A Few Words from the JHLT

Those of us who call America home are quite literally connected by one common thread- land. In order to do our work to protect land and uphold our values, our culture must be one of inclusivity and we must work to protect all people with whom we share this common thread. Today we raise our voice both in opposition to systemic racism and oppression and in solidarity with the Black community and all People of Color. We recognize that while words of acknowledgment are important, what truly matters are the actions we take moving forward that will substantiate these words and create change.

This week our feed and our emails have been intentionally silent in order to provide space for the messages from people and institutions of color that are important to this movement, messages that at their core reflect the values that this organization strives to uphold – commitment, integrity, collaboration, partnerships, community, sustainability, and RESPECT. Our regular Thursday programming will be canceled today and in its place, as our first course of action in listening and learning, we will be sharing a list of resources that amplify diverse voices in conservation from people who have done incredible work to defend our future. It is now our turn to help defend theirs.

 

Resources to Amplify Diverse Voices in Conversation:

Videos:

Planet Walker: Walk the Earth: My 17-year Vow of Silence

Greening the Ghetto

Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies- Diverse Voices: Defining Environmental Leadership for the 21st Century

Diverse Voices to Celebrate and Follow:

Dr. Dorceta Taylor, James E. Crowfoot Collegiate Professor; Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, University of Michigan

Raya Salter, ENERGY & ENVIRONMENTAL LAW & POLICY CONSULTANT & EDUCATOR; MEMBER, NY STATE CLIMATE ACTION COUNCIL

Parker McMullen Bushman, Vice President for Community Engagement, Education and Inclusion at Butterfly Pavilion

Robert G. (Bob) Stanton, Director of the National Park Service (1997 – 2001)

Dr. Robert Bullard. A distinguished professor of urban planning and environmental policy at Texas Southern University in Houston, Robert Bullard is often called the “father of environmental justice.” 

John Francis, Planet Walker

Francisco “Paco” Ollervides, Executive Director, Green Leadership Trust

Dr. Ingrid Waldron, Dalhousie University professor; Co-producer of the Netflix documentary “There’s Something in the Water

Dr. Shivani Bhalla

Kristy Drutman

Dr. Adrienne Keene

Social Media Accounts:

@breaking_green_ceilings

@browngirl_green

@gogreensavegreen

@greengirlleah

@VanessaNakate1

@GenesisBulter_

@HeyAshleyRenne

@MikaelaLoach

@IAmTabithaBrown

@WasteFreeMarie

@SweetPotatoSoul

@ZeroWasteHabesha

@IsraHirsi

@queerbrownvegan

@waldroningrid

@em_cee_

@greengirlmagic

@nativeapprops

Organizations:

Land Loss Prevention Project

Planet Walk

Reclaiming Native Truth Project

Books:

Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans in the Great Outdoors

Planet Walker: 22 Years of Walking. 17 Years of Silence

Environmental Health and Racial Equity in the United States: Building Environmentally Just, Sustainable, and Livable Communities

There’s Something in the Water

Confronting Environmental Racism: Voices from the Grassroots

Clean and White: A History of Environmental Racism in the United States

Braiding Sweetgrass

As Long as the Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock

Books for Children (compiled by Brittany Smith, an inclusive pre-kindergarten teacher):

Historic Preservation Month: The Block

Today, the Genevieve Block hosts a cherished community greenspace and historic buildings that are currently home to beloved local business. The Block is not only a community hub, but also provides a glimpse into Jackson Hole’s history. May is National Historic Preservation Month, and in honor of that we recognize the unique historic buildings, properties, and places that make up the heritage and character of our treasured landscapes. From homesteaded working lands and houses to the first businesses that lined main streets, our western roots continue to shape Wyoming communities today.

In August of 2019, the Jackson Hole Land Trust celebrated the monumental completion of an ambitious $7 million community campaign to “Save the Block” to safeguard the community greenspace through a conservation easement and protect its historical character. The Block represents the town’s early history from the lens of a foundational family, the Van Vlecks. The 1.2-acre lot located just off of Broadway and Deloney, pays homage to the grit and determination of what was once a modest agricultural town and the residents who called it home. The three original structures nestled in the lot’s greenspace characterize Jackson’s architectural past as it evolved from a small western town into a tourist destination. But beyond their squared joints and wooden bones, the buildings memorialize the people who walked through their rooms and into a mountain town’s history.

The Van Vleck House, visible today as Café Genevieve, has been a community-gathering place for over 100 years. The log cabin was originally constructed by Clare Roy (Roy) Van Vleck in 1910 and was the only property in Jackson with a water well at the time. Neighbors would often stop by for meetings, social activities, and, of course, water. Roy and his wife, Genevieve, resided in the cabin until 1960, during which they helped shape the town as it grew around them. Roy Van Vleck was a businessman and operated the town’s first mercantile, which he later sold to his son-in-law, Harry Weston. Roy invested in his community as a board member for the school and hospital and then later served as Land Commissioner. Genevieve Van Vleck gained fame as one of five women elected to town council in May 1920. After their election, Genevieve and her fellow councilors continued to appoint women to administrative positions, making Jackson the first in the nation with an all-woman municipal government. Genevieve served for three years and helped solidify the ethos of independent women in the West.

The Weston and Stewart Houses are situated to the east of the original Van Vleck House and sit slightly farther back from Broadway. The Van Vleck children, Estella (Stella) and Katherine Jean (Jean), built the homes on land gifted or sold to them by their father, Roy. Stella and her husband, Harry Weston, constructed the Weston House in 1936 as a cross between Roy and Genevieve’s log cabin and the bungalow-style popular during the time. Stella and Harry were community leaders, conservationists, and, like many people in northwestern Wyoming, outdoor-enthusiasts. Stella helped found the local Girl Scouts, served on several community organization boards, and enjoyed annual hunting trips for sage grouse and antelope. Civic duty was also important to Harry, as he served on the town council, as a board member of the Grand Teton National Park Natural History Association for over 50 years, and maintained membership numerous other local organizations. In 1950, Jean and her husband Robert Stewart, built a red ranch-style home on land gifted to her by Roy and purchased from her sister, Stella. The Stewart House is the western-most house on the Genevieve Block and represents the last of the Van Vleck family houses built at a time when downtown Jackson was becoming a busier, residential area.

As a result of the tremendous community and partner support during the Save The Block campaign last summer, we showed that greenspace and heritage matter. As Jackson continues to evolve, The Block will remain constant. The space will persist with its cherished businesses, greenspace, and historic character that reminds us of the town’s humble beginnings and the Van Vleck family who helped shape its future.

As part of the plan for The Block, the Van Vleck House and the Weston House remain protected by character easements that will ensure the buildings are forever maintained and restored in accordance with the façade restrictions placed on them. Meanwhile, the eastern-most lot, where the 1950s home of Jean and Robert stands, is slated to become the campus of the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum (JHHSM). In the future, visitors to The Block will be able to patronize local businesses in historic buildings, relax for a moment under the shade of a large Cottonwood tree next to Cache Creek on the greenspace, and dive deeper into the area’s history with a stop at the JHHSM.

Thanks to the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum archives for providing historic photos, the Weston House survey (conducted and prepared by Teton County Historic Preservation Board), and the Van Vleck House National Register for Historic Places nomination (prepared by Amy Kiessling for the Teton County Historical Society)!

Story: Carlie Ideker
Photo: Jackson Hole Historical Society and Musem

Birds of NW Wyoming: Activities for Kids, Trivia + More

The Jackson Hole Land Trust is excited to continue rolling out new ways to virtually connect you, our community, to open spaces and conservation. Every other week, we’ll unveil a new theme with opportunities to connect virtually and resources to help kids get to know the natural world.

April Part I (3/30-4/12): Birds of Northwest Wyoming

4/9 Trivia
Put your regional bird IQ to the test with trivia. Perfect for both families and quiz-loving adults alike, we invite you to join us Thursday, April 9 at 4 pm. Grab your favorite beverage and gear up for an exciting hour of brain-turning questions. Winners will receive a special JHLT prize as well as the opportunity to compete in our trivia championship to come.

Grab your smartphone or computer and connect via the zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/9809695673 or visit zoom.us and click Join A Meeting and enter the meeting code 9809695673.

Open Space Adventure: DIY Binoculars

For the kids (or truly young at heart), follow along with our video and make a set of binoculars out of items found around the house. Then, encourage your kids to observe the incredible nature all around. Safely head out to one of our public access community conservation properties while respecting social distancing. Walk the perimeter loop at R Park to experience several different habitats or check out the Wilson Wetlands and you may be lucky enough to see a Yellow warbler.

Past Event: 4/2 Virtual Happy Hour
Didn’t make it? Catch the recording here: https://vimeo.com/405172386

Join JHLT for a virtual happy hour with our staff biologist, Erica Hansen. Follow along as she explores the ways birding can connect you with the outside world from your own backyard. She’ll delve into which birds are making their way back to Northwest Wyoming and how JHLT-protected properties support their migration.

Bird: Swainson’s hawk
Photo: Tom Koerner/USFWS

Next for The Block: Partnership with Hershberger Design Landscape Architects

It is with great excitement that the Jackson Hole Land Trust announces today a partnership with the local landscape architecture firm Hershberger Design, marking another step by the JHLT toward creating and enhancing a community-friendly greenspace on the historic Genevieve Block. JHLT chose Hershberger Design to lead the project based on the firm’s extensive experience in designing beautiful and engaging public spaces that express the spirit of the place, and their ability to creatively address the unique dynamics presented by the conservation easement-protected property.

The greenspace on The Block was protected in August 2019 following a four-month long fundraising campaign led by the JHLT during which over 2,600 individuals donated more than $7 million to purchase the conservation easement and underlying fee on the greenspace. Additional contributions to the Save the Block campaign were designated for funding the design and creation of a space where the community can safely enjoy a quiet piece of nature in the heart of bustling downtown Jackson. Once completed, the 1.2 acres of community greenspace will offer low impact pedestrian connections, plenty of shade under the community-cherished cottonwood trees, open common areas to gather and socialize, and functional access to the local businesses that inhabit the preserved historic buildings on the block.

“We are honored to be collaborating with the Jackson Hole Land Trust on The Block landscape. As a local firm, we followed and supported the campaign to save this block through its entirety and are committed to designing a space that is inspired by the community’s strong vision and passion for this important piece of our town,” said Bonny Hershberger, Vice President, Managing Partner, Organizational Genius at Hershberger Design. “As we embark on our visioning for the possibilities of this greenspace, we are concentrating on capturing the spirit of this project for current and future generations to experience while visiting the block.”

The timeline for construction to start on the block is mid-to-late spring. Utility updates and enhancements as required by the Town of Jackson, including burying the power lines that currently run through the property, will need to be completed prior to the landscape design implementation and

construction. Visitors to the greenspace on the block will need to expect closures to the property during the utility burials and portions of the landscape construction process throughout summer 2020.

“The greenspace on the block has been a place for the community to gather, escape the frenzy of town, enjoy a locally made treat or beverage, and reconnect to the history and roots of this special place. We are so proud to have been a part of the campaign to safeguard the space and the public’s ability to access it,” said Jenny Wolfrom, Interim Co-Director and Director of Advancement and Engagement at the Jackson Hole Land Trust. “We are confident that Hershberger Design joins us in our passion for this community space and we look forward to working closely with their team to transform the greenspace into a more usable and vibrant common area for all to enjoy, forever.”

The JHLT and Hershberger Design will work together to provide the community with more details on the design plan as the creative process unfolds. The JHLT is not currently planning programs or events on the block for summer 2020 due to the utility and construction work planned for the space.

 

Photo: Orijin Media