Joselin Matkins

Joselin Matkins was a force of nature, unstoppable, unforgettable, a strong woman who moved mountains with the strength of her passion and intellect and the warmth of her smile and kindness to others. Joselin gave our region a lifetime of conservation achievement in a life tragically ended at age 42. Joselin’s legacy is thousands of acres of private land protected forever for nature and people and numerous effective conservation organizations strengthened by her leadership and example.

A southeast Idaho native, Joselin found her passion early on as an intern at the Wood River Land Trust in Hailey, Idaho. After completing her MS degree at Oregon State University in study of nutrient cycling in forested riparian systems, she began her formal land trust career as the Stewardship Director of the Placer Land Trust of northern California. From there Joselin became the first Executive Director of the Sagebrush Steppe Land Trust in Pocatello, Idaho, where she gave a fledgling organization full flight. In 2013, Joselin moved to the Teton Regional Land Trust, first as Land Protection Director, and since 2015, as Executive Director.

It was Joselin’s “heartfelt belief that protecting nature protects and heals humanity” as well. Joselin worked to keep conservation work relevant to local people, to connect people to nature while also sustaining nature and productive working lands.  Joselin demonstrated her passionate belief in the curative power of nature through creation of the annual Greater Yellowstone Sandhill Crane Festival to celebrate the migratory staging of cranes in Teton Valley, her efforts to restore trumpeter swan nesting in the valley, and her enduring commitment to protection of nature from the complex microcosm of vernal pools to landscape connectivity across the entire Northern Rockies.

Joselin was vigorously committed to building the conservation capacity needed to protect natural landscapes. She served as the initial Board Chair of the Idaho Coalition of Land Trusts for six years, and more recently as Board Chair of the Heart of the Rockies Initiative, an international partnership of 25 land trusts. A nationally recognized voice for conservation, Joselin served on the Land Trust Alliance’s national Land Trust Leadership Council. Joselin was also committed to community. In 2020 the Community Foundation of Teton Valley awarded Joselin the Dawn Banks Nonprofit Leadership Award in recognition of her leadership excellence, her numerous partnerships with other organizations and her service on the boards of multiple local community organizations.

Joselin brought awareness, passion, and wisdom far beyond her years to her conservation leadership. Her love of nature and community was in her bones, the authenticity of her commitment evident in all her actions. Joselin was fully aware of the global threats to all that we strive to protect, climate change, the extinction crisis. With hopefulness, Joselin intentionally built landscape resilience, one project at a time. We can find Joselin in the present tense, there in the sunlight on the Teton River, in the calls of swans and cranes, in the laughter of our gatherings, a uniquely sparkling vein of kindness that she shared with many. Today our loss is heavy, but Joselin illuminated the path forward. We carry on.

– Michael Whitfield, May 2020

Photo credits: Teton Regional Land Trust