Building Local Capacity To Lead Community Resilience In Central Idaho

Who We Are

Painting of White Clouds Preserve

Our Mission

White Clouds Preserve fosters stewardship, education, and community in Central Idaho. 

Our Vision

Environmental stewardship at White Clouds Preserve will inspire connection and conservation throughout Idaho and the West.

We are Community Advocates

Supporting local efforts addressing local needs.

We work to improve the quality of our land, and support our wildlife to conserve natural resources. We are a refuge for overwintering elk, deer and wild horses, as well as, cultivate a biodiverse habitat. 

 

The 432-acre Preserve celebrates the rugged high-desert beauty and solitude that are the defining characteristics of central Idaho.

 

The Lodge at White Clouds Preserve serves as a venue for community, connection, research, and education with local schools, universities, volunteers, and beyond. 

Supporting Local efforts Addressing Local Needs

We are Community Advocates

We work to improve the quality of our land and river health to support fish and wildlife, and to conserve natural resources. We are a refuge for overwintering elk, deer and wild horses and a biodiverse habitat for salmon, trout, pronghorn, eagles and wildflowers.

 

The Lodge at White Clouds Preserve serves as a venue for community, connection, research, and education with local schools, universities, volunteers, and beyond. 

Co-Executive Directors

Amanda Gardner

With a deep passion for community, Amanda is a connector of all things White Clouds Preserve and a cultivator of our mission.

Aaron Wanner

A true Jack of all trades, Aaron maintains and improves the 432 acre Preserve and all of its glory.

Board of Directors

What We Do

Stewardship

White Clouds Preserve provides refuge to native species and supports habitat resiliency through collaboration with local conservation, community and restoration efforts.

Education

White Clouds Preserve cultivates and supports projects that optimize impact on The Preserve’s natural environment. The Preserve is a venue for pilot projects, collaborative opportunities, research and education programs.

Community

White Clouds Preserve is committed to our community. We host federal and state volunteer programs to implement much needed support for local organizations.

Our Impact

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Native Plants Planted
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Acres of Riparian Treated & Seeded
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Volunteer Hours Contributed Locally
We Encourage Education

Scholarships

“As a biology major getting this scholarship helped empower me to know that I could make a difference in my local ecosystem. This scholarship allowed me to have one less thing to worry about while allowing me to help my community. The White Clouds Preserve is a project that any biology major would be proud to be a part of!”

 

 – Wyatt Naillon

 

Challis High School Graduate ’18, Molecular Biology/Biophysics Student, Boise State University, WCP Scholarship Recipient

“A society grows when you plant trees in whose shade you shall never sit.”

— Greek Proverb

Get Engaged

Volunteer

Are you interested in learning about stewardship, restoration, or community development? Volunteer with us and make a difference in the community!

Collaborate

White Clouds Preserve works hand in hand with local businesses and organizations. Reach out to us to see how we can collaborate!

Support

Click here to donate and make a difference within the community.

Amanda Gardner

Co-Executive Director, Worker of Magic

Amanda brings her passion for nature and deep experience in community organizing to the Preserve. Prior to WCP, Amanda worked with the Idaho Conservation League and the Idaho Hunger Relief Task Force. Earlier, she was an AmeriCorps member in Maine supporting the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

 

A certified outdoor leader, she has volunteered for nonprofits as far away as Kenya. She earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Shepherd University. Born in Washington, Amanda was raised in West Virginia.

 

Fun fact: Despite being 5’10 1/2,” Amanda is the shortest member of her family.

Email

amanda@whitecloudspreserve.org

Call

+1 (208) 838-2322

Aaron Wanner

Co-Executive Director, Worker of Magic

Aaron brings a connection with the outdoors and a diverse background to the Preserve. His experience spans construction, gemology, maintenance, logging, the military and mining. Most recently, Aaron co-founded Art Mountain Company and remains a lapidary artist, jeweler and instructor.

 

He is a Graduate Gemologist & Graduate Jeweler from the Gemological Institute of America. Earlier, he owned Wanner Ranch, a wetland habitat and horse sanctuary. While serving our country, Aaron was a U.S. Army helicopter flight engineer and maintenance lead. Aaron enjoys having his two children here in the summer.

 

Fun fact: Aaron can juggle and once free climbed a 1,400-foot cell phone tower.

Email

aaron@whitecloudspreserve.org

Call

+1 (208) 838-2322

Eric Younger

Co-Founder and Board President

Eric Younger is a Pacific Northwest native with 25 years of executive leadership experience centered on sustainable economic development in the U.S. and internationally. Eric’s academic background and professional experience have focused on enabling nonprofits to become vibrant, effective, and sustainable organizations that provide powerful advocacy for the constituencies they represent. 

 

In 2019, Eric founded the Confluence Institute to further his dream of empowering outstanding NGOs in places important to him and his family. Eric and his wife Heidi Younger co-founded WCP in 2018 to strengthen the Preserve’s biodiversity and land and river health, conserve its fish and wildlife, and protect its natural resources. Eric serves as board president and founded in 2010 the Foundation for Community Development and Empowerment (FCDE), which operates in East Africa to strengthen the capacity of community-led organizations

 

His commitment to furthering the work of outstanding nonprofits is driven by his personal experiences leading nonprofit organizations, such as the Gathering Place on the Navajo Reservation and the Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD). These roles and his work with the Peace Corps in Papua New Guinea and Bulgaria fueled his commitment to advancing sustainable community development.

 

Eric holds a master’s degree in international management from Thunderbird University and an advanced baccalaureate degree in math from Occidental College. He and Heidi devote their time to helping visionary thinkers build local capacity to lead community change in rural East Africa; and to fostering stewardship, restoration, research, and educational opportunities in central Idaho.

 

 

Fun fact: In his spare time, Eric loves cooking food from the various places he’s traveled; the spicier the better.  

Heidi Younger

Co-Founder and Board Member

Heidi Younger and her husband Eric Younger have worked for 25 years in the U.S. and internationally, supporting community organizations that use sustainable development practices.

 

In 2010, Heidi and her family relocated to Ketchum, Idaho, where she is active in volunteering, fundraising, and philanthropy for area nonprofits. She and Eric co-founded WCP in 2018, and Heidi’s primary goal is to strengthen streambank health along the East Fork of the Salmon River that runs through the Preserve. 

 

Before relocating to Idaho, Heidi worked with health, education, and economic development programs. She directed a Navajo-led home health visiting program for new and expectant mothers, tutored GED students, and worked with area Native American artists to create a nationally distributed catalog of their artwork. In Sofia, Bulgaria, Heidi worked with a gallery that represented local, disabled, minority, and orphaned artisans. She also worked with the International Women’s Club Sofia, which served orphans and institutionally housed disabled individuals.

 

Passionate from a young age about the positive change that one can make  through education and development work, Heidi joined the Peace Corps, serving in Cameroon from 1989 to 1991. Heidi continues to support international development work by serving on the board of FCDE, which operates in East Africa to strengthen the capacity of community-led organizations.

 

Heidi earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Indiana University. She received her master’s degree from Oregon State University’s College of Public Health and Human Services, where she conducted microbiological assessments of water quality in streams throughout Oregon. 

 

Fun fact: Heidi summited Mount Cameroon, the highest peak in West Africa.

Jack Alkire

Attorney and Outdoor Enthusiast

Born and raised in Seattle, Jack Alkire acquired a love of the outdoors at an early age from hiking and skiing with his family and later from mountain climbing in the Pacific Northwest. He is a career attorney who worked in private law firms for more than 25 years, most recently as corporate counsel for privately held manufacturing company Alliance Packaging.

  

Jack first experienced the outdoor splendor of South-Central Idaho in 1958 when at a tender young age, he rode the chairlift up Bald Mountain one 2 °F morning covered in a Sun Valley horse blanket. He survived that early morning ride to develop his love of skiing and Idaho’s mountains. Since that early time, Jack has enjoyed skiing and many other outdoor activities in Idaho, including hiking, cycling, and tennis. 

 

Over the past 20 years, Jack has actively engaged in various environmental conservation initiatives, concentrated mostly in Idaho. Holding a keen interest in the plight of wild salmon in the Pacific Northwest, he sees no reason – social, economic, political, or environmental – why the four Lower Snake River dams should not be removed immediately.

 

Jack earned a law degree from the University of Washington School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in History from Principia College. He and his wife Karen live in Lake Forest Park, near Seattle. Jack still practices law, as he is “afraid to retire.”   

 

 

Fun fact: While Jack confesses to being an attorney, he always asks “normal people” not to hold it against him.

Laird J. Lucas

Founder & Executive Director, Advocates of the West

Laird J. Lucas is the founder and executive director of Advocates of the West, a public interest, nonprofit environmental law firm that protects and defends the West’s natural treasures and wildlife. A leader in environmental litigation for nearly 30 years, Laird possesses a deep understanding of how to achieve ecological conservation, resilience, and sustainable development. 

 

On behalf of Advocates for the West and others, he has won multiple federal and state court decisions over public lands logging, grazing, water quality, endangered species, water rights, and other environmental issues.

 

Before establishing Advocates for the West in 2003, Laird ran the Land and Water Fund of the Rockies’ Idaho office, where he led its focus on public interest environmental law from 1993 to 2003. Earlier, he practiced law with the San Francisco law firm Keker & Brockett. Very early on in his career, Laird clerked for the Hon. William Wayne, Justice of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. 

 

Laird earned a law degree from Yale Law School, a master’s degree in international relations from Yale Graduate School, and a bachelor’s degree in international affairs from Lewis & Clark College. 

 

Fun Fact: Laird became an environmental lawyer because of his passion for whitewater kayaking and rafting.

Paul Hilding

Attorney, Environmental Advocate, Duke Basketball Fan

Paul Hilding is a retired attorney with 35 years of experience in insurance coverage and bad faith law, representing policyholders and testifying as an expert witness on this subject. Also a passionate environmental advocate, Paul has served on the boards of environmental organizations and has provided pro bono legal services in connection with land conservation matters.

 

Paul started his San Diego-based legal career in 1983 as an associate at Higgs Fletcher & Mack. Later, he was an associate and partner with Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison in their San Diego office. Finally, he practiced at his own law firm from 1992 until his retirement in 2018.

 

Paul was the founder and past chairman of the Insurance Coverage/Bad Faith Section of the San Diego County Bar Association and the Carmel Valley Section of the San Diego County Bar Association. He earned a law degree from Duke Law School and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Ohio Wesleyan. To this day, he remains a committed Duke basketball fan. 

 

Paul is an avid hiker, mountain biker, and skier. He enjoys writing short stories and recently completed the first draft of a “cli-fi” novel he intends to revise during the next slow basketball season. 

 

Fun fact:  Paul credits the Duke Basketball team’s poor performance in the early 1980s with enabling him to pay attention to his law studies.