Caroline Byrd, MS 1988
Making the Greater Yellowstone Coalition Even Greater!
Caroline grew up in West Los Angeles. Her parents emigrated there from England. She came to Montana on a UC Santa Cruz (where she did her undergrad degree) field quarter to study bighorn sheep in 1978. That's when she fell in love with the Northern Rockies. After spending many years in Missoula, she currently lives in Bozeman.
For the last seven years, Caroline has been the Executive Director of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition (GYC). At the onset of 2020, with GYC in great shape and with a remarkable team of staff and board, she decided it was time for her next adventure.
These days Caroline says she is passionate about seeing the environmental/conservation movement move forward and be more important to more people. “Instead of being stuck in a backward looking, exclusive, white, male perspective. How do we make the conservation movement more relevant and much more inclusive?”
“Leading GYC has been a profound and fantastic challenge—both stretching and rewarding. I’ve loved it!” says Caroline. “It’s been exciting to make the organization more successful and build a great team. GYC is a strategic and effective organization for the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and the larger Northern Rockies. I’m really proud of our work to pass the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act and stop two gold mines on the doorstep of Yellowstone National Park. What I’m going to do next is take a deep breath before embarking on my next endeavor.” In preparation, Caroline has set up SeaBird Strategies to consult in conservation strategy, leadership and funding.
What Others Are Saying:
"I have been so fortunate to know Caroline," says Jim Berkey, High Divide Headwaters Program Director for The Nature Conservancy and an EVST alum. "She somehow skillfully managed to be a strong boss, mentor, colleague, and friend and confidant to me—all at the same time. Though not as connected once she moved to Bozeman, I hear and believe stories of how effective she was in moving GYC from a “one dimensional” advocacy NGO to a more complex and effective community-based conservation NGO that could build more effective alliances across divides to help find significant lasting solutions. She is one of the most effective bridge-building activists I have ever met. Countless times, I’ve witnessed her blending her sharp legal and analytical command of an issue with a warm-hearted and open-minded approach that builds connections with adversaries and facilitates meaningful solutions on seemingly intractable issues. Caroline is a bad ass—attorney, mountaineer, mom, activist, leader, tireless advocate for nature, friend, foe—you name it and she is a bad ass.
What Caroline Says About EVST:
“The impact that EVST has had regionally, nationally and internationally is amazing!” says Caroline, “the program helps you find your strengths and passions. For me it was large landscape conservation, grizzly bears and women’s leadership. I’m devoted to the EVST program. It was life changing for me—creative thinking with on the ground skills.”