February 21, 2023

Hank Shell: 2023 Wyss Scholar with a Passion for Public Land Issues on the Colorado Plateau

Hank Shell (’24) was selected as one of two 2023 Lewis & Clark Wyss Scholars to focus on public land issues on the Colorado Plateau with Earthjustice’s Rocky Mountain office in summer of 2023.

Hank traces his interest in the natural world to early years spent living with his grandparents while his own mother attended law school. His grandmother indulged his interest in ecology by funding countless terrarium-building projects, and his grandfather taught him to fly fish. Outdoor recreation has been the touchstone of his interest in conservation ever since. After graduating from Appalachian State University with a degree in journalism, Hank moved to Grand County, Colorado, home of the Colorado River headwaters. As a journalist for the local newspaper, he covered a range of environmental issues including transmountain water diversion projects. The tangible impacts of these projects on the rivers he loved to fish sparked his interest in protecting wild places.

Since coming to law school, Hank has volunteered with the Northwest Environmental Defense Center’s Public Lands & Wildlife group and served as a volunteer source checker for Animal Law Review. He is currently a member and the 2023–24 Symposium Editor of Environmental Law; a clinical student with Earthrise Law Center, Lewis & Clark’s environmental litigation clinic; and a law clerk for Friends of the Columbia Gorge, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the scenic, natural, cultural, and recreational resources of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. He will spend summer 2023 as a law clerk for Earthjustice’s Rocky Mountain office, where he looks forward to working on public lands issues on the Colorado Plateau.

In his precious free time, Hank can be found running muddy trails in southwest Portland, cleaning moss off his sport climbing projects at Broughton Bluff, or ski touring around the Cascades with friends; his passion for protecting public lands is dwarfed only by his passion for sharing them with others. His favorite national forest is the San Juan National Forest in southwest Colorado. His favorite BLM lands lie off Utah State Route 211, in a remote desert valley called Indian Creek.

Lewis & Clark Law School was selected in 2017 to be part of the Wyss Scholars Program. Funded by the Wyss Foundation, a private, charitable foundation dedicated to land conservation, the Wyss Scholars Program seeks to identify and support a new generation of leaders focused on land conservation issues. The selected Lewis & Clark Scholars will receive a $5,000 stipend for qualifying work in their 2L summer, a contribution towards tuition during 3L year, and two post- graduate payments if they are working in a qualifying position. Lewis & Clark is one of only a few law schools in the country selected for this program.

Elijah Savage (’24) is the other Wyss Scholar for 2023.