Our Conservation Champions

Anne Zabala came from a largely a-political family.

Politics was just something they didn’t really discuss. Then she went to college at the University of Idaho. She was a sophomore in Moscow when the battle over the Luna Laws raged. Then she became active.

“The mentors and relationships I developed during that time were incredibly important to my formative years,” she said. And after victory against the Luna Laws, Zabala had a life-changing epiphany.

“I realized I could make a difference.”

Emboldened and empowered, Zabala sought other issues that she could pour her energy behind. She didn’t have to look far.

“Our public lands and our outdoor heritage are huge selling points for the state,” she said. “It’s one of the best things about living in Idaho, and why many young people—including myself—love it here and choose to stay.”

Meanwhile, Idaho politicians were working to seize public lands for special interests. Zabala looked for opportunities where she could get involved and make a difference; she found Conservation Voters for Idaho. Working with CVI, Zabala was part of a field program that recruited other young people to work around the state in districts identified by CVI. Now she was doing the mentoring while teaching other canvassers CVI’s mission, and theory of change.

“(CVI) is such an important resource,” she said. “It’s the catalyst for understanding conservation policy and its impact on the state.”

Her work was rewarded when several pro-conservation candidates were elected to the Legislature. But it was also rewarded in knowing she was part of a bigger movement; a movement that fought against the loss of Idaho’s cherished public lands.

Zabala was also passionate about other conservation issues, such as making Moscow a more pedestrian and bicycle friendly city. But when she looked at the Moscow City Council, she didn’t feel it was a priority.

So this year she ran to bring that perspective to the council. And she won.

When Zabala joins the Moscow City Council in January 2018, she will be the youngest member and a strong voice for conservation. She says CVI has been an important part of her work to make Idaho an even better place to live, and something she will never forget.

“Having that support network,” she said, “and having that resource while working for the same cause is incredible.”

We think Anne is pretty incredible too. We look forward to working with her on the Moscow City Council to support pro-conservation policies at the local level.