Sitka Conservation Society 2021 Calendar (2020 Annual Report)

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2021 CALENDAR SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY 2020 ANNUAL REPORT


OUR MISSION The Sitka Conservation Society protects the natural environment of the Tongass National Forest while supporting the development of sustainable communities within Southeast Alaska.

TABLE OF CONTENTS 01 02 03 04 06 09

Letter from the SCS Board President The Living Wilderness Fund, Honoring Jack Ozment Honoring the Life of Richard Nelson Letter from the SCS Executive Director Donors and Partners, Financial Report Starting a Local Movement for a Sustainable Future

11 13 15 17 19 21

The Future of Alaskan Travel, Guided by Indigenous Values Adapting with Gratitude through the Four H’s Documenting the Cultural Value of Cedar on the Tongass Seedlings of Change in Tongass Forest Management

A Just Transition for Alaska Tribes Petition for a New Rulemaking Process

23 25 27 29 31 32

Generational Dependence on the Salmon Forest Honoring Our SCS Legacies Mitigating Climate Change with Local Solutions Working Together for Food Security & Community Health Relationships First: Values of True Partnerships Together, We Are SCS: SCS Staff and Board

Cover photo: Sunset from Harbor Mountain © Bethany Goodrich Photography. Above: Aerial Tongass © Lione Clare Photography. Left Top to Bottom L-R: Waterfall © AlaskanGrace Photography, Blueberries © Bethany Goodrich Photography, Skunk cabbage © Ryan Morse, Chinook salmon being gaffed © Bethany Goodrich Photography, Opposite Top to Bottom: Sitka aerial shot © Ryan Morse, Kayakers in the West Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness Area © Lione Clare Photography, Lush ferns © Bethany Goodrich Photography, A hot salmon meal at a Sitka Mutual Aid event © Bethany Goodrich Photography.


SUPPORTING THE HEALTH OF OUR COMMUNITIES A LETTER FROM THE SCS BOARD PRESIDENT Dear Friends, Southeast Alaska is truly unlike anywhere else. Here in

properties and also cause a mild anesthetic effect on

the Tongass, on the homelands of the Tlingit, Haida, and

humans that can cause our nervous systems to relax. Our

Tshimian people, we are fortunate to have such a mean-

well-being is deeply connected with the natural world.

ingful connection to the land. Whether we depend on the

As SCS continues its mission to protect the environment

forests and waters to harvest wild foods, catch fish, rec-

of the Tongass and strengthen the sustainable communi-

reate outside, or practice our culture, we understand how

ties within it, a key focus of our work this year has been

incredible this place is, and in turn, why stewardship of

supporting the health of our community. When COVID-

this place is so important.

19 arrived, SCS mobilized to serve the community in new

This year I accepted the exciting opportunity to be the

ways, establishing the Sitka Mutual Aid Network. We also

President of the Sitka Conservation Society Board. I have

took on the important role of ensuring our youth had

had the gift of living in Sitka for 28 years and being

access to healthy and consistent nutrition this summer,

involved with the healthcare of individuals and the

through the Summer Food Service Program and Sitka

community. Through my involvement with SCS, I can

Summer Breakfast Program. Through local to regional to

encourage the bridge between the health of our environ-

state partnerships, we have been able to work together to

ment and the intimate links between the health, people,

solve problems; creating unity, instead of division.

and society we live in.

I want to thank you all for the support and contri-

Research has scientifically proven what Indigenous

butions you have given to SCS. From Sitka 4-H to the

Peoples have known since time immemorial: that our rela-

Sustainable Southeast Partnership, community is what

tionship with the land is interdependent; our own health

keeps us vibrant and growing so we can continue our mis-

is dependent on the environment, and the health of the

sion in Southeast Alaska. Our work echoes out beyond our

environment is now dependent on us. It has been shown

communities, enabling and sponsoring change through-

that beneficial chemical compounds are put into the air as

out the world.

aerosols by Spruce trees. These compounds can be so powerful, some are used in chemotherapy. Pinenes, an example of a chemical compound found in nature, boast antibiotic

— Debra Brushafer, Incoming SCS Board President SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 1


THE LIVING WILDERNESS FUND

ENSURING A VOICE FOR THE WILDERNESS

ness designation for West Chichagof. The Fund was made to honor the founders of the Sitka Conservation Society and all those who have become a core part of who we are. The best way that we can celebrate their lives is by continuing the work they began and carrying on the wilderness legacy they carefully crafted for us. When Spencer Severson and Judi Lehmann stepped

Over fifty years ago, the Sitka Conservation Society's

down from our Board of Directors in 2020, they were both

founders banded together to do the impossible—they

added to the LWF Honor Board. Spencer and Judi have

stood up against the status quo and sought to pro-

both given so much to the Sitka Conservation Society

tect a huge swath of coastal temperate rainforest from

throughout their years on the board. We will be eternally

the ravages of industrial logging. Inspired by the

grateful for all of the work they have done to protect the

recently passed Wilderness Act of 1964, they began

Tongass for future generations.

the first citizen-initiated Wilderness proposal in Alaska.

The Living Wilderness Fund functions as an endow-

After over a decade of fighting for the land they loved, our

ment, which will ensure long-term support for Sitka

founders’ vision was realized with the creation of the

Conservation Society’s wilderness advocacy and steward-

West Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness Area.

ship work. Gifts have been made to the Living Wilderness

The Living Wilderness Fund was created to ensure that

Fund through inheritances, as stock donations, in honor

there will always be a voice to advocate for the protection

of others, and simply as donations to support the wilder-

of Wilderness in Southeast Alaska. When our founders

ness of Southeast Alaska. We have tremendous gratitude

worked to protect this land, they had future generations

for all who gave donations to the Living Wilderness Fund

in mind. We are continually striving to provide the next

this year—especially the gifts made in honor of Richard

generations with the same opportunities that we now

Nelson and Jack Ozment who both recently passed away.

have to experience the wilderness of Southeast Alaska.

The work that we do with this support will carry their val-

We are eternally grateful to be building on all of the hard

ues, ideals, spirit, and memory in perpetuity.

The Living Wilderness Fund is at $964,474 1.5 MILLION GOAL Fund supports the entire wilderness advocacy program.

1 MILLION GOAL

Fund supports a fulltime staff position.

500K GOAL

Accomplished! Fund supports a part-time staff position.

work that our founders poured into achieving the Wilder-

Jack Ozment was on the board of the Sitka Conservation

Sitkans—he helped show that in Southeast Alaska, con-

Society for over 15 years. He passed away in the fall of

servation necessarily goes hand-in-hand with economic

2019, and he is survived by his wife Judy. Together Jack

prosperity. When Jack was elected to the Sitka Assembly

and Judy were incredibly active within Sitka's commu-

in the mid-2000s, he was only the second conservation

nity—as volunteers and contributors to a wide range of

voice ever elected in Sitka. Jack served as the SCS Board

community organizations and activities. They exemplified

President for over five years and was a member of the

civic values and involvement in our democracy. Jack and

Climate Action Plan Committee with the City of Sitka.

Judy worked to ensure that the United States of America exemplified the ideals we all want our country to hold.

HONORING JACK OZMENT

Jack and Judy Ozment have been honored by the Sitka Conservation Society on our Living Wilderness Celebra-

Jack engaged in environmentalism in a very down-to-

tion board in the SCS office. Jack exemplified dignity,

earth and pragmatic manner. He held a profound love

civility, charity, and dedication in all that he did. He is

of the natural world and was always guided by a strong

missed dearly.

and deep drive to do what is right. Jack helped bridge a gap between SCS members and more business-oriented


HONORING THE LIFE OF

RICHARD NELSON

Below: Richard Nelson © Ben Hamilton, Wild Agency. Opposite page Top to Bottom: Cornorants and seagulls on the rocky Southeast Alaskan coastline © Bethany Goodrich Photography, Jack Calvin catching a salmon (photo provided by the Calvin family). Living Wilderness Fund logo print by Nancy Behnken.

"When I came here, it was literally love at first sight. It was just like when you fall in love with another person... The heart pounding excitement is much the same, I think, when a place takes ahold of you as when you meet that person that you fall in love with."

Richard Nelson passed away on November 4, 2019 and our community lost a spark of light. Nels had been on the SCS board for over four decades. He shaped our organization and, for many of us, the deeply held personal values and ideals that guide our commitment to engaging with and protecting the lands of Southeast Alaska. Nels found and gave joy at every possible moment, shar-

When Nels first came to Sitka, he fell in love with our

currents of the North Pacific in each salmon we eat. Nels

lands and waters, a love so strong that he decided to

showed us that we are made from the same soil, water,

He spent his life developing his connection with and

move here. His profound love for this place fueled his

and air as every other living creature – all intertwined in

understanding of the natural world. We are lucky that

passion and dedication to its ongoing protection. Time

the incredible cycle of life. We are forever grateful to Nels

he freely shared his knowledge with everyone around

and time again, Nels stood up to defend these lands and

for showing us how interconnected we are with the land,

him—in his writing, radio programs, public forums, and

waters from misguided human actions.

for putting words to the beauty that we can find in that,

ing his light with all around him.

everyday conversations with friends and neighbors.

But he did not see the forest as a wilderness to be vis-

and for demanding that this sacred connection be main-

Nels first came to Alaska as a cultural anthropologist.

ited and left behind. Instead, he intimately understood

tained for generations upon generations to come.

He lived in remote indigenous communities where he

that we, the people of Southeast Alaska and planet earth,

We miss Nels dearly and will for a long time to come.

learned and documented how the Koyukon Athabas-

are not separated from nature but rather a small part of

Nels was always able to articulate what we felt, what

can, Gwich’in, and Iñupiak people live with their natural

the giant organism we know as Earth.

we needed to rise up and do, and the core values and

world. He was known for his utmost respect of indige-

Nels taught us to feel the forest coursing through our

ideals that are who we all are as a Sitka Conservation

nous communities and Indigenous knowledge. This time

veins while we feast upon Sitka black-tailed deer and to let

Society. We know that Nels is still with us—in the for-

shaped his understanding of the ways that people can

that connection bring us joy. Nels taught us to experience

ests, on the water, and in the hearts of all who were

best live in conjunction with the natural world.

the journey of a salmon from a mountain stream into the

touched by his life. SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 3


RISING TO CHALLENGES, NEW AND OLD A LETTER FROM THE SCS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR 2020 is a year we won’t be forgetting anytime soon. A global pandemic, nationwide protests for racial justice, and catastrophic forest fires across the Pacific Northwest and world have taken hold of the conversation. It can be easy to treat many of this year’s challenges as random events – economic uncertainty, a crisis of racism, and climate change – yet they are all linked by systemic inequality, where those who are most vulnerable and disenfranchised are the most at-risk. As our country’s systems are pushed to their limits, we are seeing how weak we are when distracted by division, distrustful of science, and when we think we are immune from the natural laws that govern all life on earth. 2020 warned us that we must wake up and change our ways. Here in Southeast Alaska, it’s easy to recognize how fortunate we are to be a part of such tight-knit communities and a way of life so closely intertwined with living responsibly on the land. The lands and waters of the Tongass National Forest give us hope, help us find solace and well-being, and provide us abundant natural resources that feed and fuel the people that live in this region. At the same time, our remote, rural lifestyle is accompanied by the many challenges highlighted by COVID-19: vulnerability to supply chain breakdowns, limited medical resources, and an economic system in a state that is overly dependent on oil extraction and boom-and-bust cycles.

Opposite page Top to Bottom L-R: SCS staff at the Sitka USDA Summer Meals Distribution Site © Lione Clare Photography, Sunset on Mt. Edgecumbe © Bethany Goodrich Photography, Devil's Club © Bethany Goodrich Photography, Hiker and waterfall © Cora Dow, Yakutat Surf Camp © Bethany Goodrich Photography, Youth Advocates of Sitka loading up USDA Summer Meals Distribution delivery © Lione Clare Photography, Sitka 4-H salmon workshop © Lione Clare Photography.


At Sitka Conservation Society, we pivoted our programs to better support our community through this pandemic. We started the Sitka Mutual Aid Network to connect Sitkans in need with those who want to help. We organized and administered a summer food service program and served over 40,000 meals when the school breakfast/ lunch program wasn’t able to serve families. With funding from the CARES Act, we initiated Sitka’s Community Conservation Corps, providing jobs to Sitkans who were unemployed, underemployed, or furloughed this year, putting them to work maintaining, improving, and building community assets like trails, parks, and shelters. We also helped people connect and support each other through the emotional, economic, and health challenges brought about by the pandemic. Even as we took on these challenges, SCS continued to work on advocacy and policy actions to defend the Tongass National Forest. We fought against the Trump administration’s push to repeal the Roadless Rule, called for more investment in Indigenous stewardship activities and programs, worked with Alaska Native tribes to document the value of old-growth Red Cedar for culture and arts, and worked to protect and restore salmon habitat. We also advocated for policies and implemented projects we urgently need to adopt to build sustainable communities like electrification of heating and transport, action on climate change, policies that prioritize sustainable food systems, protection of herring and the marine food web, appropriately valuing our subsistence resources, and helping youth develop their skills and capacity to be the leaders that we all need. We believe 2020 should be both a wake-up call and a barometer showing us the ways in which we need to strengthen ourselves, our communities, our country, and our world. For our part, we are committed to becoming better stewards of this place and building a more equitable and sustainable future in Alaska, for ourselves and future generations. We know we cannot do this alone. It’s up to all of us to challenge and dismantle the systems that create inequity and environmental destruction and put our future on the wrong path. This includes within ourselves, our organizations, and the systems in which we work here in Southeast Alaska, on the ancestral and unceded territory of the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian people.

— Andrew Thoms, SCS Executive Director Top to Bottom L-R: Fisherman © Bethany Goodrich Photography, Sitka Mutual Aid event at Beak Restaurant © Lione Clare Photography, Hiker resting on Harbor Mountain © Lione Clare Photography, Beaver painted on a drum by artist Andrea Cook. © Bethany Goodrich Photography, Inian Islands © Lione Clare Photography, Heron © Bethany Goodrich Photography, Hiker in snow © Lione Clare Photography, Sunset over Crescent Harbor © Ellie Handler.

SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 5


DONORS & PARTNERS SCS is immensely grateful for all your support. We would especially like to recognize the following foundations and organizations: 4-H AC Lakeside Admiralty Air Service Alaska Community Forest Council Alaska Community Foundation Alaska Conservation Foundation Alaska Longline Fishermen's Assoc. Alaska Marine Safety Education Assoc. Alaska Native Brotherhood Alaska Native Sisterhood Alaska Power and Telephone Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust Alaska Tokens Alaska Trollers Association Alaska Youth for Environmental Action Alchemy Charitable Foundation Allen Marine of Sitka Alpacka Raft American Fisheries Society, AK Chapter Artchange Association of Sitka Audubon Alaska Backdoor Café Bagheera Sailing Baranautica Air Service Baranof Island Artists Beak Restaurant Bear and Tigger Remembrance Fund Blatchley Middle School Brave Heart Volunteers Breakaway Adventures Campion Foundation Captain Gary's Sitka Adventures Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska Chicobi Charters Citizens' Climate Lobby, AK Chapter City and Borough of Sitka City of Elfin Cove City of Hoonah City of Pelican Clovis Foundation Coast Guard Spouses' and Women's Common Stream Foundation Crossroads Photography Workshops Eaglemere Foundation Edgerton Foundation Edible Alaska Magazine Environmental Community Feral Bueller Memorial Fund First Alaskans Institute First Bank Fisherman's Quay Fisheye Cafe For the Wild Fortress of the Bear Gallant Adventures George H. & Jane A. Mifflin Mem. Fund Greater Sitka Arts Council

Greater St. Louis Community Foundation Grow Southeast Haida Corporation Hames Center Hames Corporation Harry Race Pharmacy Herring Protectors Highliner Coffee Co. Hook, Line & Bobbin Hoonah Indian Association Hoonah Native Forest Partnership Hydaburg Cooperative Association Inian Islands Institute Islandview Resort and Charter Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest KCAW Raven Radio Kai Environmental LLC Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary Kid’s Kupboard Klawock Cooperative Association LSF Marine Supplies Lead to Life Leigh Weinberg Charitable Trust Leighty Foundation Lisianski Inlet Cafe Ludvig's Bistro Mean Queen Mount Edgecumbe High School NDN Collective National Forest Foundation National Park Service National Park Service. Native Conservancy New Ventures Fund Ntl. Wilderness Stewardship Alliance Old Harbor Books Organized Village of Kake Organized Village of Kasaan Our Town Catering Pacific High School Pacific Wings Pardee RAND Graduate School Patagonia Pew Charitable Trust Prewitt Bus Company RAND Corp. Renewable Energy Alaska Project Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition Russell's S.B. Foundation S/V Snowdragon II Salmon State Seafood Producers Cooperative Sealaska Seventh Generation Fund Shee Atiká Incorporated Sitka Bicycle Friendly Comm. Coalition Sitka Bulk Goods Sitka Chamber of Commerce Sitka Electric Car Group Sitka Farmers Market Sitka Fine Arts Camp Sitka Fire Department/EMT Sitka Food Co-op Sitka Health Summit Coalition Sitka High School

Sitka High School Track Team Sitka Historical Society Sitka Kitch Sitka Legacy Foundation Sitka Local Foods Network Sitka Lutheran Church Sitka National Historical Park, Sitka Native Education Program Sitka Pioneer Home Sitka Public Library Sitka Rose Gallery Sitka Salmon Shares Sitka School District Sitka Sound Science Center Sitka Sound Seafoods Sitka Sportsman Association Sitka Spruce Tip 4-H Club Leaders Sitka Summer Music Festival Sitka Tribe of Alaska Sitka Whalefest Sitka Wildlife Adventures Sound Sailing Southeast Alaska Conservation Council Southeast Alaska Fish Habitat Partnership Southeast Alaska Independent Living Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Southeast Dough Co. Spenards Builder Supply – Sitka Spinning Moon Apothecary Spruce Root Community Dev. Spruce Root Community Development State of Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game State of Alaska Division of Forestry Steal A Way Sustainable Southeast Partnership TM Construction Tatoosh School Tenakee Logging Company The Alaska Center The Emergence Network The Nature Conservancy, Alaska The Salmon Project The Seattle Foundation Thimbleberry Bay House Training Resources for the Training Rural Alaska Youth and Leaders Project Tribal Tours Trout Unlimited True North Turnagain Marine Construction Corporation Turner Foundation U-Printing US Coast Guard USDA Forest Service USFS Pacific Northwest Research Lab University of Alaska Fairbanks - Cooperative Extension University of Alaska, Southeast Visit Sitka White Elephant Shop Wilburforce Foundation Wild Agency Wintersong Soap Company

Wood Engravers Network Work and Rugged Gear Woven in the Waves Youth Advocates of Sitka Youth for Sustainable Futures We also thank the following \individuals for their generous donations and contributions: Adrienne Wilber Alex Bayne Alex Thorne Alice Johnstone Alice Nunex Allison Nelson Alyssa Russell Amy Gulick Andrew Jylkka Andy Moderow Angela Bowers Anna Johnstone Anna Roy Annette Blankenship Ariane Goudeau Arlene Levy Ashley Nessler Ayana Young Ben Clark Bert Loosmore and Family Bill and Diane Marx Bill and Sherry Foster Bob and Kim Hunter Bob and Mary Fedoroff Bobbi Jordan Brenda Berry Brent and Valerie Edwards Brian McNitt Bridget Hitchcock Britainy Wright Bronte Velez Bryan and Dana Howey Bryden Sweeney-Taylor Caitlin Purdome Cale LaDuke Callie Simmons Carolyn Nichols Carolyn Rice Cary and Sarah Keller Casey Cook Celeste Weller Charles Bingham Charles Christianson Charles Hart Charlie Wilber Charlotte Candelaria Cheryl Stromme Chester and Miriam Meyers Chris Gale Chris Hanson Chris Kowalczewski Christine Davenport Christine Harrington Clara Gray Clay Stromquist Colluana Marley


We also thank the following individuals for their generous donations and contributions: Connie Sipe Coral Pendell Dane McFadden and Lauren Bell Darin Nelson Davey Lubin and Lisa Busch David Sparling David and Marge Steward Deanna Bennett Deanna Moore Debbie Miller Debra Pohlman Dennis Rogers Diana Brooks Diana Dapcevich Diana DuBois and Doug Nethercut Don Surgeon and Galen Paine Donald J. Wille Dora Eells Dorie Farrell Dorothy and Dean Orbison Doug Osborne Drew Wilson and Gabrielle Westergren Eileen Gallagher and James Swift Elaine Andrews and Roger DuBrock Eleyna Rosenthal Elias Opgenorth Elizabeth Sanchez Ellen Ferguson Emma Thompson Eric and Sarah Jordan Erik DeJong Erik Sundholm Erin Iwamoto Erin Vastola Ernie Eggleson and Gaylan Needham Floyd Tomkins and Connie Kreiss Frances Brann Frances Parson Frances Paxson Gail and Andy Fulton Gale and Phil Brownell Gina Lawson Grace Brooks Greta Healy Howard Pendell and Patricia Kehoe J. Bradley Brickman Jack Opgennorth Jade Begay James Larson Jana Ozment-Kirk Jane Kamvar Jasmine Shaw Jeanette Farah Jeff Ankerfelt Jeff Kelly and Debra Brushafer Jeff McKay Jeff Zerger Jeffrey Moebus Jerry Dzugan Jessica Lee Jim Bleil Jim Rogers Jim and Jerame Slater

Jim and Kathy Kyle Jiordi Rosales Joan Skannes Joanne and John Kleis Joel Brady-Power and Tele Aadsen Joelle Jura John F Weitkamp John Patton John Sisk Jon Benton Jon Martin Jon and Yvette Martin Joseph Joseph Driskill Joseph Snyder Joseph Webb Josh Houston Judi Lehmann Judy and Duane Hays Julia Smith and Dave Nuetzel Julie Doggett Julie Jarnagin Karen Wilson Kari Johnson and Steve Fish Kari Sagel Karl Jordan Kate Johnson Kathleen McCrossin Kathryn Snelling Kathy Ingallinera Kathy Kyle Katie Riley Keith Nyitray Ken Farah Kenyon Fields Kimberly Bakkes Krisanne Rice Kurt Hansen Lakota Harden Lance Preston Larry Calvin Laura Jacobsen Laura Schmidt Lauren Mitchell Laurence Dean Leah Weinberg Lee Schmidt Leonard Steinberg and Deborah Greenberg Lexi Fish and Adam Hackett Libby Stortz Linda Schmidt Lisa Schwartz Lorraine Inez Lil Loyd Platson Luke A'Bear Lynn Hubbard and David Zapolsky Lysette Kessler Madeleine Sloane and Maite Lorente and Andrew Thoms Marcel and Connie LaPerriere Margot O’Connell Mark Cochran and Paula Wisness Marsha Howard Mary Barrett and Jeff Arndt Mary Magnuson Mary and Bob Purvis

Mary-Alice Henry Matthew Hunter Matthew Jackson Melissa Koenig Melonie Boord Meredith Redink Michael Ingerman Michael Litman Michael Mausbach Michael Mayo Michael Peters Michael and Klaudia Leccese Michael and Mary Brabeck Michele Friedman Michelle Friedman and Roland Wirth Michelle Putz Michelle and Justin Caldwell Mike Derzon Mike Thoms Molly Lebovee Monique and Blain Anderson Nancy Waterman Natalie Schwantes Nellie Lipscomb Nicolas and Meridith Mink Nicole Fiorino Noreen O'Brien Norm and Toby Campbell Olan Moore Olivia O'Brien Pat Barker Pat Kehoe Pat Veesart Patrick O’Donnell Paula Riggert Paula Wisness and Mark Cochran Peter Brabeck Peter Gorman and Mary Therese Thompson RA Barzso Reber Stein Reid Wiegleb Renee Trafton Retha Winger Rick Fleischman Robby Bruce Robert Schell Robin Schmid Ronda Anderson Russell Heath Sandie and Ted Menmuir Sandra Kincheloe Sara Beaber-Fujioka and Tad Fujioka Sarah Lawrie Scott Brylinsky Scott Maxwell Sharyn Ferrick Shauna Thornton Shawn Hutchinson Sherry Richardson Sheryl Mayo Sonia Ibarra Stephanie Hewett Stephen Lawrie Stephen Lawrie Stephen Rhoads and Beth Short Susan Abbott and James Arisman

Susan Padilla Sydney Carter Ted Howard Tim Bristol Tim Riley Tina Bachmeier Toccoa and Jonathan Wolf Tom Andrews and Kate Landers Tom and Diana Allen Trevor Moulton Vern Culp Victoria O’Connell Curran Victoria Sparacino Victoria Vosburg Vincent Castellucci Walt Weller Walter Palof Wendy Alderson William and Helen Hodgson Xannie Borseth Thank you to all who have contributed to the Sitka Mutual Aid Network, supporting the health and resilience of our community. Thank you to all the fishermen who donated to the Fish to Schools program. During a challenging fishing season the fleet stepped up to make sure Sitka’s youth have access to nutritious, local salmon and rockfish.

FINANCIAL REPORT These figures represent Sitka Conservation Society's total income and expenses for January – September 2020.

2020 INCOME

$898,684.66

Grants: (80%) Donations and Membership (19%) Fundraising (1%) Grant Income for specific projects: $294,032.03

2019 INCOME

$797,731.37

Grants: (79%) Donations and Membership (19%) Fundraising (2%) Grant Income for specific projects: $184,174.23

2020 EXPENSES $773,864.23

Personnel: (56%) Events & Outreach (29%) Program Support (9%) Operations (6%)

Grant Expenses for specific projects: $306,557.75

2019 EXPENSES $794,339.87

Personnel: (58%) Events & Outreach (19%) Program Support (13%) Operations (10%) Grant Expenses for specific projects: $248,729.89 SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 7


JANUARY 20

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With our feet firmly on the ground, we were in a universe of thoughts and dreams, imaging the future we want, and scheming on how we could create it.


STARTING A LOCAL MOVEMENT FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE CORA DOW Social, Environmental, Economic Resiliency Policy Intern

Although Youth for Sustainable Futures was founded spontaneously, it came to fruition from a place of long-simmering frustration. Living in Sitka, we saw our home change, and watched as nothing was done about it. In September 2019, the youth-led movement Fridays for the Future held climate strikes worldwide. There weren’t any strikes happening in Sitka, so we organized one, working hard to navigate the school rules and teachers, and get the word out. Our strike was so successful that onlookers were adamant in their belief that Sitka's youth could not have organized such a movement without adults. When the climate strike was over and our group was established with members from all three high schools and support from SCS, we sat down and talked about our values as young people. We chose to name the group Youth for Sustainable Futures. For us, sustainable meant a “normal” life – one that we don’t have to adapt to because it’s changing so rapidly; one that can be maintained without requiring large societal shifts to keep the world livable. To accomplish our goal of sustainability, we identified our tools: education, motivation, and advocacy. Lastly, we wanted to have a voice. Our first step was to establish our voice in support of city resolution declaring a climate emergency. We met with local elected officials, circulated a petition, and gathered students to speak. At the meeting, members of our group comprised the majority of those who testified, telling the assembly to act. We later met with Senator Lisa Murkowski to advocate for our positions at a national level. From giving public testimony to meeting with local and national leaders, our experience with YSF has given us a taste of how we can work to goals we were only thinking about before. Now we’re looking at work in environmental policy, studying politics and environmental studies in college, and working as senate pages. Building YSF from an idea to an effective organization has given us a new understanding of the power of our voice, and you can bet we’re going to use it.

9

Month photo: A tent set up against the Northern Lights © Cora Dow. Below: Snow-covered branches on a cloudy winter day. © Emily Pound. A hiker going up Mt. Verstovia. © Cora Dow. Redpoll © Cora Dow. Sunset on Mt. Edgecumbe. © Bethany Goodrich Photography. 4-H Winter Wonderland series activities. © Emily Pound. 4-H Youth in Governance at the state capital in Juneau. © Jill Hayden. Youth for Sustainable Futures. © Muriel Reid.

SUNDAY

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

FRIDAY

S AT U R DAY

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New Year's Day

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

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YOUTH FOR SUSTAINABLE FUTURES On Earth Day, Youth for Sustainable Futures met with Senator Murkowski to advocate for their ideas on a national level. The group spoke with the Senator about a Just Transition and why Alaska must look to a renewable future, the importance the Roadless Rule, and incorporating climate change education into school curriculums. They also encouraged the Senator to prioritize coronavirus relief funding that could be used to help invest in transitioning our economy towards sustainable activities. SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 9


FEBRUARY 20

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We heard its roar before we saw it, and in the next step, through the trees, we saw the pulse of the mountain as its waters cascaded off the slopes and towards the sea.


THE FUTURE OF ALASKAN TRAVEL, GUIDED BY TRADITIONAL VALUES ISABELLA HAYWOOD Communications Specialist, Spruce Root and SSP When visitors arrive in Southeast Alaska, they participate in the interconnected systems that make up these lands and possess the potential to either uplift or extract. Regenerative tourism is a concept encouraging local businesses to uplift their environments and communities by basing their operations on the Indigenous values of balance, reciprocity, and stewardship. Mary Goddard, Tlingit artist and business owner, serves as the Regional Catalyst for Regenerative Tourism in Southeast Alaska. As she explains, “regenerative tourism is grounded in Indigenous knowledge, not just ours but of the world, because the one thing that Indigenous cultures have in common is that balance is important and if you don’t maintain balance, you’re going to over-extract rather than give back.” At Path to Prosperity, an annual sustainable business development competition run by Spruce Root and supported by the Sustainable Southeast Partnership, entrepreneurs are encouraged to take a pause from their daily operations to reflect how they can operate their businesses in a manner that is regenerative, leaving their communities and environments better than they found them. One finalist, Xíinaansdla, plans for visitors to experience Hydaburg in a non-extractive way by building a traditional Haida longhouse to use as a rental for cultural tourism. In the summer, the longhouse will allow visitors to experience the culture, values, and traditional foods that have supported Haida people for more than 10,000 years. During the off-season the longhouse will host Haida ceremonies and teaching practices. “The more people that learn and have knowledge about the Haida, Tlingit, and Tsimshian peoples, the more respect it elevates for people on the land. And they'll better respect the land that created us, that forged us,” says co-founder Marita Tolson. When visitors engage with community-led locally-owned businesses operating in balance with their communities and environments, they leave Alaska with a deep sense of reverence, not only for the forests and waters, but also for the people and rich cultures that live within them.

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Month photo: Indian River waterfall. © Bethany Goodrich Photography. Below: Dew on the foliage in the muskeg. © Ryan Morse. Xíinaansdla in Hydaburg. © Xíinaansdla. Tourists photographing whales during a cruise. © Lione Clare Photography. Totem Pole. © Bethany Goodrich Photography. Equinox charter and kayaker. © Equinox.

SUNDAY

MONDAY

TUESDAY

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WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

FRIDAY

S AT U R DAY

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Groundhog Day

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Chinese New Year

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Presidents' Day

Elizabeth Peratrovich Day Mardis Gras

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National Invasive Species Week

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27 St. Lazaria Wildlife Refuge est. 1909

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REGENERATIVE VALUES IN ACTION Equinox, a Path to Prosperity Finalist based in Sitka, offers small boat adventure charters that focus on providing authentic Alaskan experiences for their clientele. Their cruise is about sharing those unique moments and activities you can have in the Tongass rather than about how much you can harvest/source from it. Equinox owners Cameo Padilla and Brooks Areson guide visitors through still channels and blue waters of Sitka, teaching them to observe the rich life of the tide pools, reel in king salmon, and build the perfect bonfire. Equinox gives back to the community of Sitka by pledging a percentage of their revenue to environmental organizations; supporting local photographers, filmmakers, guides, and chefs; and educating guests about the ecosystem. SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 11


MARCH 20

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Alongside each other in the golden hour of a bluebird dusk swam a pair of humpback whales. We heard the whoosh of their spouts and saw the mists of their breath connect the ocean with the sky.


ADAPTING WITH GRATITUDE THROUGH THE FOUR H'S EMILY POUND Community Sustainability Organizer “I pledge my HEAD to clearer thinking, my HEART to greater loyalty, my HANDS to larger service, and my HEALTH to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world.” Founded as a partnership between Sitka Conservation Society and University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Sitka Spruce Tips 4-H club empowers local youth by connecting them with their community and environment. Unlike more traditional 4-H clubs, Sitka Spruce Tips focuses on fostering an understanding and appreciation for our local ecosystem: the Tongass. Whether foraging in the muskeg, writing letters to our elders, or listening to traditional Tlingit stories, the 4-H pledge is reinforced through our Sitka programming. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Sitka Spruce Tips has been confronted with the need to reevaluate the ways in which youth connect with the landscape around them. 4-H has adapted while continuing to offer hands-on experiences. This would not be possible without our unique community, made up of local partners and dedicated volunteers. With their support, our programming has further evolved to include online workshops covering topics like the importance of voting and Tlingit word pronunciation as well as in-person activities such as mushroom hunting and salmon fileting. We are grateful for the organizations and individuals that have nourished our club such as Sitka Sound Science Center, the University of Alaska, Sitka Native Education Program, and chef Renee Trafton of the Beak Restaurant. Through our partnerships, we hope to inspire youth to follow these leaders in leaving Sitka better than they found it. Since March, Sitka Spruce Tips has continued to create opportunities intended to emphasize the use of the four H’s. Moving forward, we continue with sincere gratitude for our partners, students, and community. Sitka 4-H has adapted and, indeed, grown thanks to their support and commitment to our mission of empowering Sitka youth.

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Month Photo: Humpback whales against Mt. Edgecumbe. © Lione Clare Photography. Below: 4-Her in the muskeg. © Emily Pound. Sitka Tribe of Alaska herring egg distribution in Sitka. © Bethany Goodrich Photography. Herring eggs covering shells and coastal rocks. © Lione Clare Photography. Chuck Miller at an event hosted by Sitka Native Education Program and 4-H. © Ryan Morse.

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SHARING THE GIFT OF STORYTELLING Since the establishment of 4-H in Sitka, it has thrived through connection and community. We are lucky to have volunteers like Chuck Miller who are able to transfer this engagement both in person and online. In his 4-H Storytelling Tuesday workshops, youth participants have been enriched through his storytelling activities during our annual deer series and events with the Sitka Native Education Program. This year, he has brightened programming, giving 4-Hers something to look forward to with his monthly storytelling workshops. We want to express our wild gratitude to Chuck for his time, care, and warmth. We are grateful for this partnership and Chuck’s commitment to sharing his gift of storytelling.

SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 13


APRIL 20

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No amount of gratitude is enough for the Red Cedar. When we walk amongst its forests, or work its wood, or weave from its bark, it is clear that we are in the presence of something of profound sacredness.


DOCUMENTING THE CULTURAL VALUE OF CEDAR ON THE TONGASS SIENNA REID Culture, Environment, and Resource Management Intern

Last summer, T'saak Ka Juu (Andrea Cook) and I worked with SCS, First Alaskans Institute, and the Forest Service PNW Research Station to investigate the value of red and yellow cedar to Southeast Alaskans. As young Alaska Native women, it was incredible to work on a project so close to our hearts and our homes. We both grew up surrounded by and appreciative of the lands and waters that support our unique lifeways. Old growth cedar trees are the backbone of our cultures here in Southeast Alaska. For thousands of years, our people have been sustained by these trees which have provided materials for weaving, carving, housing, and countless other cultural and spiritual purposes. Despite this, management practices have long ignored the cultural significance of cedar, and intensive clearcutting threatens this resource’s availability for cultural use. This year, twelve Tribes across Southeast Alaska petitioned the USDA for the creation of a Traditional Homelands Conservation Rule. This rule would allow tribal governments to collaboratively engage in land management of traditional and customary use areas and finally assert their sovereignty in protecting cultural resources such as red and yellow cedar. We have been grateful to help ensure that the social, economic, and cultural values of cedar on the Tongass are documented. As we interviewed stakeholders and culture bearers who were passionate about the preservation of Alaska’s old growth cedar, Andrea and I have not only expanded our knowledge of forest management strategies, but we have also been learning more about both of our own cultures through this process. Many Native carvers, weavers, and activists stressed the importance of involving youth in wood arts early, and making sure this passing of knowledge continues on indefinitely. We hope the data we collected for SCS this summer will help outline the array of traditional uses of cedar wood products, as well as the role these products play in supporting so many members of our communities.

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Month photo: Woven cedar headdress at Yakutat Culture Camp. © Bethany Goodrich Photography. Below: Yellow cedar. © Carolyn Rice. False Hellibore. © AlaskanGrace Photography. Traditional mask carved and painted by Andrea Cook. © Bethany Goodrich Photography. Yellow cedar tree. © Lione Clare Photography. Devil's Tooth mushroom. © AlaskanGrace Photography. Andrea Cook painting a bear. © Bethany Goodrich Photography.

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FIRST ALASKANS INSTITUTE INTERNS SCS hosted two First Alaskans Institute (FAI) interns this summer. The internship program run by FAI focuses on leadership development in Indigenous youth by placing them with a variety of different Alaskan organizations. FAI's mission statement reads, “True to identity, heritage, and values, Alaska Natives are informed and engaged in leading the decisions that shape the future.” SCS is inspired by the mission and work of FAI and was honored to support Sienna and Andrea's work this summer. We recognize, that as the original and continued caretakers of local lands and waters, Indigenous people are central to our environmental movements.

SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 15


MAY 20

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Greenery like this maidenhair fern may appear delicate upon first glance. Yet, it takes an inherent strength and fierceness to live amongst the understory of a temperate rainforest. You have to be resilient to live here in the Tongass.


SEEDLINGS OF CHANGE IN TONGASS FOREST MANAGEMENT CAROLYN RICE 2019 – 2020 Public Lands Communication Fellow As the Public Lands Communications Fellow, I had the privilege of sharing the stories of the people, places, and programs that make the Tongass National Forest a national gem. Hosted by the US Forest Service and Sitka Conservation Society, this fellowship showed me how storytelling can create transparency and encourage public involvement in land management, all while valuing the people who do the work. Effective communication is only more important when you consider the substantial impact the Tongass has on Southeast Alaskans’ lives. The relationships people have with the Tongass are highly diverse, and the USFS has been shifting its management to a more collaborative one that sustains those uses, including traditional food harvest and recreation. That has meant transitioning to majority young-growth timber harvest; monitoring subsistence fisheries; investing in community-based initiatives like the Keex’ Kwaan Community Forest Partnership, and revitalizing cabins, to name a few. It is clear that forest management can holistically benefit the land, the people, and the economy, and I hope that the Forest Service continues to grow this stakeholder-centric approach. The Tongass in the midst of another change that will impact its management for the long term: a swath of employees are nearing or entering retirement. Many devoted their careers to the Tongass; I loved writing retirement profiles and seeing the outpourings of gratitude they received from the community. The Tongass isn’t alone in this generational shift. In 2018, the federal government had almost twice as many employees over the age of 60 as under 30. To me, these data underscore the need to involve more young people in land management. I hope the Tongass takes it as a big opportunity to bring in talented people with new perspectives. The stakes are high, too. The Tongass faces worsening climate change and lingering wounds from past management failures. The people they choose will need to be proactive and thoughtful stewards of these precious lands and waters.

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Month photo: Maiden hair © AlaskanGrace Photography. Below: Salmon Lake cabin © AlaskanGrace Photography. Lichen on old growth spruce branch. © Lione Clare Photography. Natural Resource Academy © Bethany Goodrich Photography. TRAYLS crew processing venison for elders. © Willow Jackson. Keex' Kwaan Community Forest © Willow Jackson. Bear in Baranof Warmsprings Bay © Ryan Morse. SCS surveying Silver Bay coastline. © Carolyn Rice.

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SCS SURVEYS FOR HARBOR DEBRIS Invasive species can easily derail entire ecosystems by hoarding resources away from native organisms. SCS staff and volunteers surveyed the Silver Bay coastline for harbor debris that weren't properly contained from the Crescent Harbor replacement. Our team catalogued debris from the project along the coast, working with the City and the Sitka Sound Science center to clean up and remove it. The work was funded by the contractor, with everyone eager to be involved in preventing the spread invasive species. SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 17


JUNE 20

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The evening sun set over the ridges and lit up the peaks. Fog lay in the valley. I looked South and saw a world of mountain peaks, forested valleys, snow fields, and alpine meadows. We fight for the Tongass for moments like these.


A JUST TRANSITION FOR ALASKA

Month photo: Harbor Mountain © Lione Clare Photography. Below: Kayakers in Sitka Sound. © Carly Dennis. Abalone. © Bethany Goodrich Photography. Yakutat Surf Camp © Bethany Goodrich Photography. 4-H leader and Jesuit Volunteer Jill Hayden with 4-Hers. © Emily Pound.

CARLY DENNIS Future of Alaska Policy Advocate “Transition is inevitable, but justice is not.” This was a constant refrain I heard during the 2020 Just Transition Summit in Fairbanks. Hosted by Native Movement, the Alaska Center, the Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition, and the Alaska Public Interest Research Group, the Just Transition Summit brought together over one hundred Alaskans ready to advocate for climate justice, Indigenous justice, and a fair and sustainable future. A Just Transition for Alaska is based upon the knowledge that climate change is threatening Alaska in many ways, such as our health, communities, and way of life. As this fact becomes more apparent, and fossil fuels continue to lose their value and pertinence, Alaska’s resource-extractive economy will falter. While it is imperative that we move away from fossil fuel production as quickly as possible, it's critical we don't leave any Alaskans behind. Our economy must be inclusive; as we transition from an extractive economy and move forward in a time of great uncertainty, justice must be in the forefront of our minds. Central to a Just Transition is the necessity of Indigenous values. Alaska’s first people, along with many minority and low-income groups, suffer more than other Alaskans as a result of our extractive and hierarchical economy. Listening to Indigenous values will help us go forward in this process of healing, and reimagine the future of our state. For generations, Indigenous Peoples have thrived with renewable energy, local foods, community resiliency, intergenerational learning, mutual aid, and respect for the land. Values like these will lead us through this crisis and help start to heal the wounds of the past. Alaska's Just Transition Summit convinced me that while we live in a time of uncertainty, many of the answers are right in front of us. The answers come from listening to our neighbors, to the land, and most importantly, to people who are seldom heard. As we move ahead confronting climate change, economic disaster, racial injustice, and a massive public health crisis, we must remember to hold up the bright spots as we transition to a just future.

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JESUIT VOLUNTEERS AND SCS Every year, SCS hosts a volunteer through Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest, serving at SCS as the Living with the Land and Building Community Coordinator. In this position, the JV engages and partners with community members and groups to lead activities with Sitka 4-H Club, with the shared goal of creating a firm foundation for Sitka's youth to grow strong into their futures. Reflecting on her time at SCS, past JV Jill Hayden said, "I am in awe of how Sitkans show up for each other and share resources, responsibilities, and their love for each other and their home. Community members are more than willing to offer their presence and skills, leading to strengthened partnerships and relationships that can withstand the test of time and any challenges that may come our way." SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 19


JULY 20

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Time passes slowly in these mountains and it also passes in the blink of an eye. Rain falls, the sun shines through, people’s lives are lived. We can choose to care for the place, or our actions can destroy it.


TRIBES ADVOCATE FOR TRADITIONAL HOMELANDS KATIE RILEY Policy Director “The Tongass can no longer be viewed as stands of timber waiting for harvest; it must be viewed as a cultural resource that must be managed for the benefit of its local people, for the long-term productivity of its salmon streams and wildlife habitat, and to help mitigate impacts from climate change.” In 2020, twelve Southeast Alaskan Tribes petitioned the Department of Agriculture to create a new rulemaking process to this effect. The proposed Traditional Homelands Conservation Rule would implement a new vision for Tongass land management, incorporating the Tribes’ traditional ecological knowledge and protecting current and future cultural resources and areas. Southeast Alaska's sovereign Tribal nations have been the most vocal land defenders throughout the Alaska Roadless Rule process. Many have consistently pushed against the Trump Administration’s proposal to exempt the Tongass from the Roadless Rule, an effort that would open over 9 million acres of forest to clearcut logging and roadbuilding. Public opinion is in agreement: over 96% of comments submitted on the fall 2019 Draft Environmental Impact Statement are in favor of keeping the rule in place. The Organized Village of Kasaan, one of two Haida Tribes in the region, is leading this effort to create new protections for cultural lands with other Tribes. As OVK vice president and Tribal Administrator Marina Anderson states, “The era of silencing Indigenous peoples is no more. We speak for the voiceless – our lands, waters, animals and people who are unable to advocate. We stand with the honor of having thousands of ancestors guiding us forward. We are not history, we are here. I am here to advocate for our ancestral lands and waters and the future economy of Southeast Alaska that is centered in sustainability and forward-thinking.” As our landscapes and climate change, we all must work together to adapt. Incorporating the Tribes’ local and traditional knowledge in policies affecting their homelands will be pivotal when confronting future challenges. SCS is proud to support the Tribes in their efforts to protect their homelands and culture while seeking collaborative solutions for Tongass management.

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Month photo: Mist and the trees © Cora Dow. Below: Honor the Herring Koo.eex. © Bethany Goodrich Photography. Tongass Forest old-growth. © AlaskanGrace Photography. Salmonberries. © Bethany Goodrich Photography. Totem pole in Kasaan. © Bethany Goodrich Photography.

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PARTNERING TO AMPLIFY VOICES The Organized Village of Kasaan and SCS share the common goal of working collaboratively towards cultural, ecological, and economic prosperity in Southeast Alaska. In 2020, OVK and SCS created a joint position to amplify indigenous voices and Tribal nations input into public policy processes. Policy Liaison Tristan Douville, Tlingit member of the Eagle-Wolf-Killer Whale clan from Craig, communicates with Congressional members regarding the Tribes’ petition and designed an innovative social media strategy to spread the word about their efforts. Says Tristan, “This job has opened my eyes to the ways that we young people can shape the policies, and consequently, the future of our communities. I have reconnected with my culture in a way that I had never anticipated by learning more about our Tribes’ rights and responsibilities as sovereign nations of the Tongass.” SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 21


AUGUST 20

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The waters that surround Kruzof Island's Mt. Edgecumbe volcano are home to some of the richest fisheries in all of Southeast Alaska. The streams and rivers that flow off the mountain are where pink, chum, and coho salmon are born.


GENERATIONAL DEPENDENCE ON THE SALMON FOREST AMY LI 2020 – 2021 Public Lands Communication Fellow Since time immemorial, when summer comes to Southeast Alaska, so do the salmon. Fishers, from subsistence to commercial, flock to the waters to catch their fill. The Fish family is no different. When SCS Board Vice President Steve Fish came to Southeast Alaska, he walked the docks of Petersburg, deciphering the differences between a troller and a longliner before starting out fishing in halibut derbies. Over thirty years later, his passion for fishing is a generational affair. He now runs the F/V Kariel in Sitka, longlining for black cod and halibut, while his daughter Lexi spends summers fishing for salmon aboard her freezer troller the F/V Myriad. Their family-run fishing operations are intricately linked with the ecological health of the Tongass. Without robust watersheds across the Southeast, salmon and other fish simply would not be able to thrive. Healthy salmon and fish populations are crucial to local businesses like the Fish’s. They create employment opportunities in the community while also providing premium wild Alaskan salmon to both local fish processors and restaurants across the Pacific Northwest. Beyond operating their family business, the Fish family has sought ways to provide for the future of the larger community. Through the Fish to Schools program in Sitka, which Lexi plays a key role in, locally caught seafood is provided to future generations by way of school lunches. This decade-long initiative has touched thousands of Sitkan families and youth. Fish to Schools would not be possible without the generosity of small businesses and community members. More than half a dozen partner organizations have worked alongside SCS to donate, coordinate, and prepare the weekly seafood lunches for students. But the program also relies on the generosity of the Tongass, connected, clean streams, plentiful rushing riffles and deep pools, undisturbed gravel for spawning, that provides for bountiful fisheries. SCS works to protect those bountiful fisheries for present and future generations of Alaskans and Americans who, from the waters to the lunch tables, who depend on the salmon forest.

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Month photo: F/V Pacific Bounty during longline season. © Lione Clare Photography. Below: Chinook salmon © Bethany Goodrich Photography. Tongass aerial. © Lione Clare Photography. Steve and Lexi Fish. © Amy Li. Salmon streams. © Wild Agency.

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TAKING 'THE SALMON FOREST' ONLINE For families with children at home during COVID-19, we know it can be a challenge to keep them engaged with educational content. That’s why we decided to collaborate with the Forest Service to release The Salmon Forest for free viewing online. Created with Wild Agency, The Salmon Forest is a 30-minute film that sweeps viewers into the dramatic migration of wild Alaskan salmon, from clear mountain streams to icy ocean waters and back again. Along the way, viewers explore the unique relationships that Southeast Alaskans – from Tribes to commercial fishermen to local artists – have with salmon. Families were able to watch the film and engage with the materials afterwards though a coloring and activity packet we created to accompany the release. SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 23


SEPTEMBER 20

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How much knowledge of the forests must be in the minds and inscripted into the DNA of the Red Breasted Sapsucker? Everyday of their lives they are on the trunks of the trees, amongst its branches, and surrounded by its majesty.


HONORING OUR SCS LEGACIES ELLIE HANDLER Wilderness Legacy Director

As the Wilderness Legacy Director, I worked to highlight the lives of our founders and supporters and to share their experiences to inspire future generations. My position was supported by the Living Wilderness Fund, created to honor these incredible people and continue their work protecting the wilderness of Southeast Alaska for generations to come. As young people today, we continue to grow, figuring out what we value and how we will make the world a better place. Turning to the founders and supporters of the Sitka Conservation Society was a natural place to look for inspiration in how to lead our lives. We cannot move towards the future without understanding our past. As I heard stories about all the people who shaped our organization, I often found myself personally driven to be more active and thoughtful. While reading Richard Nelson’s writing, I yearned for his clarity of focus and ability to see wonder. From stories of longtime board member Bob Ellis harvesting and sharing seaweed, I too set out on to harvest and prepare seaweed. When I learned that Jack and Sasha Calvin, two of our founders, went on an incredible canoe trip for their honeymoon, I was left hungering for my own grand adventure. Though they have passed on from this life, these incredible individuals continue to shape the ways we act and understand the world. Above all, I was constantly inspired by the care and dedication our elders put into protecting this place they so loved. Time and time again, they stood up in the face of industrial development to defend the forests of Southeast Alaska. Thanks to the efforts of SCS founders and supporters, we have huge swaths of protected land in Southeast Alaska. I have been fortunate enough to spend time in the South Baranof Wilderness, thoroughly immersed in the world around me. I was taken aback by its splendor—the old growth forests are rich in life and in decay that continually feeds a new generation in the undergrowth. I returned to Sitka profoundly grateful that these places are still whole and with a renewed dedication to protecting this land for future generations.

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Month photo: Red Breasted Sapsucker © Lione Clare Photography. Below: A visitor taking pictures in the Tongass. © Bethany Goodrich Photography. Bolete mushroom. © AlaskanGrace Photography. Heron © Lione Clare Photography. Spiny wood fern © Lione Clare Photography. Monitoring in the West Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness Area. © Lione Clare Photography.

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WILDERNESS MONITORING IN THE WEST CHICHAGOF-YAKOBI AREA For six days in July, SCS storytelling and outreach specialist, Lione Clare, kayaked around part of Yakobi Island in the West Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness area with photographer Brenda Berry and Krisanne Rice, Lione's mother. The team explored and documented the place and experience, photographing everything from kayaking to the rugged outer coastline landscapes and intricate old growth forests, while conducting wilderness solitude monitoring for the US Forest Service. SCS was founded from the designation of West Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness, so it is important to keep staff, volunteers, and partners connected to this special place. SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 25


OCTOBER 20

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Hooded Nudibranchs haunt the fronds of kelp as it sways and flows in the tidal currents of coastal Southeast Alaska. The underwater kelp forests of these wild coasts are home to astounding diversity of life forms.


MITIGATING CLIMATE CHANGE WITH LOCAL SOLUTIONS ANDREW GALLAGHER

Month photo: Underwater nudibranch. © Bethany Goodrich Photography. Below: Underwater seaweed. © Bethany Goodrich Photography. Sea anemones. © Bethany Goodrich Photography. Leather star. © Ryan Morse. Sea lions. © AlaskanGrace Photography. Hiker among the mountains. © Caitlin Way. Sunset on Kruzof beach. © Bethany Goodrich Photography. Sitka and the Sisters. © Ryan Morse.

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AmeriCorps Volunteer

Of all of the threats facing the Tongass, none are as large in scope and daunting in scale as climate change. Warming temperatures and changing precipitation patterns threaten the marine and temperate rainforest ecosystems of Southeast Alaska. To stop climate impacts, we must challenge our dominant cultural worldviews and economic systems. Although this will take an enormous effort, Southeast Alaska has the opportunity to lead in an example of environmental stewardship through regional climate response and create social, economic, and environmental opportunities. Southeast Alaska has part of the answer: our region’s hydroelectric plants, and the municipalities, businesses and cooperatives which own them, are our path to decarbonization. Hydropower dominates our region’s energy mix, giving us a uniquely renewable electric grid. Moreover, with these regionally influential entities hoping to maximize electricity sales and electricity use, environmental conservation can go hand-inhand with economic development. During my service as an AmeriCorps member with the Sitka Conservation Society, I helped individuals and organizations in rural, hydropower-rich areas of Southeast Alaska access available resources to help decarbonize their buildings and transportation. Groups like Craig Tribal Association have been able to use programs meant for community development for emissions reduction and electrification. In making partnerships with organizations like Alaska Power & Telephone, SCS can continue to find common ground with regional stakeholders in our push towards a sustainable future. With vision and initiative, we can lead the country in electrifying end energy uses, and in doing so, help show the path for a safe future for the Tongass. Andrew Gallagher served as an Americorps during 2020 with SCS, working in partnership with Alaska Power & Telephone to help individuals access programs to transition to lower-cost and carbon free energy uses for home heating and transportation.

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SUPPORTING BOAT INNOVATIONS Due to the threat climate change poses to the commercial fishing industry in Alaska, many fishermen are motivated to reduce the carbon intensity of their businesses. SCS Policy Intern Cora Dow worked during the summer with the Alaska Longliners Fisherman Association's Chandler Klemp to identify feasibility, financing, and support for hybrid electricdiesel and electric vessels with the goal of transitioning to alternative propulsion systems and reducing businesses' carbon footprint in Sitka. SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 27


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“No scientist, no shaman, no stalker, no sentimentalist will ever understand the deer. For this I am truly grateful. I am possessed by a powerful curiosity about this animal, but what I desire most is to experience and acclaim its mysteries.” – Richard Nelson


WORKING TOGETHER FOR FOOD SECURITY AND COMMUNITY HEALTH RYAN MORSE

Month Photo: Deer antlers. © Bethany Goodrich Photography. Below: Shawn Hutchinson at the USDA Summer Meals Program. © Lione Clare Photography. Thawing harvested huckleberries © Bethany Goodrich Photography. Sushi made with wild Alaskan salmon. © Muriel Reid. Sitka Tribe of Alaska and SCS at the Summer Food Service program distribution site. © Bethany Goodrich Photography. SCS and Bagheera Sailing in Pelican. © Celeste Weller.

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Communications and Outreach Coordinator Food security is foundational to the sustainability of our communities, not just in Southeast Alaska but across the world. In the Tongass, we have a unique accessibility to wild foods, yet at the same time our geography creates its own obstacles; food is expensive and is shipped in from far away to reach our rural communities. In 2020, we saw a greater emphasis and need to strengthen food security for Southeast Alaskans. With partnerships and community support, Sitka Conservation Society fielded programs to take on these challenges. In March, SCS established the Sitka Mutual Aid Network, an initiative to build Sitka’s resilience and community health in the face of this pandemic. Sitka Mutual Aid matched requests for assistance with offers of support, connecting Sitkans who could be of service to one another and responding to over 500 requests for assistance. We also partnered with Our Town Catering, Beak Restaurant, Sitka Salmon Shares, and Seafood Producers Cooperative to deliver seafood meals to hundreds in our community. SCS also supported multiple summer meal service programs over the summer: the Sitka Breakfast Program, hosted by the Sitka Public Library for its second year, and the Summer Food Service program. Administered by SCS and Sponsored by Kids Kupboard, in partnership with the Sitka Tribe of Alaska and Youth Advocates of Sitka, the USDA program served over 40,000 meals to youth. The Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association, NSRAA, local processors, and fishermen joined in to support the program by donating hundreds of pounds of seafood to be incorporated into the meals. “Even with this pandemic, it’s good to see we have such a good and responsive community that helps each other out,” said Shawn Hutchinson, summer meals food manager and executive chef at the Sitka Hotel. SCS is committed to protecting the Tongass and building sustainable communities. The work can look different depending on opportunities and pressures facing our region, but it always means valuing our relationships with people and place.

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First Night of Hanukkah

HELPING OUR SOUTHEAST NEIGHBORS In the face of a once-in-a-century pandemic, the state of Alaska is experiencing great economic strife, which has caused reduced social services critical to rural communities like Sitka and Pelican. When things get tough, Southeast Alaskans don't back down from the challenge; and when a neighbor is in trouble, we lend a hand. In April, Sitka Food Co-Op, SCS, and Bagheera Sailing came together to deliver over 1,000 pounds of groceries to families in Pelican. Sitka Food Co-Op added Pelican’s order to their Sitka shipment, while Erik DeJong of Bagheera Sailing and his wife Krystina Scheller volunteered to sail the goods to Pelican. That's the nature of people of southeast Alaska and how we always get through difficult times: together. SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 29


DECEMBER 20

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Ultimately, conserving the natural world is about what we leave for future generations. How are we ensuring that our children can experience an old growth temperate rainforest, healthy waters and salmon, and wild, coastal beaches?


RELATIONSHIPS FIRST: VALUES OF TRUE PARTNERSHIPS BETHANY GOODRICH SSP Communications Director Sincere collaboration is more than exchanging resources. Earnest collaboration is about people. During eight years as Communications Director, I watched the Sustainable Southeast Partnership grow from an uncomfortable cluster of unsure organizations to a robust collective of dedicated and passionate changemakers. SCS is a proud partner of this collaboration of organizations, tribal governments, businesses, land managers and individuals all working together to build cultural, ecological, and economic prosperity for Southeast Alaska. Our Partnership has much to celebrate, from multi-stakeholder land management collaboratives to sustainable business competitions, culture camps, carving programs, surf clubs and so much more. I’ve seen trust and understanding bloom between entities that were once enemies. In 2020, we cancelled so many of the face to face moments that traditionally generated and nourished the relationships we depend on. At the same time, we showed up for one another in different, enormously compassionate ways – sharing fish with communities, building mutual aid networks, feeding elders with seals, establishing summer meals programs, tracking down pressure canners, and more. When the world crumbles our relationships to one another and the lands and waters that sustain us are our salvation. It would be impossible to start the SSP in 2020. Polarizing politics are stifling meaningful dialogue, and COVID-19 is isolating us even further. The pandemic has grounded our families to controllable comfortable bubbles. Our job now, is to pick up the pieces and forge something better, to take the foundation of care and meaningful relationships and stand up to the unique and formidable challenges of our time. Doing this alone, or as a small environmental nonprofit would be impossible. It requires us to move swiftly, in coordination, and compassionately to rise to the complexity. I am confident that together, we, as a more unified people, will rise to these unprecedented challenges with grace and compassion.

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Month photo: Youth walking along a coastal beach on Kruzof. © Bethany Goodrich Photography. Below: COVID relief distribution in Yakutat. © Bethany Goodrich Photography. Fern © Ryan Morse. Crackling fire on a summer evening. © AlaskanGrace Photography. Lione Clare and Krisanne Rice in the West Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness Area. © Crossroads Photography.

SUNDAY

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

1

THURSDAY

FRIDAY

S AT U R DAY

2

3

4

West ChichagofYakobi and South Baranof Wilderness Areas est. 1980

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6

7

8

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10

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12

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25

First Day of Winter

26 Kwanzaa Begins

27

28

Christmas Day

29

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31 New Year's Eve

AN ENDURING STEWARDSHIP LEGACY From timeless traditional values to youth stepping up to advocate for the health of the planet, it's clear that land stewardship has an enduring legacy and importance. At SCS, we work to carry and pass on these values like our founders had, from our advocacy work to our youth programs and partnerships. These values are reflected in staff and board members’ values and ethics, which is why they get involved at SCS. After monitoring the West Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness area with her mother, SCS's Lione Clare found that, “this trip opened a door to us exploring our similar values and ethics. I know I can honor the legacy my mom helped pass on by sharing the knowledge and values I carry to people around me, whether that is through my work, or shared experiences out on the land.” SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 31


TOGETHER WE ARE

SCS

The Sitka Conservation Society team is made up of the following staff and board, as well as community members like you.

MARIAN ALLEN

GABRIELA ALVARADO

BLAIN ANDERSON

HEATHER BAUSCHER

CHARLES BINGHAM

DEBRA BRUSHAFER

Board Member

Pardee RAND Extern

Sitka Community Conservation Corps Project Leader

Tongass Community Organizer

Sitka Kitch

Board President (Incoming)

LIONE CLARE

ANDREA COOK

TRISTAN DOUVILLE

CORA DOW

Storytelling and Outreach Specialist

Culture, Environment, and Resource Management Intern

Joint Tribal Policy Liason

CARLY DENNIS

ANDREW GALLAGHER

BETHANY GOODRICH

KATE GUINEY

MELISSA HAMILTON

ELLIE HANDLER

JILL HAYDEN

AmeriCorps Volunteer

Communications Director

Virtual Engagement Policy and Communications Research Intern

Board President (Outgoing)

Wilderness Legacy Director

Living with the Land and Building Community Jesuit Volunteer (2019 – 2020)

Future of Alaska Policy Advocate

Social, Environmental, Economic Resiliency Policy Intern

STEVE FISH Board Vice President


BEN HUGHEY

MARY ALICE HENRY

WILLOW JACKSON

CLARICE JOHNSON

BRENDAN JONES

MARIAH LEESEBERG

Sitka Community Conservation Corps Program Leader

Board Member

Storytelling and Photography in Kake

Office Manager

Board Member

Board Secretary

AMY LI

DANE MCFADDEN

OLAN MOORE

RYAN MORSE

KEITH NYITRAY

SAMANTHA O'BRIEN

Board Member

Cabin Project Construction Lead

Communications and Outreach Coordinator

Board Treasurer

Board Member

CHANDLER O'CONNELL

KATE GRUMBLES

EMILY POUND

MURIEL REID

SIENNA REID

TRISTAN RHOADS

Community Catalyst

Living with the Land and Building Community Jesuit Volunteer (2020 – 2021)

Community Sustainability Organizer, 4-H and Community

Storyteller for Change

Culture, Environment, and Resource Management Intern

KATIE RILEY

KRYSTINA SCHELLER

JASMINE SHAW

ANDREW THOMS

Policy Engagement Director

Board Member

Board Member

Executive Director

Public Lands Communication Fellow (2020 – 2021)

CAROLYN RICE

Public Lands Communication Fellow (2019 – 2020)

The Sitka Conservation Society is strong because of the community of volunteers, staff, and partners who dedicate time and resources to our collective efforts.

Want to get more deeply involved? Reach out to us at info@sitkawild.org, visit our website at www.sitkawild.org and follow us on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Thank you to the staff, partners, volunteers, and storytellers who we called for more investment in Indigenous stewardship activities and programs.

Cabin Project Construction

Opposite: A rainbow shines over Harbor Mountain. © Lione Clare Photography. Above: Mt. Verstovia © Ellie Handler. Back cover: Misty Tongass forest. © Lione Clare Photography.

SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 33


PROTECTING THE TONGASS AND THE HEALTH OF THE LANDS, WATERS, AND COMMUNITIES THAT ARE SO INTRICATELY LINKED Founded in 1967, Sitka Conservation Society is Alaska’s oldest conservation organization. We work to protect the natural environment of the Tongass National Forest, while supporting the development of sustainable communities here in Southeast Alaska. This calendar and annual report is full of many stunning images of the Tongass and stories of how SCS and our community of partners work hard to protect it. Thank you for your support!

201 Lincoln Street, Suite 4 Sitka, Alaska 99835 info@sitkawild.org (907) 747-7509 www.sitkawild.org