The Emerging Conservationist Award
Kylie Paul - 2021
Kylie Paul’s outstanding work in wildlife advocacy and stewardship was recognized fairly early in her career. Specializing in road ecology, policy, and habitat connectivity, her accomplishments include a wide range of projects focused on benefiting wildlife through citizen science and communication. Kylie’s work has included various field technician projects across the country, consulting for a road ecology firm, and organizing volunteers for wildlife monitoring programs.
As an Environmental Studies graduate student at the University of Montana, Kylie’s thesis focused on the value of citizen science in the study of wildlife activity and wildlife-vehicle conflicts along highways. On a stretch of Highway 3 in Alberta, Canada, she compared the live animal observations of 24 volunteers to data collected more systematically, and the results were published in the journal Environmental Management in 2014. As a result, several measures were implemented to help protect wildlife and drivers on that highway.
In 2010, Kylie formed the People’s Way Partnership and served as its outreach coordinator, evaluating and communicating the conservation value of wildlife crossings and mitigation structures along US Highway 93 in the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Reservation.
As the Rockies and Plains representative for Defenders of Wildlife, she formed a Wolverine Watchers coalition in partnership with the Bitterroot National Forest. From 2015 to 2019, volunteers collected data using wildlife cameras at over 20 baited hair snare stations. Results helped inform projects on the forest, and data was used in other studies including a transboundary wolverine population genetics meta-analysis.
Kylie also worked as a wildlife biologist for the MPG Ranch in the Bitterroot valley, creating a game-camera network of 100-cameras on that private research ranch.
While employed by Missoula County’s Parks, Trails, and Open Lands program, Kylie helped the Missoula County Commissioners send comments to the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest Service in support of the Great Burn Recommended Wilderness along the Montana-Idaho Stateline.
Kylie has served on several citizen advisory councils throughout her career. She was a citizen member of the Environmental Quality Council, an interim legislative committee with oversight over the state’s departments of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Environmental Quality, and Natural Resources and Conservation. Kylie serves on the Montana FWP’s Region 2 Citizen Advisory Committee. She helped found the Montanans for Safe Wildlife Passage coalition in 2011, a coalition now working as part of the Montana Wildlife and Transportation Partnership with FWP and Montana Department of Transportation to implement wildlife crossing projects proposed by partner groups.
At the time of this writing, Kylie works for the Center for Large Landscape Conservation as a road ecologist, working to advance the development and implementation of wildlife-friendly transportation policies and projects. In 2021, she was recognized for her diverse and effective efforts with the Montana Conservation Roundtable’s Emerging Conservationist of the Year Award.
Kylie’s passion and dedication gives hope to a more positive future for Montana’s wildlife and open lands, and provides an inspiring example to a new generation of conservationists.
Biography by Kalle Fox