Festival on Thursday, Oct. 8, at the Center for the Arts.
A renowned photographer with extensive experience in parks around the world, Johns will speak about the National Park system, with a focus on Yellowstone, the first national park in the world and the sole subject of the May 2016 issue of National Geographic Magazine.
“Many of the issues faced by parks around the world can be found in Yellowstone,” he explained. “Yellowstone is a world treasure; it’s the wild heart of North America. I want to talk about what that means today and what it will mean tomorrow.”
2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, the inception of which was influenced in no small part by the National Geographic Society. To mark the anniversary, National Geographic will focus its 2016 efforts on National Parks throughout the year. “Our coverage of the Centennial Anniversary of the National Park Service across media platforms is the largest editorial initiative we’ve done in our 127-year history,” Johns said.
The editorial emphasis on Yellowstone was inspired in part by a conversation that National Geographic writer David Quammen had with Dave Hallac, division chief of The Yellowstone Center for Resources.
Hallac told Quammen, “I’m afraid we’re losing this place.”
“When someone of Hallac’s stature says that, it gets my attention,” said Johns. “I’ve spent a big part of my life in protected places — in Alaska, in Africa, in parks all over the world. The notion that ‘We’re losing this place’ is consistent.”
“I’d like to talk about why Hallac would say that, and what it means. He didn’t say ‘We’ve lost it’; he said, ‘We’re in danger of losing it.’ We need to think about what that means and what we need to do to avoid losing these places.”
Johns’ presentation will extend beyond the park boundaries to include the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, one of the largest intact mid-latitude temperate ecosystems in the world.
New York Times’ Mark Bittman: Keynote Speaker/People’s Banquet American food journalist, author, and columnist for the New York Times Mark Bittman will be the keynote speaker at the uber popular People’s Banquet on Friday, Oct. 9, at Jackson’s Center for the Arts.
Mr. Bittman, who explores industrial agriculture as both a health risk and a major driver of climate change, is the author of 14 books, including the bestselling “How to Cook Everything and Vegan Before 6 p.m.” He has been the recipient of International Association of Culinary Professionals, Julia Child and James Beard awards for his writing.
In the Emmy-award-winning Showtime series “Years of Living Dangerously,” Mr. Bittman investigates the impact of climate change on weather events such as Superstorm Sandy and the release of methane gas, a climate change accelerator, via fracking. As his bio in the series notes, “There is no one like Mark Bittman, who has been writing about food and cooking — and changing the way Americans eat — since 1980. ... Bittman’s core messages — that food and things related have the power to make or break not only our personal health, but that of the planet — are increasingly accepted and broadcast widely.”
Considered the “foodie event of the year,” the People’s Banquet pairs local chefs with local farmers, cheese makers, bakers and brewers to create small plates sourced from local ingredients. The 2015 People’s Banquet celebrates Vertical Harvest, a Wyoming-based agribusiness that will enhance the local economy by operating year-round to sell fresh, locally grown produce to the community through multiple venues at a competitive, consistent price.
The evening will begin with cocktails and hor d’ouevres, followed by a presentation at 6 p.m. by Bittman.
“Climate change is the overarching context for everything we do at SHIFT,” said Beckwith. “Mark Bittman connects what we eat to our long-term viability on this planet. His presentation will be provocative, and sure to spark conversations at the dinner that follows.”
Additional highlights at this year’s SHIFT Festival:
First Annual Outdoor Blogger Summit
Blogs for Brands, the industry-leading network of outdoor journalists, photographers, videographers, and designers that provides content commerce solutions for brands, will host the first Outdoor Blogger Summit (OBS) in conjunction with this year’s SHIFT Summit.
OBS will share the secrets of the blogging trade—including how to drive more traffic, work with brands, sell more sponsorships and grow social media—while SHIFT focuses on advancing on-the-ground solutions that leverage outdoor recreation for conservation gains.
The two events (SHIFT and OBS) will also share programming and facilities, introducing bloggers to content generators in the outdoor space as well as to leading issues of the day.
OBS will be an exclusive affair, with eight nationally recognized bloggers and only 16 openings for participants. Most openings are being filled by invitation. OBS participants will have the opportunity to network with SHIFT attendees and speakers while learning the internet marketing tactics that drive revenue for both brands and bloggers.
More information about 2015 SHIFT may be found at http://shiftjh.org.