Picnic to Honor Joe Ricketts Held at Yellowstone National Park
Pictured (left to right); Back row: Eric Liner (Cornell Lab of Ornithology), Jad Daley (American Forests), Wes Swaffar (American Forests), Hillary Robison (Yellowstone National Park), Walter Wehtje (Ricketts Conservation Foundation); Middle row: Libby Pansing (American Forests), Jennifer Carpenter (Yellowstone National Park), Ann Carlson (Yellowstone National Park), Joe Ricketts (Ricketts Conservation Foundation), Diana Tomback (WPEF/CU Denver), Cam Sholly (Yellowstone National Park), Summer Merrell (CU Denver); Front row: Tara Durboraw (CU Denver) and Katya Brown (University of Montana). Image credit: Jill Sholly
In July, Diana Tomback, WPEF policy and outreach coordinator and professor at the University of Colorado Denver, and partners hosted a picnic event at Yellowstone National Park to honor Joe Ricketts of the Ricketts Conservation Foundation for continued support of outreach and research on both whitebark pine and its avian companion, the Clark’s nutcracker.
The event was held at the Fishing Bridge picnic area by the shore of Yellowstone Lake and against a backdrop of whitebark pines with a family of Clark’s nutcrackers as special guests. Other notable guests were Cam Sholly (Yellowstone National Park superintendent) and wife Jill Sholly, Jad Daley (American Forests CEO) and Eric Liner (The Cornell Lab of Ornithology cinematographer).
Since 2019, Ricketts has supported The Clark’s Nutcracker Project, a collaboration among Yellowstone National Park, Ricketts Conservation Foundation and CU Denver to better understand seed resources used by the bird and how to protect this species. He also has supported a series of impactful short films from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Center for Conservation Media on whitebark pine that are being purposed for public outreach. American Forests is helping to coordinate these outreach efforts.
You can read more about Clark’s nutcracker and watch one of The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s films “Hope and Restoration: Saving the Whitebark Pine” in a recent article in Living Bird magazine.