Wildlife advocate lives his dreams

Frances Moody
Jackson Hole News & Guide
Wednesday, January 21, 2015

SCA Alum Stacy Noland, Communications Director for JH Conservation Alliance

Stacy Noland fell in love with the Pacific Northwest when he was living in Chicago in the 1970s.

Wondering what to read for his second-grade book report, Noland was watching a Looney Tunes episode that mentioned Puget Sound. That was when he decided to read about the ocean inlet and its surrounding region.

“I had this vision of Native Americans and salmon swimming upstream and big trees,” he said. “I had a vision of living in Seattle one d

Thirteen years later Noland’s dream came to fruition when he moved to the city that is home to Pike Place, the Space Needle and the Fremont Troll.

Fresh out of college, he immediately took a job with the Washington Public Interest Research Group.

Noland’s work with WashPIRG led to a lifelong compassion for nature and wildlife, a compassion that brought him to Wyoming in October. He is now the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance’s communications director.

Noland can trace his passion back to one moment in 1989, which was a year of transitions for him and the rest of the world.

“It was the year of the Exxon Valdez oil spill,” he said. “It was the year of the Tiananmen Square uprising, the destruction of the Berlin Wall and dismantling of the Soviet Union. It was a really huge time for change. Old models for doing things were being thrown out the window.”

The Exxon Valdez spill hit close to home for Noland. An estimated 10 million gallons of crude oil spilled in Prince William Sound, Alaska. WashPIRG required Noland to travel to the location of the disaster.

“When I saw a sea otter swimming in oil I personally made a commitment to be an advocate for the environment,” Noland said. “We were in a boat cruising out toward the oil spill. We went from aqua-blue water to this black gook. It was like something out of a horror movie.”

Keeping his goal of environmental advocacy in mind, Noland decided he also needed to pursue other ambitions.

He left WashPIRG to attend graduate school at the University of Washington. While studying psychology he worked at the Pike Place Fish Market, which was where he found his next career.

Noland often befriended customers. One client got him employment at the Student Conservation Association, an organization that recruits teens to take part in environmental projects.

Noland said the Student Conservation Association allowed him to use his psychology and environmental advocacy skills. By understanding how young adults think, he was able to reach out to future conservationists.