Whitehorse's Jodi Gustafson is creating change in the Yukon.

Photo from Jodi Gustafson.

Photo from Jodi Gustafson.

AGE: 24
HOMETOWN: Whitehorse, Yukon

Using environmental values, passion and commitment, Jodi Gustafson has made a documentary, founded the Yukon Youth Winter Eco-Ball, and helped plan the Northern Forum’s Youth Eco Forum - all of which have inspired countless people along the way.

Jodi grew up in the Yukon in a family that worked in conservation and taught her the importance of caring for the environment from a young age. When she was eight, her dad brought home a duck that had been affected by an oil spill, and she cared for it and tried to bring it back to health. Sadly, the duck passed away in her arms. For Jodi, this was one of those moments helped to shape her future and forge her path towards environmental stewardship.

Not afraid to take risks to educate her community about the effects of climate change in the northern Yukon, Jodi taught herself how to use film equipment and video editing software and created a 50-minute documentary. For this film, Jodi travelled to Qikiqtaruk-Herschel Island Territorial Park and gathered video footage focusing on the impacts of erosion and permafrost reduction in this area. Her documentary highlighted how these environmental changes on Yukon’s northern coastline have affected the way of life of the occupants of the land over time. This documentary was released to a sold out crowd in her hometown of Whitehorse and has been used as a teaching tool in universities worldwide.

Jodi spends a lot of time fostering environmental stewardship within her community and bringing the environmental community together. Jodi and two of her peers founded and organized the highly successful Yukon Youth Winter Eco-Ball that raised money for Yukon’s Conservation Society. This fundraiser also doubled as an education experience for the hundreds of northern youth who learned about ecological principles, and were able to network with environmental and ecological professionals, as well as politicians.

Jodi’s leadership qualities, ability to connect people and create a knowledge sharing environment has led to her many successes to date, and will undoubtedly lead to countless more in the future.

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