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Sun Valley Forum Offers Free Attractions to Inspire Change
Thursday, July 18, 2019


The fifth annual Sun Valley Forum, which will run Tuesday through Friday, July 23-26, is attracting an army of change makers from all over the globe.

More than 200 people have already registered—the biggest number of participants yet. They include national and international leaders and innovators in investment, government, business, entertainment and other fields from as far away as the Netherlands, Switzerland, New Zealand, the Ecuadoran Amazon  and even Guam.

“They’ll be sharing strategies and solutions we can all learn from,” said Aimee Christensen, who founded the Forum in the wake of the 2013 Beaver Creek Fire and other threats to Sun Valley’s quality of life.  “They’re people who are rebuilding Puerto Rico, saving whales and training grandmothers across India and Southeast Asia to help save our world.”

The conference, which will be held for the first time at the Argyros Performing Arts Center in Ketchum, offers a handful of free opportunities designed to inspire even those who can’t attend the sessions.

  • Conservation International will have 10 virtual reality headsets from 11 a.m. Tuesday, July 23 to 5 p.m. Thursday, July 25, at the Limelight Hotel Lobby.

    One virtual reality journey follows a fisherman-turned coral reef scientist as he monitors the reefs with his son. Another takes a journey to Kenya where viewers will stand in the midst of a thundering wildebeest migration, go nose-to-trunk with an inquisitive baby elephant and witness a lioness snatch her prey.

    A third will take viewers down a 200-foot Ceiba tree, paddling downriver past three-toed sloths and a 15-foot anaconda as they view conservation efforts in the Amazon.

    “It’s an incredible way to experience places you haven’t been and the creatures that inhabit those places,” said Christensen.

  • Idaho National Laboratory will have innovative vehicles available to tour at Forest Service Park.
  • Benjamin Von Wong has donated art for an Art Auction in the Argyros Lobby. The Forum is reprinting the art on 2-by-3-foot metal pieces and money raised from the sale will fund Haitians collecting plastic, which will be used by companies like Hewlett-Packard to source plastic waste for print cartridges and other products. It’s a win-win, creating jobs for impoverished communities and preventing plastic pollution, said Christensen.
  • A free screening of “The Biggest Little Farm” will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 24, at The Argyros. The beautifully photographed film by Academy Award-winning director John Chester chronicles the eight-year quest of himself and his wife to turn a foreclosed hardpan farm into 200 acres of beautiful productivity by implementing old-fashioned farm methods.

    The result: A place where nature works to provides checks and balances without the use of pesticides-- from the geese that eat the snails to the hawks that keep other birds from ravaging the fruit. It has the heart of a “Lassie” movie with incredible close-ups of snails and more.


    It’s a must for anyone who cares about where our food comes from—and everyone else, too.

  • Sarah Kauss and S’well is donating a thousand S’well reusable bottles as part of a fundraising campaign to end single-use plastic in the Wood River Valley. The initiative is part of the company’s Million Bottle Project to eliminate the use of 100 million water bottles by 2020.

At the Forum it will be used as part of a call to action to eradicate plastic pollution.

This year’s speakers include David Gelber, co-creator of “Years of Living Dangerously” and Ed Bradley’s producer at “60 Minutes” for 25 years, and Peter Horton, actor on “thirtysomething,” Golden Globe winner for “Grey’s Anatomy,” and director of “New Amsterdam,” which deals with everything from racial profiling to climate change. Also, Louie Psihoyos, the executive director of the Ocean Preservation Society and filmmaker for “Racing Extinction” and “The Cove.”

There’ll be two working lunches--one on building rural resilience and another on oceans, Islands and coasts. Innovation Laboratories will focus on transforming energy and food and agriculture.

This year’s Forum will also feature the first ever Youth Forum, which is bringing in young people who are rallying other young people across the globe and even taking part in lawsuits to try to mitigate the threat of climate change.

“These youth will show us how it’s done through their fearless leadership and ability to take ownership of our future,” said Christensen.

It’s not difficult to lure some of the world’s top change makers, said Christensen.

“They want to come because we offer a variety of ways for them to collaborate with others and be part of a community—they even find each other over meals and on whitewater rafting trips. And it’s Sun Valley. People love coming to our beautiful place. And they’re excited about what we’re working to do here.”

The Forum kicks off at 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 23. Forum sessions run through 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 25 with a closing celebration at Galena Lodge and an Adventure Day on Friday.

Tickets are available online until Monday, July 22. They will be available at The Argyros July 23 through 26.

Locals who can’t attend the entire forum can avail themselves of day passes or passes good for all the sessions but not the meals, which will feature local, organic ingredients. Discounts are available for educators and non-profit employees. And scholarships are available for those who cannot afford all or part of a pass.

For more information, visit


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