Readers’ Choice: Best Executive Director Joseph Vaile, KS Wild
For the past three weeks, The Messenger has conducted a survey of its readers, asking for opinions about their favorite nonprofits—and about the people who make those organizations work. More than 50 different nonprofits and their representatives were individually nominated—broadly, an indication about how many people and organizations are doing important work in the region.
KS Wild tied with KSKQ for the Best Regional Nonprofit, and Joseph Vaile also tied for Best Executive Director. For almost the past two decades, KS Wild has worked to preserve wild spaces in southern Oregon, most recently working with elected officials and a local rancher to expand Oregon Caves National Monument to include the surrounding watershed, effectively growing the protected area from 400 to 4000 acres.
Vaile has worked at KS Wild for the past 16 years—nearly the entire span of the organization’s existence—and for nearly the past three years, has served as the organization’s Executive Director.
“If I could travel back 16 years ago,” he says, “I would remind myself how partnerships are critically important.” He goes on, “Of course, it is always easier to do things alone. It is the most efficient way to operate when you don’t have to check in, have debates about strategy, and sit through seemingly endless meetings. However, the most lasting and effective campaigns that I have worked on have involved many groups, tons of meetings, and hundreds of people. It is often messy and unpredictable, and it takes so much time. But, it’s often the only way to truly create real and lasting change.”
That sense of community, points out Vaile, is also what makes the region so effective in enacting positive social change. “We have a rich tapestry of non-profits, businesses, and community leaders building a new relationship to the natural world and to each other,” he points out. “KS Wild works to protect clean water, wildlife and wild areas, but we don’t do it alone,” Vaile adds. “Local businesses are working to build alternative energy. Farmers are bringing local food and medicine to our tables. Numerous non-profits are working for social justice, feeding people that need a meal, striving to provide better access to health and well-being and creating new education models for our kids.”
To learn more about KS Wild, or volunteer, contact Jeanine Moy at Jeanine@KSWild.org.