Idaho’s natural beauty has made the state one of the fastest growing in the nation, its population increasing from 1.3 million to two million since the year 2000. While the newcomers – and even long-time residents – may be avid enthusiasts of the landscape and waterways, they don’t always know what it takes to protect the long-term health of Idaho’s natural environment. As ambassadors for the state, Idaho REALTORS® has created Your Idaho: A Stewardship Guidebook, a resource that welcomes newcomers and informs them about safeguarding Idaho’s natural resources for future generations. Grants from the REALTOR® Party helped make it possible.
The eye-catching 53-page volume was the vision of 2023 President Denise Lundy, inspired by a pamphlet called the Good Neighbor Handbook, which she acquired years ago from a community where she’d purchased property. “Shortly after closing, I received it in the mail from the local conservancy organization. It was very informative, the tone made me feel like a valued community member, and its impact stuck with me,” she says. Lundy had long thought that the REALTORS® could achieve something similar, in inviting others to understand the privilege and responsibility of being an Idahoan and owning land in the Gem State. “Idaho REALTORS® care deeply about their communities and want to be a part of solutions for the future of Idaho. People moving to Idaho want to know about their water source, wild land, and wildlife habitat, and how to recreate responsibly, given that 63% of the state is public lands,” she notes, adding, “Nearly 100% of the state’s real estate licensees are REALTORS®, which makes us uniquely positioned to spread the word about conservation: a REALTOR® is face-to-face with the buyer at nearly every property purchase. As President, I was motivated to bring this project to fruition, and fortunate to have an incredibly talented group of members, staff, and resources from NAR to help make it happen.”
In creating the guidebook, the REALTORS® collaborated with the University of Idaho Extension Office and state agencies such as the Department of Lands, Parks and Recreation, the Department of Water Resources, and multiple conservation organizations. Lundy worked with a select team of REALTOR® volunteers from around the state, as well as the Idaho REALTORS® CEO and Communications Director, in the writing process. The guidebook is welcoming and informative, covering rural issues from water rights and usage to invasive species, fire safety, and mitigating light pollution. “Our goal was to provide the kind of high-level awareness that plants the seeds of stewardship and addresses the things we can all agree on, like clean water, healthy land, and being good neighbors,” says Lundy. “We were also fortunate to have a member who is a very talented photographer donate most of the book’s photos. Her stunning images of Idaho powerfully illustrate Idaho’s beauty and natural elements that are worthy of safeguarding.”
A Rural Outreach Grant from the REALTOR® Party supported the book’s professional design and an initial print run of 500 copies. Members and local associations can have it printed on demand, including a branded back cover; with its soft-touch finish, foil appliqué, and coffee-table format, the guidebook makes an impressive but inexpensive closing gift or leave-behind. For even simpler reference and sharing, a PDF and an online version are available on the Idaho REALTORS®’ website and forms platforms. “We are so grateful to the REALTOR® Party grant programs that enabled us to deliver this resource to our members,” says Lundy. “They are a tremendous way to leverage contributions to the community, and the application process is easy; you can call the team at every step along the way, and they’ll help ensure your project’s success.”
Lundy has received calls from members she has never met, expressing appreciation for the guidebook. She has spotted it on the coffee tables of clients and desks of colleagues, and the state’s lieutenant governor requested copies for his office. Beyond the information it contains and its marketing value for members, she points out that the project solidified the REALTORS®’ relationships with state and local agencies and elected officials. “The distribution of the guidebook reinforces the REALTORS®’ role as a trusted source on all thing’s real estate in Idaho. It has helped us present a united voice on policy issues, elevate our value to the consumer beyond our role in transactions, and partner in solutions for the state’s continued growth.”
To learn more about how Idaho REALTORS® is leading the way in promoting stewardship of the state’s natural resources, contact Idaho REALTORS® at 800.621.7553. To see the guidebook, visit https://idahorealtors.com/stewardship/