SCS 2021 Annual Report (2022 Calendar)

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2022 CALENDAR SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY 2021 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 Ongoing Work of the Living Wilderness Fund Celebrating Clarice Johnson Letter from the SCS Executive Director Donors and Partners, Financial Report Supporting Recreation Development on the Tongass

11 13 15 17 19 21

A New Era of Collaboration on the Tongass The Cultural Uses of Forest Resources Workshop Gratitude for the Herring Gathering and Community Sitka 4-H: A Year of Head, Heart, Hands, and Health A Deeper Appreciation for Public Lands on the Tongass Bearing Witness to the Tongass National Forest

23 25 27 29 31 32

The Power of Cultivating Community Resilience Climate Action with Local Impacts Mitigating Climate Change with Local Solutions The Need for Permanent Tongass Protections Preparing Our Future Generations Together, We Are SCS: SCS Staff and Board

Cover photo: Mt. Edgecumbe (© AlaskanGrace Photography). Above: Tongass aerial (© Ryan Morse), salmon tails (© Bethany Goodrich Photography), fern (©Amy Li), ocean sunset (© Bethany Goodrich Photography), Starrigavan (© Ryan Morse). Opposite: sun breaks through the trees on Kruzof (© Bethany Goodrich Photography).


STRENGTHENING OUR CONNECTIONS TO THE NATURAL WORLD AND TO EACH OTHER A LETTER FROM THE SCS BOARD PRESIDENT

Dear Friends, This year has been full of conflict and uncertainty; issues like the ongoing pandemic, political polarization, and a rapidly changing climate have caused ripples of division in our communities. In the face of these challenges, Sitka

Much as we are all connected to each other, our health

This strategy came out of decades of hard work,

Conservation Society has been on a path of connection

is also deeply connected to the natural world around us.

patience, perseverance, and partnerships. We would

– locally through our work to support the development of

As we continued to see the impacts of climate change

not have made it here without the relationships of

sustainable communities in Southeast Alaska, as well as

this year, we were reminded time and time again how

the Sustainable Southeast Partnership and the tireless

globally in our mission to protect the Tongass.

important it is to protect one of our most important

advocacy efforts of Tribes, fishermen, harvesters,

Over the last year, SCS has continued to support the

resources in mitigating its impacts: the Tongass. The

tourism operators, small-scale wood workers, local

health of our communities through community food

Tongass has an important global role as a carbon sink,

community members, and many others. Thank you;

distribution programs. Beginning in the winter and

contributing to the health of the planet. These lands

Gunalchéesh; Háw'aa; T'oyaxsn. It doesn’t always seem

continuing through spring 2021, we partnered with

and waters are also a great unifier in these times of

like it, but our voices do matter; sometimes, we have

community businesses to deliver hundreds of USDA

polarization; we all rely on this place for our way of life.

to keep pushing for the right people to listen.

Farmers to Families food boxes weekly. In the summer,

This summer, we saw a huge victory when the USDA

I am honored to be a part of this amazing organi-

we hosted seafood meal distributions with partners,

announced both a new plan to reestablish the Roadless

zation as Board President, and I am honored to work

serving hundreds of free dinners to Sitkans in need of

Rule and a new strategy that halts all large-scale old

with all of you. May this coming year continue to be

assistance. SCS was also proud to continue sponsoring

growth timber sales on the Tongass. This new plan

a time of connecting, healing, and collaboration – for

the Sitka Public Library’s summer snack service, working

would focus on sustainable management of resources,

us, the Tongass, and the earth.

to ensure that Sitka’s youths are fed. Now more than ever,

meaningful consultation with Tribes, and collaboration

it’s important to recognize that supporting each other and

with stakeholders in Southeast Alaska to implement

honoring the land go hand in hand. As the economic and

this vision, reflecting the values of inclusiveness, collabo-

social impacts of this pandemic continue, so will the role

ration, and bottom-up management of the Tongass that

SCS plays in supporting the well-being of our community.

SCS values greatly.

— Debra Brushafer, SCS Board President

SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 1


THE LIVING WILDERNESS FUND As the planet warms, we at SCS recognize the foresight

Our wilderness program also helps us honor the lives

and wisdom of SCS members David and Marge Steward and

and legacies of advocates for the Tongass. In 2020, Zach

Lee and Linda Schmidt in creating the Living Wilderness

LaPerriere built a bench honoring Richard “Nels” Nelson

Fund, an endowment to permanently advocate for wilder-

from a fallen yellow cedar tree at a treasured listening

ness. Working with conservationist and philanthropist

spot for him along Thimbleberry Lake Trail. This project

Sam Skaggs, these founders of the Fund set up the endow-

happened because of the Living Wilderness Fund and

ment managed by the Alaska Conservation Foundation.

donors who made gifts to the Fund in honor of Nels.

Donations of many kinds contribute to the fund: in memory

In conjunction with our Wilderness Stewardship

of loved ones, to honor individuals, stock gifts, money left

partnership with the US Forest Service, we included

in wills, and contributions earmarked for that fund.

volunteers with our staff as they monitored National Forest lands in the West Chichagof-Yakobi, Pleasant,

a healthy planet. Our efforts to share the Tongass while

Lemesurier, and Inian Islands Wilderness and we

bringing attention to the importance of preserving and

maintained trails and restored areas that had been

stewarding lands and waters for future generations is core

negatively impacted. This hands-on stewardship work,

to our programs. While recognizing that wilderness means

along with sharing the stories of the inspiration people

many different things to different people, we are following

find in Wilderness and the importance of preserving

the lead of Jack Calvin and Chuck Johnstone, two of

intact ecosystems is a core part of SCS's work.

our founders, whose boat trips along the outer coast

By contributing to the Living Wilderness Fund, your

PHONOGRAPH PROJECT 2020 – 2021

of this magnificent rainforest built impetus to protect

support helps us celebrate the lives of wilderness advo-

West Chichagof and Yakobi Island by introducing policy

cates and their legacies by continuing their work to keep

makers directly to the raw power and beauty of this coastal

these wild places wild forever. We want to express our

ARTISTS & CHANGEMAKERS IN RESIDENCE

rainforest. Following their example, we are using the

gratitude for all who have contributed to the fund, and

property in the Lisianski Inlet left to us by Eric and Pam

encourage you to join us in building it, to ensure that there

Bealer as a retreat for artists, writers, and people involved

will always be a voice to advocate for these wild places.

in environmental work – people who will take their experience, share it widely, and advocate for the Tongass. This use of the property honors the artistic legacy of the Bealers. In 2021, we created opportunities for Sitkans Maureen O’Hanlon, Steve Lawrie, and Norm Campbell to have creative retreats. With support from the Alaska Conservation Foundation and Ayana Young of the ‘For the Wild’ podcast, we have also hosted changemakers and activists, including Julian Brave Noisecat, Maia Wikler, and Ruth Miller this year.

The Living Wilderness Fund is at $1,269,788

1.5 MILLION GOAL The Fund Supports a full-time staff position.

1 MILLION GOAL Accomplished!

500K GOAL Accomplished!

JULIAN BRAVE NOISECAT brontë velez JIORDI ROSALES STEPHANIE HEWETT MOLLY LEBOVEE JADE BEGAY MAYA WIKLER AYANA YOUNG RUTH MILLER COLTER BARNES TREVOR MOULTON NORM CAMPBELL STEVE LAWRIE MAITE LORENTE MAUREEN O'HANLON

Photos: Misty forest (© Lione Clare Photography), Norm Campbell drafting in Pelican (Lione Clare Photography), Julian Brave Noisecat in K'udeis X'é (© Heather Bauscher). LWF logo print by Nancy Behnken.

Old growth forests are a foundational component of


OUR WILD GRATITUDE FOR CLARICE JOHNSON

Photos: Clarice Johnson hiking in Herring Cove (© Muriel Reid), Clarice on Harbor Mountain in Sitka (© Bethany Goodrich Photography).

We at Sitka Conservation Society express our deep gratitude to Clarice Johnson for her work protecting the Tongass. Over the years, those warm lights on in the SCS office above the downtown bookshop late into the wintery darkness was Clarice Johnson putting together payroll. Clarice has been the organization’s rock, our longest standing, most dedicated advocate both for the Tongass, and for us as individuals. You may have seen her at community events renewing memberships, or if you are intrepid, way off trail on bushwack hikes in the forests and muskegs of the Tongass.As office manager, she not only oriented us to the office and our work, but she was also the kind, consistent presence that would hold us up when the work got too tough for any one person to handle alone. Clarice won the hearts of every single person who worked within these walls, and every single dog that rampaged through these halls! Clarice’s impact and relationship with the Tongass has

It was when SCS had a tangle of knots that no one else

In terms of influence and catalyzing change, Clarice has

been both powerful and deeply personal. Her passion for

would untangle that she stepped up and joined the staff.

had some of the most profound impact over the course

Southeast Alaska came from her experiences as a Lingít

During the year her first daughter was born, Clarice did

of SCS. The best type of advocate, like the best type of

woman of the Kiks.ádi clan growing up on her family’s

the work to build the foundation of the Sitka Conservation

friend, is the one who does not simply take you for what

commercial fishing boat. Working under the direction

Society. Tackling human resources paperwork, payrolls,

you are; they help you become better, by encouraging you

of her parents – the legendary longliner Moe Johnson

bank finances, note-taking, and the non-profit status and

and also challenging you. She never turned her back on

(Kaagwaantaan clan) and his wife Amy, she traveled the

certification, Clarice was the behind-the-scenes force that

difficult nuances and the complexities of the conservation

outer coast of Chichagof in the area that would become

kept the non-profit advocacy group running. Over 20

movement. In one moment Clarice would be jailed for

the West Chichagof Wilderness. Rather than sleeping

years later, SCS has never missed a payroll, and through

protesting Forest Service timber sales and in the next, she

once the lines were set, Clarice and her family would go

her efforts our scope and membership continues to grow

would be questioning the motives of Wilderness desig-

out and explore the islands of the Tongass.

by leaps and bounds. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit,

nation, prompting important dialogue on access, colonial

As she and her family later traveled along Chatham

it was Clarice who helped transition our organization

constructs, and inequity. In doing so, she made us all

Strait, they saw the devastation of large-scale clearcuts

into a remote office safely – still never missing a payroll.

better as individuals, and our movement stronger and

of the pulp mills that started in the 1950s. When she saw

She took care of our staff like we were family, all while

more effective than it could have ever been without her

how the timber industry devastated the old growth forests

challenging the dominant white-led conservationist

consistent and loving heart – and her busy hiking shoes.

on the mountainsides, Clarice stepped up to push back.

culture. As her children grew into talented young activists,

This year, as Clarice Johnson retires and steps down

During the height of the Tongass timber wars, Clarice was

students, and artists, Clarice has been consistently advo-

from her formal position with SCS, we know that her

there as a leading activist and board member of SCS when

cating and supporting the character of our community,

legacy will endure as the grounded and true foundation

the organization was just a band of Sitkans who were often

our environment, and the old growth forests that we love

of our community organization.

despised for speaking out against the dominant culture.

and live within.

Thank you, Gunalchéesh, Clarice Johnson. SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 3


Photos (L-R, Top-Bottom): Winter sunset (© Lione Clare Photography), starry night over the site of Shís’gi Noow in Sitka National Historic Park (© Michael Standridge), woman holding her salmon atch of the day (© Bethany Goodrich Photography), Marina Anderson with Organized Village of Kasaan and Justin Donnelley with the US Forest Service during the Cultural Uses of Forest Resources workshop (© Bethany Goodrich Photography), view of Sitka and Mt. Edgecumbe from Verstovia (© Bethany Goodrich Photography), Tongass aerial (© Ryan Morse), SCS's Sitka Mutual Aid seafood distribution (© Lione Clare Photography), SCS Community Conservation Corps and Erik de Jong repairing the cold water system in Goddard (© Lione Clare Photography), Sitka 4-Hers building a shelter (© Lione Clare Photography), fireweed (© John Paul Castle).

THE FUTURE OF THE TONGASS DEPENDS ON MEANINGFUL COLLABORATION A LETTER FROM THE SCS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Dear Members and Supporters: If there’s anything that this pandemic has shown us these past two years, it’s how much we depend upon each other, as well as how interdependent we are with our natural environment. As a natural phenomenon, COVID-19 serves as a stark reminder that despite our technological advancements, we are still part of this natural world; that we are subject to its rules and must listen to the science, because the unsustainable systems can’t, and won’t, last. We also continue to see how another disaster, climate change, is altering life on the planet, as fires, hurricanes, floods, and heat dictate how and where we live. As many of us in Sitka celebrated some “abnormally” sunny weather this summer, many of our families and friends in the lower 48 experienced historic heat waves. Records set one day were broken the next, creating challenges to communities, especially those already hit the hardest by the pandemic. These two concurrent events show us just how delicate our relationship with our environment is. They have shown humanity at our best, as we band together to support each other, as well as at our worst, when others exploit fear and misinformation to weave distrust and conflict.


Our work this year was focused on supporting the health and healing of our communities and environment. Locally, we continued our work practicing community care, working with local businesses, restaurants, and seafood processors to deliver food boxes and meals to Sitkans. We continued programs that foster youth leadership and civic engagement, like Sitka 4-H and our youth internships, and fielded new ones that harnessed the healing power of these lands and waters, such as our work connecting changemakers and artists with the Tongass through our Phonograph Creek residency project. Regionally and statewide, we advocated for the reinstatement of the Roadless Rule, and worked with partners to support new, sustainable models for Southeast Alaska, such as the Southeast Alaska Sustainability Strategy and the Wood Products for Cultural Use Project, focused on working towards healing and rebuilding after generations of conflict in the Tongass. I am proud to share with you this annual report, sharing stories of these programs. At Sitka Conservation Society, we are committed

"For our communities to be sustainable and have an intact environment that we can use and depend upon, we need to learn how to work at our best – together."

to a form of conservation and sustainability focused on collaboration, reciprocity, and respect. For our communities to be sustainable and have an intact environment that we can use and depend upon, we need to learn how to work at our best – together. We are honored to work with so many incredible Tribes, harvesters, artists, construction workers, businesses, recreators, fishermen, hunters, community leaders, and many more. Haa shukaadéi Wóoch.een yagaxtookoox. We will go forward into our future together.

— Andrew Thoms, SCS Executive Director

Photos (Top-Bottom, L-R): moon over Mt. Verstovia (© AlaskanGrace Photography) yellow cedar bark being prepared for weaving (© Bethany Goodrich Photography), SCS USDA Farmers to Families distribution (© Lione Clare Photography), Starrigavan (© Ryan Morse), old growth forest (© Ryan Morse), eagle nesting in the trees (© Amy Li), 2021 Herring Gathering (© Muriel Reid), cloudy skies over Sitka (© Amy Li), 4-Hers planting trees (© Lione Clare Photography), troller out on the water in Southeast Alaska (© John Paul Castle).

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 Alaska Center Alaska Community Forest Council Alaska Community Foundation Alaska Community on Toxics Alaska Conservation Foundation Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association Alaska Marine Conservation Council Alaska Marine Lines Alaska Marine Safety Education Association Alaska Native Brotherhood Camp #1 Alaska Native Sisterhood Camp #4 Alaska Power & Telephone Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust Alaska Youth for Environmental Action Alaska Tokens Alaska Trollers Association Alaska Wilderness League Alaska Venture Fund Alchemy Charitable Foundation Aleut Community of St. Paul Island Allen Marine Tours American Endowment Foundation Artchange, Inc Artist Cove Gallery Audubon Society Alaska Backdoor Cafe Bagheera Sailing Baranof Island Artists Baranautica Air Service Bayview Pub Beak Restaurant Birch Equipment Rental and Sales Blatchley Middle School Brave Heart Volunteers Campion Foundation Captain Gary’s Sitka Adventures Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska Chicobi Charters Fishing Citizens' Climate Lobby, AK Chapter City of Hoonah City and Borough of Sitka Clovis Foundation Coast Guard Spouses' and Women's Association of Sitka Common Stream Foundation Crossroads Photography Workshops Eaglemere Foundation Ecotrust Edgerton Foundation Edible Alaska Equinox Alaska Fish Baranof Fisheye Cafe Fisherman’s Quay First Alaskans Institute

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First Bank For the Wild Fortress of the Bear F/V Northwind F/V Kariel George H. and Jane A. Mifflin Memorial Fund Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation Greater Sitka Art Council Grow Southeast Gwydion Fund for Wild Nature Haida Corporation Hames Corporation Hames Athletic and Wellness Center Harry Race Pharmacy Herring Protectors Highliner Coffee Co. Hoonah Indian Association Hoonah Native Forest Partnership Hydaburg Cooperative Association Inian Islands Institute Island Bus Company Islandview Resort and Charter Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest Kai Environmental Consulting Services Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary Kids Kupboard Klawock Cooperative Association Leighty Foundation Lead to Life LSF Marine Supplies Lisianski Inlet Cafe Ludvig's Bistro Margaret A. Cargill Foundation Mean Queen Mount Edgecumbe High School National Forest Foundation National Parks Conservation Association National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance Native Conservancy New Ventures Fund Old Harbor Books Organized Village of Kake Organized Village of Kasaan Our Town Catering Outer Coast Pacific High School Pacific Wings Pardee RAND Graduate School Patagonia Rasmuson Foundation Raven’s Hook Renewable Energy Alaska Project RAND Corporation Riley Family Fund Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition Russell’s S. B. Foundation S/V Snowdragon II Salmon State S/V Mycia SalmonBeyondBorders SeaMart Quality Foods Sealaska Seafood Producers Cooperative

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Seventh Generation Fund Shee Atiká Incorporated Sitka Alaska Permanent Charitable Trust Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition Sitka Bulk Goods Sitka Chamber of Commerce Sitka Counseling Sitka Elks Lodge Sitka Emblem Club Sitka Electric Car Group Sitka Farmers Market Sitka Fine Arts Camp Sitka Fire Department Sitka Food Co-op Sitka High School Sitka Health Summit Coalition Sitka Historical Society & Museum Sitka Kitch Sitka Legacy Foundation Sitka Local Foods Network Sitka Lutheran Church Sitka National Historic Park, Natl Park Service Sitka Native Education Program Sitka Pioneer Home Sitka Public Health Center Sitka Public Library Sitka Rose Gallery Sitka Rotary Club 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 Tribe’s Seator Lab Sitka Tribal Enterprise Sitka Whalefest Sitka White Elephant Shop Sitka Wildlife Adventures Sitkans Against Family Violence Sound Sailing Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Southeast Alaska Fish Habitat Partnership Southeast Alaska Independent Living Southeast Dough Co. Spenards Builder Supply Spruce Root, Inc. St Peter's by-the-Sea Episcopal Church St Peter’s Fellowship Farm State of Alaska Division of Forestry State of Alaska Department of Fish and Game Tenakee Logging Company Thimbleberry Bay House The Emergency Network The Leah Weinberg Charitable Fund The Nature Conservancy The Seattle Foundation The Sustainable Southeast Partnership The Wilderness Society

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Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership TM Construction Training Rural Alaska Youth and Leaders Project Training Resources for Environmental Community Trout Unlimited True North Foundation Turner Foundation UPrinting US Coast Guard USDA Forest Service USFS Pacific Northwest Research Lab University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension University of Alaska Southeast Visit Sitka Vortex Optics Wintersong Soap Company Wilburforce Foundation Work and Rugged Gear Woven in the Waves Yakutat Tlingit Tribe Yakutat Surf Club Youth Advocates of Sitka Youth for Sustainable Futures

We also thank the following individuals for their generous donations and contributions: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Aaron Poe Adam Kolton Adam Wolfensohn Alice Johnstone Allison Barnwell Alyce Todd Alyssa Russel Amy Gulick Andrea Cook Andrew Shen Anne Green Arlene Levy Austin Williams Ayana Young B. Koehler Barbara Sparling Ben Clark Ben Hamilton and Katina Rajunov Ben Marolf Benjamin Kyle Bert Bergman Beth Short-Rhoads Betty Thoms Bill and Sherry Foster Blain and Monique Anderson Bob Christensen Bob and Kim Hunter Bonnie Harris Brenda Berry Brian Meyer brontë velez Brooks Areson Bruce Bowen Cabot & Cynthia Christianson


We also thank the following individuals for their generous donations and contributions: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Cameo Padilla Carla De Solat Eaton Carol Voisin Catherine Parker Charles Bingham Charles Wilber Charlie Skultka Jr Chester and Miriam Meyers Cindy and Sherman Wong Cleo and Scott Brylinsky Collauna and Ross Marley Family Connie Sipe Coulter Barnes Cynthia Gibson Davey Lubin David Marcus David Middleton and Claire Beck David Miller DeNaya Green Debbie Miller Diana Dapcevich Dixie Hutchinson Don Surgeon Galen Paine Doug Nethercut Douglas Adams Douglas Arpert Dustin Solberg Ed Davis Edith Johnson Edward Allen and Carol Colby Elaine Andrews and Roger DuBrock Elizabeth Shen Ellie Schmidt Elliot McIntire Eric DeBold Erik Sundholm Erin Heist Eugene Solovyov Evy Kinnear Floyd Tomkins and Connie Kreiss Gale and Phil Brownell Gary Paxton Gerald and Kathleen Gangle/ McCrossin Grace Brooks and Charlie Morgan Grace Harang Hank Lentfer Hannah Hamberg Hao-Li Loh Heather Shade Ian Strachan Irene Dundas Isabella Haywood J Bradley Brickman James Clare and Krisanne Rice James Faro James Robinson Jane Ellis Jeff Mckay Jeff Phillippe Jeffrey Kelly Jerry Deppa Jerry Dzugan

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Jill Weitz Jim Kyle Jim Slater Jim Steffen Jiordi Rosales Joanne and John Kleis Joel Jackson John Baciocco John Hillman John Holahan John Paul Castle John Sisk Jon R Martin Joseph Driskill Joseph Webb Josh Burch Joyce Reyman Judith Lehmann Julia Cheng Julian Brave Noisecat Karen Hegyi Karen Miller Karen and Jeff Wilson Karl Potts Katherine Prussian Kathy DiTroia Kendall Whitney Kenyon Fields Kim Ney Kimberly Bakkes Klaudia Leccese Larry Calvin Laura Oatman Laura Schmidt Laurence Dean Lee House Leonard Steinberg Leslie Downey Lexi Fish Linda Janacek Lisa Bykonen and Greg Watchers Lisa Weinstein Louise Brady Lynette Blankenship Lynn Hubbard and David Zapolsky Maite Lorente Mandy Summer Marcel LaPerriere Marian Allen Marina Anderson Mark Anderson Mark Malizia Martin Remund Mary Barrett Mary Brady Mary Pat Schilly Mary Soltis Math and Renee Trafton Matt Catterson Matt Foruria Matt Goff Matt Rafferty Matthew Hunter Jessica Pyatt Maureen O’Hanlon Maya Wikler Mei Mei and Grace Doe

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Michael Mayo Michael Standridge Mike Derzon and Robin Supplee Mike Thoms Mike Trotter Mimzy Wellberg Molly Johnson Molly Leebove Moses Johnson Muriel Reid Nancy Waterman and Bill Leighty Nancy Yaw-Davis Nancy and Stan Barge Nicole Filipek Nina Maus Nolan (Patrick) Veesart Norm and Toby Campbell Ocean Mayo Olan Moore Pat Kehoe and Howard Pendell Patrick Shannon Paul Robbins Paula Riggert Paula Wisness Peggy Fedoroff Peter Apathy Peter Brabeck Phil Burdick Rachel Myron Rafe Hanson Rob Merchant Robbie Littlefield Robert McNicholas Robert Schell Robin Sherman Roland Wirth Roman Motyka Russell Heath Ruth Miller Ryan Wilhelm Sam Skaggs and Amy Volz Sandie and Ted Menmuir Sandra J Kincheloe Sara and Tad Beaber-Fujioka Sarah Ferrency Scott Nathan Sean Brennan Sienna Reid Sonia Ibarra Stephanie Hewitt Stephen Abbott Stephen Childs Steve Lawrie Susan Bleil Susan Padilla Susan and Mike Litman Tehanah Smith Timothy Riley Tina Shen Tom Handler Tom and Diana Allen Travis Clemens Trevor Moulton Tristan Rhoads and Jenny Goddard Tyler Grant Valerie Edwards

• • • • • • • • •

Victoria Curran Victoria Vosburg Vincent Castellucci Wayne Owen Wendy Sawyer Will Sirokman William Miller William and Jean Yue Zia Brucaya

Thank you to all who have contributed to the Sitka Mutual Aid Network, supporting the health and resilience of our community. We are also grateful to all the fishermen who donated to the Fish to Schools program for making sure that Sitka’s youth have access to nutritious, local salmon and rockfish. Thank you so much!

FINANCIAL REPORT These figures represent the first two thirds of Sitka Conservation Society's total income and expenses for 2021, and the complete year for 2020.

2021 INCOME $1,067,100

Grants (73%) Donations and Membership (14%) Other Income (13%) Grant Income for specific projects: $224,342

2020 INCOME $1,495,879

Grants (83%) Donations and Membership (14%) Other Income (3%) Grant Income for specific projects: $ 646,897

2021 EXPENSES $814,705

Personnel (49%) Events & Outreach (1%) Programs (35%) Operations (15%)

Grant Expenses for specific projects: $191,451

2020 EXPENSES $1,349,542

Personnel (52%) Events & Outreach (2%) Programs (31%) Operations (15%)

Grant Expenses for specific projects: $603,756 SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 7


JANUARY 20

22

We watched the sunset knowing it would be a long and cold night, but that the dawn would arrive more beautiful than we could imagine.


SUPPORTING COMMUNITIES THROUGH RECREATION DEVELOPMENT AMY LI 2020 – 2021 Public Lands Communication Fellow As the pandemic decimated job opportunities nationwide, unemployment rates increased by 17% in Southeast Alaska in 2020, making it the most economically impacted region in Alaska. Recognizing the need for economic relief in Sitka, the Sitka Conservation Society established the Community Conservation Corps, a transitional employment program funded by CARES Act funding from the City and Borough of Sitka aimed at stimulating the local economy and building workforce capacity by giving jobs to unemployed, underemployed, and furloughed workers. Led by Sitkans Ben Hughey and Blain Anderson, the Corps took on half a dozen projects, ranging from maintaining the Presbyterian Cemetery with local cemetery restoration expert Bob Sam, to constructing a mountain bike trail along the Cross Trail, to repairing the cold water system at Goddard Hot Springs, employing nine Sitkans and a dozen local contractors along the way. With a timeline of less than four months, the Corps was also able to renovate the Tom Young cabin and its outhouse, revegetate portions of the Cross Trail and install signposts, develop a vision for a hut-to-hut trail network on remote coastline from Kanga Bay to Big Bay, and complete a variety of other public works maintenance projects, such as cleaning up over 400 pounds of trash, improving trails, and setting up a bench at Thimbleberry Lake to commemorate the life of Richard Nelson. A sustainable community must be multifaceted and adaptive. During difficult times, it is all the more important to work toward shared goals that benefit the broader community. By supporting existing community assets and developing new ones, not only were Corps members, contractors, and partner organizations aided through these work opportunities, but the thousands of future users who live and visit the Tongass will reap the benefits of improved recreation opportunities. There is still much to be done, but the Corps was a strong start to addressing necessary public works projects and provides a path forward for additional sustainable economic development in Sitka and Southeast.

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Month photo: Snowy sunset from Mt. Edgecumbe on the edge of the caldera (© Lione Clare Photography). Below: towering trees at Blue Lake (© AlaskanGrace Photography), air bubbles in the ice (© Lione Clare Photography), winter sunset (© Amy Li), SCS Community Conservation Corps worker Greta Healy (© Lione Clare Photography), the Listening Place bench (©Lione Clare Photography), rainbow over Listening Place bench (© Debbie S Miller).

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Martin Luther King Jr. Day

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31 RICHARD NELSON'S LISTENING PLACE In fall 2020, we honored the life of Richard Nelson with a beautiful yellow cedar bench installed at one of his favorite spots beside Thimbleberry Lake. This project involved milling a fallen yellow cedar tree over the ridge from the lake, hiring local carpenter Zach LaPerriere to craft the bench, and the Conservation Corps preparing and fixing up the site and trail for the bench. This project happened through the Living Wilderness Fund and the donors who graciously honored Nelson’s legacy through financial contribution. SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 9


FEBRUARY 20

22

The giant pacific octopus is a master of its domain in the undersea kelp forests of Southeast Alaska. Its movements are zen, dramatic, and fierce, and it carries deep undersea secrets that are unknowable to us.


A NEW ERA OF COLLABORATION ON THE TONGASS NATIONAL FOREST BETHANY GOODRICH with GOOS’K’ RALPH WOLFE

Month photo: North Pacific giant octopus (© Ellie Schmidt). Below: Merganser followed by young (© Michael Standridge), Marina Anderson with the Organized Village of Kasaan touches a smooth cedar trunk after the bark is removed (© Bethany Goodrich Photography), Yakutat Surf Camp (© Bethany Goodrich Photography), Charlie Skulta at Yakutat Surf Camp (© Bethany Goodrich Photography), Surf Camp © Bethany Goodrich Photography).

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Sustainable Southeast Partnership In 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a shift in policy direction on the Tongass National Forest to better respond to the social and economic realities of Southeast Alaska. The agency is tapping local leaders to set that new course – including the Sustainable Southeast Partnership. SSP is a dynamic collective uniting diverse skills and perspectives to strengthen cultural, ecological, and economic resilience across Southeast Alaska. Over a decade ago, Sitka Conservation Society helped form the Partnership as an approach to move away from conflict and into a new era of collaboration. The SSP includes Tribal governments, communityminded organizations, local businesses, native corporations and entities, educators, culture bearers, state and federal agencies, storytellers and much more. The USDA’s new policy, the Southeast Alaska Sustainable Strategy, includes an investment of $25 million in financial and technical resources for sustainable economic growth and community well-being. The USDA seeks to complement the ongoing regional efforts including efforts of the SSP like community forest initiatives and youth workforce development programs. Sitka Conservation Society looks forward to developing solutions, strategies, and identifying meaningful investments for our region with our partners. As SSP Program Director Goos’k’ Ralph Wolfe puts it, “What’s next is that we need to move past a false dichotomy of there being either old-growth timber or economic strength and recognize that timber has played a small role in our economic portfolio for years. Let’s invest our energy, resources, funding, brainpower, and workforce in Southeast Alaska on moving forward and looking at the new path we are navigating. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to it. Whether you are Indigenous or not, work for a federal agency or run a local coffee shop, are an elder or are still in high school, there is a role for you too.”

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YAKUTAT SURF CAMP: EMBRACING THE HEALING POWER OF OUR WATERS Recognizing the healing and empowering nature of surfing, a growing group of local and visiting surfers, culture bearers, teachers, lifeguards, and more are working to inspire Yakutat youth to step into the break. For the last three years, Yakutat Surf Club (YSC) has offered safety training, coaching, wetsuits, lifeguards, food, encouragement and more to youth. SCS is a supporter of Yakutat Surf Camp and this year brought local Sitka surfing legend Charlie Skultka to Yakutat as part of a community and cultural exchange. Programs like these remind us of the power of working together to connect ideas, resources, and people-power.

SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 11


MARCH 20

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The ways of knowing this one tree species, teey woodí – the yellow cedar – and all its uses and all the things that make it so special, takes generations to learn and to be able to fully appreciate.


THE CULTURAL USES OF FOREST RESOURCES WORKSHOP KATIE RILEY

Month photo: Teey woodí yellow cedar used for weaving (© Bethany Goodrich Photography). Below: a fog lifts off of the Tongass forest (© Amy Li), Hydaburg mayor and Hydaburg Cooperative Association’s Natural Resource department leader Anthony Christianson harvests cedar bark during the Cultural Uses of Forest Resources workshop (© Bethany Goodrich Photography), totem poles (© Bethany Goodrich Photography).

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SCS Policy Director

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For seven years, the Sitka Conservation Society has been collaborating with partners across the region to research the cultural value of cedar trees – a cultural and ecological keystone species in the landscape of Southeast Alaska. In 2021, SCS and fellow collaborators in the Sustainable Southeast Partnership put this research into practice by sponsoring a workshop on Prince of Wales Island titled ‘Cultural Uses of Forest Resources.’ The Organized Village of Kasaan and the Hydaburg Cooperative Association hosted a twoday workshop for Forest Service timber cruisers and silviculturists. Culture bearers, tribal staff, and youth taught Forest Service employees about the uses that the Lingít, Haida, and Tsimshian people of the region have for the local tree species. Forest Service employees had the chance to partake in many of the cultural activities, a unique opportunity for many of them. They wove cedar bark into headbands with Haida culture bearer Chris Tolson and witnessed the harvesting of cedar bark by Hydaburg community leader Tony Christianson. During the field day, they collaborated with tribal staff to identify and catalogue trees on the landscape that would be suitable for totem poles, canoes, and bentwood boxes. This was a shared learning opportunity between people with a deep cultural reverence for cedar trees, and those whose decisions directly impact the future of this ancient resource. This workshop and the continuing work are addressing the century-long struggle between the Indigenous people of Southeast Alaska and a land management agency that was not originally created to appreciate the broad value that these forest resources have for the original inhabitants of this land. SCS is proud to support this work as the Forest Service begins to implement its new direction outlined in the USDA’s 2021 Southeast Alaska Sustainability Strategy of “meaningful consultation with Tribal governments and Alaska Native corporations.” We hope that this direction leads to management of this region in a more holistic manner that appreciates the diverse values that the Tongass encapsulates.

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THE RED CEDAR YOUTH AMBASSADORS At the heart of our work is protecting the resources, environment, and communities of the Tongass so that future generations can thrive. SCS sponsored six local youth from Kake and Prince of Wales Island to attend the ‘Cultural Uses of Forest Resources’ workshop as Red Cedar Youth Ambassadors. Youth Ambassador Mamie Crookes from Kake reflects on what the experience meant to her: “I learned from Deb Head and Marina Anderson that you gather bark with respect, and I know that we need to keep mother nature in balance. We have to be conservative when it comes to red and yellow cedar; you can’t be greedy.”

SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 13


APRIL 20

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On the coasts of the Sitka Sound, the herring spawn, and the year begins. From the arrival of these little fish, many more follow. When we eat those first eggs and feel that crunch, we are connected to all of our coast’s interdependence.


GRATITUDE FOR THE HERRING GATHERING AND COMMUNITY K'ASHEECHTLAA LOUISE BRADY

Month photo: Herring Spawn off of the shore of Kruzof (© Ellie Schmidt). Below: Tail of a humpback whale (© Lione Clare Photography), photos from the 2021 Herring Celebration (© Muriel Reid), 2019 Herring Koo.eex' (©Bethany Goodrich Photography).

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HERRING PROTECTORS If you have experienced spring in Sitka, you have seen the birds and mammals gathering in a cacophony of joy, brought together by the herring. The 2021 Herring Gathering was the human version of this celebration. Hundreds of people came together, wearing masks to protect one another, to take part in ceremony and express our joy around herring season. We celebrated having herring eggs. We shared a meal. We witnessed the dancing of the new Herring Robes that tell the story of Kaxátjaashaa, the Herring Rock Woman, who was the first to call the Yaaw, the herring. We heard powerful speakers and we reflected on our common connections to herring. We must also acknowledge that it took hardship to get there. We mourned the loss of people who left too soon, and mourned the herring runs that no longer return up and down the coast. We didn’t know what the season would be like and there is always risk when on the lands and waters of Lingít Aaní. Even though we weren’t sure, we kept setting the branches, and we are grateful that it turned out to be a good harvest. I think that this is like the work of creating a community with the spirit of yáa at wooné, respect for all things. We don’t know how people will respond, but we know that the work is good and we keep moving forward. And that’s what we felt at the Gathering. It was cold and snowy and windy, but many people came together and the overwhelming feeling was one of joy for the community. There are so many people to thank for the Gathering. We have profound gratitude for the herring egg harvesters who were so generous with their harvest. For the countless community members that put their hearts into making gifts, making food, assembling the robes, sharing their art and skills, planning and setting up. For the Herring Protectors, the Kiks.adí, the Kaxátjaa Sháa, our elders, our ancestors, and the herring spirits that have been with us all along the way. Gunalchéesh tlein.

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YÁA AT WOONÉ, RESPECT FOR ALL THINGS The traditional harvesting of wild foods is rooted in the values of respect, stewardship and community. SCS is a proud supporter of the Herring Protectors' film Yáa at Wooné (Respect for All Things) that uplifts these values and calls for the protection of the Sitka Sound herring population and the Indigenous lifeways sustained by the herring. The film has been selected and recognized at several film festivals, including winning the International Ocean Film Festival's 2021 Coastal Culture Award. The film is a gift that allows audiences the opportunity to learn about the relationship between the herring and the Lingít people that has existed since time immemorial and also to reflect on what is sacred and in need of protection in their own place. SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 15


MAY 20

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From soil and rocks, the roots of the Sitka Spruce tree pull the compounds and elements they need, and send them up through their massive trunks to a concentration at the tips of their branches to create the year’s new growth.


SITKA 4-H: A YEAR OF HEAD, HEART, HANDS, AND HEALTH KATE GRUMBLES Living with the Land and Building Community Jesuit Volunteer

This past year, I served as the Living with the Land and Building Community Coordinator, a position hosted at Sitka Conservation Society through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest. In this role, I led the Sitka Spruce Tips 4-H club, a partnership between SCS and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service that empowers youth by connecting them with their natural environment and community here in Southeast Alaska. I began in August 2020, a unique moment in terms of health and life. While the COVID-19 pandemic provided us with challenges, through partnerships and relationships we were able to successfully continue our programming that got 4-Hers outside and engaging with the community. We approached 4-H programming differently this year, dividing it into “seasons” representing each of the 4 H’s: Health, Heart, Hands, and Head. We started off the year focused on Health, in both our own lives and the health of the natural environment of the Tongass; we went on hikes, emphasized mindfulness practices for kids, and cooked with ingredients like wild berries that we collected together. For our second section, Heart, we focused on sharing and building community; making cards for the Pioneer Home, learning how to make eco-friendly gifts, and building connections with adult mentors in the community. For Hands, we tried new hands-on skills together like block-print carving, photography, fire-starting and plant identification. In summer, we transitioned to Head in the midst of a busy schedule of summer camps. For 4-H, this means learning new skills like practicing kayaking technique, identifying intertidal creatures, trying the art of dyeing wool, developing biking knowledge, and learning to crochet. Our personal health depends on the health of our community and the ecosystem around us; we all benefit from connections with people of all ages and walks of life. Thank you to all of our partners who helped make this year so special for 4-Hers and myself!

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Month photo: Sitka Spruce tips – the yearly new growth (© Lione Clare Photography). Below: Sitka Spruce Tips 4-Her picking deer hearts (©Lione Clare Photography), 4-Hers in Totem Park (© Cora Dow), 4-H Garden (© Cora Dow), a Sitka 4-Her holds an invasive European black slug (© Hannah Reynolds).

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A HANDS-ON TAKE TO LEARNING ABOUT INVASIVE SPECIES IN SOUTHEAST ALASKA Sitka Spruce Tips 4-Hers gathered with SCS staff in July 2021 at the Starrigavan Recreation Area for the 4-H Slug Walk. At this walk, both 4-Hers and staff collected and disposed of the invasive European black slugs that proliferate the area. This walk took place to recognize Alaska Invasive Species week, and to give 4-Hers a hands-on opportunity to identify invasive species and take care of their natural environment here in the Tongass National Forest. The first sightings of European black slugs in Sitka were recorded in 2004, and they have spread across town since then. All in all, 4-Hers were able to remove over seven hundred black slugs from the area.

SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 17


JUNE 20

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It is truly amazingto be in a place where you can look out and see a landscape that you can wander as you wish, bound by only nature’s obstacles. These public lands are our collective responsibility to love and care for.


A DEEPER APPRECIATION FOR PUBLIC LANDS ON THE TONGASS KATE GUINEY Public Lands and Sustainable Tourism Intern Glorious, towering mountains hiding behind a hazy mist, blue ocean waters filled with salmon, and skies with soaring eagles and ravens greeted me when I stepped off my plane in Sitka. Having grown up in Ohio, my experience with public lands only amounted to short walks in parks and state forests. The land of the Shawnee and Hopewell people, once 98% forested, is now mostly private agriculture, and colonial destruction has hidden the history of peoples who first inhabited it. It took days for me to adjust to the majesty of the Tongass, and even longer to understand the deep connections between this land and the communities that rely on it. Over the summer, I’ve seen harvesters fill their freezers with wild foods and listened to their stories of hikes through muskeg and alpine. I’ve ridden on fishing and tourist boats and learned from local businesses about their economic dependence on the surrounding ecosystems. I’ve listened to Alaska Native storytellers share how the Lingít, Haida, and Tsimshian peoples have stewarded the natural resources of the Tongass for generations. There are profound ecological, cultural, and economic impacts implicated in the management of these lands. My conversations with the people of the Tongass have shown me that the stewardship of these lands and waters concerns us all, and will only be sustained by working together. Sustaining stakeholders’ connections to the Tongass is only possible through partnerships between the people and entities who steward them, such as the Forest Service, local governments, and organizations like SCS with a vested interest in managing forest resources and taking care of our public lands. We need the federal and local government to collaborate with and listen to the Tribes whose traditional practices and programs demonstrate the potential for Southeast Alaskan communities to flourish along with the land. To ensure that future generations continue to thrive here, we all have a responsibility to promote the partnerships in land management that will sustain Southeast Alaskan communities.

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Month photo: A hiker sits and looks out from Starrigavan (© Michael Standridge). Below: Tongass arial view (© Ryan Morse), Michael Melendrez with the USFS wearing a cedar headband under his gov't issued hardhat (© Bethany Goodrich Photography), Hiker observing a Southeast Alaska waterfall (© John Paul Castle), SCS staff, partners, and volunteers offloading lumber for Kanga Bay cabin renovations (© Lione Clare Photography).

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RESTORING THE KANGA BAY CABIN In spring 2021, SCS, volunteers, partners, and our specialized remote wilderness construction crew worked hard to restore the Kanga Bay cabin. Built in '98, harsh weather conditions took their toll on the deck and siding, and repeated use and exposure to the elements left the fireplace and woodshed worn down. A new woodshed was built using locally milled lumber from salvaged dead trees and from urban removal trees. Over the past 3 years, SCS has worked with the Forest Service and community partners to renovate public-use cabins across the Tongass. The project was made possible by the National Forest Foundation through a grant from the Rasmuson Foundation, matched by the Alaska Forest Fund.

SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 19


JULY 20

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Our little town sits under the mountains of Shee and at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. This little nook is called Sheet'ka X'aat'i, Sitka Sound, an ecological hot spot in the middle of the Tongass National Forest.


SITKA MUTUAL AID: OUR SECOND YEAR OF COMMUNITY CARE RYAN MORSE Communications and Outreach Coordinator Community health is an integral part of our mission at SCS; we can’t protect the Tongass without supporting the people who live here. In 2020, we launched the Sitka Mutual Aid Network, an initiative to build community resilience and fight food insecurity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the course of a year, we provided over $100,000 of food assistance in the form of grocery gift cards, meals and special distributions, enrolled over 275 households in the Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association's seafood donation program, and distributed over 70,000 pounds of food to Sitkans via the USDA Farmers to Families food box program. In 2021, as communities across the world continue to be affected by this pandemic, continues its work to practice community care. In spring 2021, we partnered with AC Lakeside to deliver hundreds of food boxes to households weekly as part of the USDA Farmers to Families program. For distributions, SCS hired the Island Bus Company, a local business impacted by the pandemic, to provide contactless door-to-door delivery to households who otherwise may not have had access to this resource. We delivered over 2,300 food boxes, serving an average of 765 people a week – around 9% of Sitka’s population. As cases of COVID-19 increased in Sitka in the summer, SCS's Sitka Mutual Aid hosted three seafood meal distributions in partnership with Our Town Catering, Sitka Salmon Shares, and ALFA. Together, we served over 700 hot, free dinners to households needing food assistance. Supporting the wellbeing of our community nourishes our connections to this place and each other, reminding us of our gratitude for the health and productivity of this community, as well as these lands and waters we all rely on. As we continue this work, we want to express gratitude to all who have supported us in this work; thank you to the hundreds of donors and community partners, our volunteers and members, and to the Lingít people for modeling the values of reciprocity, respect and community that has shaped our approach to this program.

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Month photo: Sitka Sound (© Lione Clare Photography). Below: Sitka sunset from Totem Park (© Michael Standridge), ferns (© Amy Li), photos from the SCS Sitka Mutual Aid summer seafood meal distributions (© Lione Clare Photography), foggy morning in the Sitka ANB Harbor (© Bethany Goodrich Photography).

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SUMMER SEAFOOD DISTRIBUTIONS This summer, SCS's Sitka Mutual Aid Network conducted three free seafood meal distributions. Through this program, local seafood processors donated salmon and rockfish and SCS hired local restaurants to prepare meals, providing a muchneeded source of income during the pandemic. This summer, over 700 meals were distributed to community members experiencing food insecurity, providing both access to food as well as connection to our community and our lands and waters. SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 21


AUGUST 20

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“Wish not for a long life so much as an understanding and awareness for each of life’s moments…” – Laurence Craig-Green, For.


CULTIVATING COMMUNITY RESILIENCY IN SOUTHEAST ALASKA CARLY DENNIS Youth Development Coordinator Salmon – and the old growth forests that nourish them – are resilient. Here on the Tongass, we are lucky to have a healthy and intact old growth habitat that contains the rivers and streams where hundreds of thousands of salmon spawn. Though hot weather might cause the river temperatures to rise, old growth shade provides respite for fish. The forest's fallen trees provide shelter during flooding, and intact watersheds with few or no roads ensure clean water, even when global conditions threaten our oceans. Healthy habitat makes an ecosystem resilient: it can absorb stress without collapsing. As our communities emerge from a period of enormous hardship, we have much to learn about resilience from these systemic relationships on the Tongass. The Covid pandemic isn’t over yet, and we will continue to see its impacts and effects for years to come, echoing into and disturbing our own downstream patterns. We’ll face new, unknown challenges from climate change that will exceed the intensity and scale of the pandemic. However we, like salmon, can be resilient. When we’re working together at our best, our communities function like a healthy old-growth habitat; good education systems, social support structures, universal health care, hard work, competent leadership, and strong core values can help us to respond to crises, whether it’s a global pandemic or a landslide. At SCS, our mission is to steward the land, including the intact habitat that salmon depend on, and to build communities that benefit from and are inspired by the rich resilience of the Tongass. The coming years will bring times of recovery, as well as challenges. We must remember that the things that strengthen our communities are as interconnected as the old growth habitat of the Tongass. Intact and functional ecosystems, together with healthy and strong communities joined together by strong core values, will prepare us to take on unknown challenges. Our job is to observe and learn from the Tongass – and from the people who continue to use and depend upon it.

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Month photo: Salmon swimming underwter (© Ellie Schmidt). Below: Angel's wings mushroom (© Bethany Goodrich Photography),Castilleja (© John Paul Castle), fisherman on the deck loading his catch (© John Paul Castle), a misty early morning over ANB Harbor (© Bethany Goodrich Photography).

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PARTNERING FOR POLICY AND ACTION In 2021, Sitka Conservation Society enjoyed its second year of partnering with the Pardee Rand Graduate School to host externships with Pardee Rand Graduate students as part of the school’s Community-Partnered Policy and Action academic stream. The focus of this program is to craft longterm partnerships with specific communities and give students hands-on experience working on policy that better responds to community needs. SCS externs have focused on analyzing policy to improve food security, helping us install solar electric systems, and looking at ways to center equity in our local climate-focused actions.

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As we watched, we saw all the colors mix and change and blossom before us on the land, the sky, and the sea at the end of this majestic day on the Tongass.


BEARING WITNESS TO THE TONGASS

Month photo: The sun sets over Prince of Wales Island (© Amy Li). Below: Artist and dancer Stephanie Hewett at Phonograph Creek (© Molly Leebove), Molly Lebovee, Stephanie Hewett, Jordi Rosales, brontë velez, Ayana Young, Heather Bauscher (© Molly Leebove), aerial over SCS's Phonograph Creek property (© Lione Clare Photography), Maureen O'Hanlon and Ernie Eggleston in front of the sauna O'Hanlon built (© Abigail Steffen).

brontë velez Multimedia Artist, Poet, Creatrix, Activist For the past few years, SCS has had the pleasure of hosting artists and changemakers of different practices and backgrounds at the Phonograph Creek property left to us by Eric and Pam Bealer. The goal of this project is to connect people to the Tongass and inspire them to create from their experiences, continuing the Bealers’ artistic legacy. The following are selected excerpts from reflections by brontë velez, a Black/Latinx social justice activist, artist, and creatrix who joined us in summer of 2020. Their beautiful reflection can be found in its entirety on our website. In 2020, I along with my friends, partner, and co-liberators were invited to southeast Alaska to humbly bear witness to Lingít, Haida, Tshmishian territories in the Tongass in collaboration with For The Wild and SCS. I arrived not sure if I was making the right decision to go, especially while wildfires burned in my home of California. I felt self-conscious of leaving my community at such a critical moment to be in a geography that I did not call home. During my discernment, I recalled a dream I had years prior: I was in the Tongass lying naked on the earth, a chorus of voices announcing Dr. King’s admonition, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” This new invitation to Alaska felt clear to follow that dream into the waking; to trust that the watersheds and bioregions that nurture me, and that I in reciprocity protect and defend in California, are not separate from Alaska; to trust that these lands and stories signified by extraction, be it water or old-growth, indigenous displacement or racial injustice, are all deeply connected. As I write this, I prepare for my sabbatical and for a new shmita cycle in the Jewish calendar. I think of a changing climate, of dancing before “Lamplugh” Glacier last year and weeping. I want there to be yellow cedars. I want the salmon to be able to come home with ease after such a long journey. I want my Native Alaskan kinfolk’s lifeways, culture, land, memory and wellbeing to be protected. May I be devoted to offering the earth sabbath. May the Tongass’ sabbath be protected. Asé.

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PHONOGRAPH ARTIST IN RESIDENCY HIGHLIGHT: MAUREEN O'HANLON In 2021, we continued to develop the Phonograph Creek Wilderness property left to us by Eric and Pam Bealer to host visitors, and created opportunities for artists of various backgrounds to have creative retreats this year. One of the artists was local Sitkan Maureen O’Hanlon, who showed her dedication to the Phonograph project through the level of detail and care she put into building this structure. The sauna is an incredible display of craftsmanship from Maureen, who co-designed and built it using urban removal and beach salvaged yellow and red cedar. The lumber was provided to us by SCS members including Ernie Eggleston, Clay Stromquist, Tad Kisaka, and TM Construction. SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 25


OCTOBER 20

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A mother tern will put her life on the line to defend her young, just as we must work to ensure that our children live on a planet where they can be sustained and experience the natural world in all its beauty and wonder.


CLIMATE ACTION WITH LOCAL IMPACTS

Month photo: Arctic tern from below (© AlaskanGrace Photography). Below: clouds blanket the view from Harbor Mountain (© Ryan Morse), ferns (© Lione Clare Photography), smoked salmon being glazed (© Ryan Morse), waves in the ocean (© Bethany Goodrich Photography), Macrocystis pyrifera (© Bethany Goodrich Photography), sunset on the water (© John Paul Castle), starry Sitka night (© Michael Standridge).

ABIGAIL STEFFENS Climate Policy Intern

Sitka has proven to be a leader in climate action in Alaska. In addition to creating one of the first Climate Action Plans in Alaska in 2010, the Sitka municipal assembly heeded the concerns of a wide array of community members and renewed their commitment to addressing climate change by passing a climate emergency declaration and reinstating a local Climate Action Task Force in November 2020. With the transition to electric heating of many city-owned buildings, the municipality has achieved a 64% reduction in emissions generated by cityowned vehicles and buildings. Increased use of heat pumps and electric vehicles also put the broader community on a path to greater emissions reductions. The Tongass National Forest is responsible for sequestering 8% of the United State’s carbon emissions, the hundreds of thousands of square miles of Arctic tundra store greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide, thousands of glaciers and expansive ice caps reflect solar radiation and moderate Earth’s temperature, and the millions of square miles of forests that blanket the State lock carbon in all parts of the arboreal networks. Other Alaskans are stepping up to the plate as well: tribal governments, municipalities, businesses, and community-based organizations are also making significant shifts to tackle climate change. While all these actions are a good first step, they must be supported by broader investment and action from the federal government, which has so far failed to provide sufficient guidance and resources. As a state that relies primarily on nonrenewable natural resources for our economy and our energy, transitioning to sustainable practices will require this support. Climate action must also be inclusive, and it must account for the inequity that is augmented with the climate crisis. As we move forward in this unsure reality, it's crucial that we take action at both the local and national level.

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THE SITKA CARBON OFFSET FUND SCS sponsors the Sitka Carbon Offset Fund to help mitigate the effects of climate change while also helping families decrease their heating costs. Since 2021, the Fund has worked to award grants that support the replacement of local oil boilers with heat pumps. While many donations come from Sitka residents, Fund members hope to encourage visitors to Sitka to donate to the fund to offset the emissions from their travel. To learn more or to contribute to the Fund, visit www.sitkacarbonoffset.com. SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 27


N0VEMBER 20

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There is a level of mastery and connection with the natural world required when one can go out on a hunt, call in two bucks out of their sparring match in the rut, and have the time, patience, and focus to capture that moment.


THE IMPORTANCE OF ENSURING PERMANENT TONGASS PROTECTIONS HANNAH REYNOLDS

Month photo: Two Sitka Blacktail deer bucks in the muskeg (© Rafe Hanson Photography). Below: Totem Pole (© Bethany Goodrich Photography), waterfall (© AlaskanGrace Photography), kayaker in Blue Lake (© AlaskanGrace Photography), a bear peaks out from behind a tree (© Michael Standridge), a troller out the water (© John Paul Castle).

SUNDAY

MONDAY

TUESDAY

Tongass Policy Intern

Southeast Alaskans and Americans rejoiced in mid-July of 2021 when the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a new vision for Tongass National Forest that declared the end of largescale old growth logging and promised a process to reinstate the 2001 Roadless Rule. This news was met with enthusiasm from people across the region and country, following the October 2020 decision from the Trump Administration that implemented a full exemption from the Roadless Rule for the Tongass, despite the overwhelming public support for these protections locally and nationally. However, the Tongass still lacks the permanent protections it needs to ensure a sustainable, healthy future for Southeast Alaska. During the 2019 public comment period on the Trump administration’s proposal to exempt the Tongass from the 2001 rule, over a quarter million Southeast Alaskans and Americans came out in support of maintaining the Roadless Rule. 96 percent of commenters voiced their support for keeping these environmental protections in place. This overwhelming majority included Alaska Native tribal governments and tribal citizens, fishermen, harvesters, recreators, tourism operators, small-scale woodworkers, elected leaders, conservationists, community members, and people from all over the United States who care about this special place. What all of these commenters have in common is a vested interest in protecting the Tongass – the largest temperate rainforest in the world, the largest single carbon sink in the nation; a place of rich biodiversity, ancient old growth, and a place which thousands of Southeast Alaskans live and depend upon. The Biden administration's announcement to revisit and restore Roadless Rule protections to the Tongass is a momentous occasion, one that listens to the input Southeast Alaskans gave loud and clear. At the same time, these past four years are a reminder of how permanent protections for the critical habitat and watersheds of the Tongass are essential in order to promote sustainable, healthy communities in Southeast Alaska.

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1

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

2

3

FRIDAY

S AT U R DAY

4

First Day of Native American Heritage Month

6

7

Daylight Savings Time Ends

8

5 Alaska Native Brotherhood established 1812

9

10

Election Day

11

12

Veterans Day

13

14

15

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18

19

20

21

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25

26

Thanksgiving

27

28

29

Native American Heritage Day

30

THE SKIPPER SCIENCE PARTNERSHIP The people seeing the impacts of climate change firsthand often aren’t the decision makers, but are instead those who live by the tides and are out on the water daily. Skipper Science is a new partnership that enables fishermen and users along Alaska’s coastline to report data and observations easily via an app while fishing. The data collected this past summer will be quantified for Alaska’s sciencebased resource management and delivered to policy makers and fisheries managers to advocate for the health of our fisheries. SCS is grateful to be collaborating with a variety of partners to utilize this technology to amplify fishermen’s voices statewide.

SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 29


DECEMBER 20

22

We are just a tiny speck in an enormous universe that is telling us that taking care of the planet is really the only way we can take care of ourselves. Haa Shuká; our past and our future.


PREPARING OUR FUTURE GENERATIONS

Month photo: Starry night seen from Starrigavan (© Michael Standridge). Below: a crisp, cold winter morning over a lake (© Bethany Goodrich Photography), trees in the mist (© Rafe Hanson Photography), Wilderness monitoring in the West Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness (© Lione Clare Photography).

CORA DOW Youth and Climate Catalyst

I have a picture of myself when I was 7, grinning inside a snow fort my dad built in our backyard in early January. This winter when I returned home from college, 12 years after that picture was taken, I was greeted by rain. It took another 2 months for it to snow even an inch, and by then I was headed back to college. It never snowed enough to make a snow fort. Throughout high school, my friends and I talked about the effects of climate change we saw around us: worse storms in the fall, warmer summers, inconsistent spawning, berry seasons arriving earlier or later, and glaciers shrinking. Despite noticing these changes, we didn’t learn much about them in school. Instead, we learned from news articles or social media, and became frustrated at the inaction we saw around us and formed a youth-led group in Sitka. Together, we organized a climate strike, advocated for a climate emergency resolution in Sitka, and spokewith local and national representatives like Senator Murkowski. Our goals always included advocating for comprehensive climate education in Sitka’s schools. This summer, I returned to Sitka from college to work at Sitka Conservation Society and continue this work, interviewing students, teachers, and community members about what students need to be prepared for climate change, and how Sitka’s schools can give that to them. To quote a teacher I interviewed this summer, “climate education is the most important thing kids will have to understand.” If students not only know the scale and impact of climate change, but also strategies to mitigate the effects, how the economy will change in response, and how they can use the political process to make a difference, then society as a whole will have a chance at tackling climate change. Prepared students go into their communities ready to work in sustainable sectors, advocate for sustainable development, research mitigation methods, and teach other students. While education, like any other solution, is not the silver bullet to stop climate change, it’s a crucial step to preparing students for their futures and giving them the skills to tackle the climate crisis themselves.

31

SUNDAY

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

1

FRIDAY

S AT U R DAY

2

3

West Chichagof-Yakobi and South Baranof Wilderness Areas established 1980

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

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23

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31

First Day of Winter Yule

Hanukkah Begins

25

26

Christmas Day

Kwanzaa Begins Hanukkah Ends

27

28

New Year's Eve

CONTINUING OUR FOUNDERS' LEGACY SCS’s Lione Clare, along with volunteers Clare Kelly and Greta Healy, paddled the outer coasts of Yakobi Island and Lisianski inlet repairing trails and monitoring areas that are seldom visited and are some of the most remote areas of the West ChichagofYakobi Wilderness. The team surveyed the trails and worked on the Greentop Wilderness public use cabin and used paddle-power for all their travel between sites. The work was made possible with funding from the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance and helps us continue the legacy of Sitka Conservation Society's founders of bringing people out to experience, connect with, and help conserve this special Wilderness Area.

SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY | 31


TOGETHER WE ARE THE SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY Sitka Conservation Society is made up of a dedicated staff and board, as well as the incredible community members like you!

MARIAN ALLEN

JALAL AWAN

Board Secretary

Pardee RAND Extern

HEATHER BAUSCHER

MARYSUE BECK

CHARLES BINGHAM

DEBRA BRUSHAFER

LIONE CLARE

CARLY DENNIS

Tongass Community Organizer

Spring Environmental Policy Intern

Sitka Kitch

Board President

Storytelling and Outreach Specialist

Youth Development Coordinator

TRISTAN DOUVILLE

CORA DOW

STEVE FISH

PRIYA GANDHI

BETHANY GOODRICH

KATE GRUMBLES

Joint Tribal Policy Liason

Youth and Climate Catalyst

Board Member

RAND Extern

Communications Director

Living with the Land and Building Community Jesuit Volunteer

TAVA GUILLORY

KATE GUINEY

EDITH JOHNSON

CLARICE JOHNSON

KYLEE JONES

BRENDAN JONES

Spring Environmental Policy Intern

Public Lands and Sustainable Tourism Intern

Board Member

Office Manager

Systems Administrator

Board Member


PATRICIA KEHOE

CATHRYN KLUSMEIER

MARY KATE LATTA

Board Member

Board Member

Policy and Organizational Management

OLAN MOORE

RYAN MORSE

KEITH NYITRAY

Remote Construction Specialist

Communications and Outreach Coordinator

HANNAH REYNOLDS

AMY LI

NELLIE LIPSCOMB

Public Lands Communication Fellow

Board Member

CHANDLER O'CONNELL

MAUREEN O’HANLON

EMILY POUND

Board Treasurer

Community Catalyst

Logistics and Construction Contractor

Community Sustainability Organizer, 4-H and Community

TRISTAN RHODES

KATIE RILEY

ANDREW ROSEMAN

KRYSTINA SCHELLER

JASMINE SHAW

Tongass Policy Intern

Remote Construction Specialist

Policy Director

Living with the Land and Building Community Jesuit Volunteer

Board Vice President

Board Member

ABIGAIL STEFFEN

CLAYTON STROMQUIST

ANDREW THOMS

RHETT TURNER

ADRIENNE WILBER

Climate Policy Intern

Remote Logistics and Wildlife Specialist

Executive Director

Outdoor Recreation Advocate

Board Member

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

MARIAH LEESEBERG Board Member

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!

Right: Tongass forest (© AlaskanGrace Photography). Opposite: SCS, partners, and volunteers pose for a photo in front of Kanga Bay cabin (© Amy Li). Back cover: Troller against the backdrop of the Tongass National Forest (© John Paul Castle).

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 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


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