Idaho Environmental Forum is an informal, nonprofit, nonpartisan, educational association whose sole mission is to promote serious, cordial, and productive discourse on a broad range of environmental policies affecting Idaho. We take no positions, advocate no causes, and endorse no candidates.
Our goal is simply to provide a forum for dialogue from a range of perspectives.
The pioneering group that would later become IEF began as the Idaho Environmental Professionals Association (IEPA) by hosting its first Lunch Forum on August 21, 1989, at the Boise Cascade Building. IEPA welcomed as its first guest speaker then-Governor Cecil D. Andrus, whose message to the group was:
IEPA later changed its name to the Idaho Environmental Forum (IEF), as interest had grown outside of just environmental professionals.
"I suspect that many of you have come to the same conclusion that I have come to, that we have gone beyond the philosophical questions of whether and how we protect the environment, and we have arrived at the point where we simply must deal with a thoughtful and rational implementation of all those laws we have put on the books over the last two decades." SEE GOVERNOR ANDRUS' FULL REMARKS HERE.
In 1997 IEF held the first Legislative Forecast at the former Adelmann Building (now Capital City Event Center) and invited State Legislators to present on upcoming legislation for the session. Throughout the years, it has widened the field of view, taking on topics involving the U.S. Congress and federal issues on various environmental matters. Also known as the Legislative Gala, it has relocated - first to the Crystal Ballroom in the Hoff Building where it was held for many years before finding its current home at the Zion's Bank Building in 2015. That year was particularly memorable, because it was the worst turn-out to-date, thanks to a Boise visit by President Barack Obama!
In August 2004, IEF decided to introduce another larger-scale event by hosting the first Boise River Conference at Barber Park. Then-Mayor Dave Bieter was the first presenter, giving a speech on the importance of the Boise River to the City of Boise and the Treasure Valley. The Boise River Conference received a positive editorial from the Idaho Statesman (SEE EDITORIAL HERE), and became an annual event for IEF, extending into the afternoon with panel discussions and presentations. Most years conclude with a float down the Boise River to Ann Morrison Park where a BBQ is waiting.
In 2013, IEF welcomed back its first presenter Governor Cecil D. Andrus (then-former) to celebrate its 200th event.
Today, IEF is nearing its 275th event!
WHAT WE DO
IEF achieves its mission by providing opportunities to learn from and engage with environmental experts on varying topics.
Activities include the following:
LUNCH FORUMS - IEF hosts monthly forums in various formats (single-presenter, panel discussions, Q&A opportunities, etc.) that focus on a particular environmental subject matter. Events generally run from 11:45 AM to 1:00 PM, and lunch tickets or sit-in only tickets can be purchased in advance on IEF's website when made available.
LEGISLATIVE FORUM - IEF welcomes policy makers, agency staff, members, and the public to its largest event each January for a variety of presentations and panels surrounding environmental issues relevant to the current Idaho Legislative Session. The Legislative Forum is an afternoon-long event that concludes with a catered social hour. Tickets can be purchased on IEF's website when made available.
BOISE RIVER CONFERENCE - This event began as an opportunity to move the traditional IEF lunch forum in the month of August outside to enjoy the weather and scenery on the Boise River, specifically to focus on water issues in Idaho. Depending on the year, guests may also be treated to a BBQ and/or the opportunity to float the Boise River. Tickets can be purchased on IEF's website when made available.
FORUM SHORTS - IEF's newest project is Forum Shorts, which were created in May of 2020 in an effort to continue to provide important environmental content to IEF supporters during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic when in-person forums could not occur. Forum Shorts are virtual-recorded interviews or presentations running 10-15 minutes on average and cover a broad range of topics.