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Introducing New SVS Executive Director, Toni Ruth

Exciting news here at Salmon Valley Stewardship: Toni Ruth will step in as executive director of SVS this fall. Gina Knudson, who has been with SVS since 2006, will be the new collaboration specialist at the Salmon-Challis National Forest beginning in October.

Toni Ruth, courtesy of OpenView Photography

Since 2005, Ruth has served on the Board of Directors of SVS as a founding member, secretary, treasurer, and most recently, Board President. Having served in this capacity, Ruth will bring a smooth transition to the organization, whose mission is to promote economic sustainability and a healthy environment in the Salmon River Valley.

“It’s with great honor that I step into the role of Executive Director and I look forward to putting my strengths to work for Salmon Valley Stewardship. I am deeply committed to SVS’s core values, mission, and our community and I plan on building upon what our previous Executive Director, Gina Knudson, accomplished for us. I’m extremely excited about working with our incredible staff, board of directors, and our community to guide our organization forward.”

Ruth holds a Ph.D in wildlife biology from the University of Idaho, and is in the final stages of completing a book, Yellowstone Cougars: Ecology Before and During Wolf Restoration, encompassing 15 years of research. She has lived in Salmon since 2005 and worked seasonally for Idaho Department of Fish and Game and as the High Divide Coordinator for Backcountry Hunters and Anglers since November 2014. She has worked as a biologist in the non-profit sector for over 20 years.

Knudson said, “My time at Salmon Valley Stewardship has been a highlight of not just my career, but my life. At a time when civil dialogue seems missing at the national level, the people of Lemhi County have managed to tackle tough issues and find common sense solutions that benefit both the community and this amazing landscape.”

“The idea that the Salmon-Challis National Forest would hire someone specifically to work on collaboration shows me how far we’ve come,” she added. “Not only do I leave SVS in the capable hands of Toni, a wonderful staff and dedicated board members, but I get to continue to work on public lands issues that are so important to me, my friends and family, and my neighbors. Win-win.”

Ella Deutchman, Salmon Valley Stewardship’s vice-president, noted, “Gina and Toni have been working together since 2006 with the common goal of building Salmon Valley Stewardship into an organization that promotes realistic, sustainable solutions to the tough issues that we face as a community.  Their combined efforts have resulted in a phenomenal organization.  I was invited to sit on the Board of Directors in 2013, an opportunity I enthusiastically accepted.   While I know that SVS will feel the loss of Gina, I cannot think of a more uniquely qualified person to tackle the job at the Salmon-Challis National Forest.  Likewise, SVS is fortunate to have an extremely qualified person to take on Gina’s legacy.  Toni has the experience and the vision to step into Gina’s shoes and continue the mission for SVS.  I feel extremely grateful to work with this organization.”

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