Jessy works to promote the protection of rivers in the Northern Rockies through grassroots outreach, field research, advocacy and engaging with communities in local river conservation. The rivers and communities of rural western Montana are home and have shaped her land ethic and passion for conservation work.
Jessy joined American Rivers as the Montana Public Lands Fellow in 2020. She worked with the University of Montana’s Wilderness Institute to coordinate the 50th Anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act Celebration in 2018 and helped to create and publish a deliberative forum guide on river management as a River Management Education Fellow with Wild Rose Education in 2019.
B.S. in Resource Conservation and Environmental Studies and Minor in Wilderness Studies from the University of Montana, Missoula, MT
Lochsa Wild and Scenic River
In December, 1994 my parents snowshoed from Montana’s Swan Valley to the banks of the South Fork of the Flathead River in the heart of the Bob Marshall Wilderness. I was 18 months old and made the journey in a backpack on my mom’s back, eating elk jerky and picking every single m&m out of our trailmix. We spent four months living in a tipi along the banks of the river while my parents tracked rare carnivores, watched the elk herds at Big Prairie and caught whitefish to smoke and eat. Twenty-three years later, in the summer of 2018, I returned to banks of the South Fork of the Flathead near Big Prairie with my dad, a packraft, and a photo album of that winter spent in the wilderness. The main channel had changed significantly and a fire had burned many of the trees that once surrounded our camp, but the river remained and it felt good to be back again, on the first river I knew.