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Our Home Our Future - August 2017 For many Alaskans, summer means fishing. We’ve got “salmon fever,” whether it’s dipnetting on the Kenai, commercial fishing in Bristol Bay and Southeast, or dropping a line in Ship Creek; Alaskans are deep in it. Thousands turned out for SalmonFest in early August, and local businesses and communities celebrated Wild Alaska Salmon Day around the state August 10. In July, I got to experience this profound connection from a different perspective--working a friend’s Fish Camp on the Yukon River. I developed an appreciation for the work, the rhythm, the respect, the purpose, the pride, the knowledge, the sharing, and the love--that goes into harvesting salmon. Culture, history, family, and identity come together. People thrive on this experience, and the absence of fish camp--and salmon--can be devastating. This experience deepened my commitment to protecting salmon and their habitat. We can’t afford the risk posed by short-sighted, multinational corporate interests, and right now, we need to ally with local communities in Bristol Bay to protect the way of life that salmon sustains. Read more about the return of Pebble on page 2 and please sign the enclosed petition! Salmon is one renewable resource that fuels our communities. As we envision our future, we’ve got to invest in more renewable resources like clean energy, that can jumpstart a stronger economy. In this issue, we’re excited to share some advances in clean energy that innovative businesses can take advantage of! See page 3. We need leaders at every level who share our vision for a better Alaska. You can help make that happen--read below for more information and please consider supporting this important work financially or by volunteering! Thank you for your support, let’s keep moving forward to shape the Alaska we want!

Polly Carr, Executive Director

BOARD John Duffy* Ann Rappoport* Susan Klein Michael Fink* Brad De Noble*

Kyrstyn Kelly* Peg Tileston* Nauri Toler* Kyndall Powers* Brian Conwell

STAFF Polly Carr Executive Director Meghan Cavanaugh Political and Field Director Jen Willette Finance Director Victoria Long-Leather Trailside Discovery Director Ryan Astalos Canvass Director Louie Flora Government Affairs Director Leah Moss Communications and Creative Manager Evan Anderson Civic Engagement Coordinator Michael Lanphier Development Coordinator Amy O’Connor Mat-Su Community Organizer Kristen Collins Organizer Allison Barnwell AYEA Program Coordinator Jaclyn Erbey Trailside Program & Office Administrator Cade Emory Terada AYEA Intern Gina Gervase CIP Intern *denotes The Alaska Center Education Fund Board Member

Borough Elections are Coming Up Borough elections are taking place throughout the state on October 3, 2017. The Alaska Center believes in engaging in local elections as a way to support emerging leaders and ensure that we have champions at all levels of government, who will support clean air and water, healthy communities, and a more robust democracy. In September, we will host community events in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and the Kenai Peninsula to engage voters with local elections. We’ll be hosting fundraisers in Soldotna Sept. 20 and Homer Sept. 21 to raise support for candidates like Hal Smalley, Leslie Morton, and Kate Veh for the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly, working with our community partners. For more information on these events, contact Meghan Cavanaugh at

For more information on the forum, please contact Amy O’Connor at The Alaska Center will engage in these and other borough elections where we can elevate champions for a sustainable future.

To learn more, go to

Local Elections

On September 28, we’ll be hosting a Candidate Forum in the Mat-Su Valley addressing salmon and clean energy, and how they shape the future of the Mat-Su.


Protecting What We Hold Dear In 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its Proposed Determination which would limit mining within the Bristol Bay region based on the “irreversible and unacceptable damage” Pebble Mine would cause to the Bristol Bay salmon ecosystem. The Alaska Center collected 1,304 actions during the last comment period contributing to the over 1.5 million comments that were submitted across the country on the proposal, 85.9% of which were in support of strong protections for Bristol Bay. Flash forward to 2017, under the new federal administration, Pebble Mine is back on the table. In the midst of one of the greatest fishing seasons Bristol Bay has ever experienced, the EPA is trying to pave the way for Pebble - a foreign mining company that still wants to build a massive open pit mine on top of the greatest salmon headwaters in the world. Due to a series of lawsuits that stalled the 2014 determination from ever coming to fruition, the EPA is proposing to withdraw the very protections that over one million Americans and tens of thousands of Alaskans supported.

Rep. Louise Stutes and Gayla Hoseth celebrate Wild Salmon Day in Anchorage at Cuddy Family Midtown Park on Aug.10

commercial fishermen, small business owners, and tribal entities, to pass an update to our state’s fish habitat permitting laws. Stand for Salmon, is this campaign and we are supporting it with the full breadth of our resources.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is responsible for approving development projects that could impact salmon habitat in our streams and rivers. Sadly, there are currently no clear rules in place limiting the As a result of these actions, the Fill out the attached postcard and mail it back amount of damage allowed to EPA has opened another 90-day wild salmon habitats during a to our office by October 12th comment period. We must show development project. These laws Skip the postage. Complete the online petition here: them - again - that millions of have not been modernized since Americans and thousands of statehood. A simple update is Alaskans still agree: needed to limit further damage Bristol Bay is too special to risk. to salmon habitats so that our wild salmon runs remain strong now and for future generations. Alaskans have been speaking up about the Pebble Mine to federal agencies for more than a decade. It’s time to change our state law so that we are no longer dependent on the federal government to protect places like Bristol Bay. lmon Day To create more permanent protections The Alaska Center has been working with partners, including sport fishermen,

We have the opportunity and responsibility to protect Alaska’s wild salmon by updating existing state law. Revising this law gives Alaskans an avenue at the state level to protect resources like Bristol Bay, into the future.

VISION: We envision a thriving and sustainable Alaska for future generations. MISSION: We engage, empower, and elect Alaskans to stand up for our clean air and water, healthy communities, and a strong democracy.

Top Left: Images from our Annual Auction and Celebration held this past May Top Right: Smoking salmon stips at a fish camp on the Yukon River Above: Anchroage residents demonstrating at to the No Pebble Mine Rally Left: LED lightblub giveaways at one of our Clean Power Happy Hours; AYEA teens celebrating the Chuitna victory; Staff visiting the Eklutna set net site with Chief Lee

Clean Energy is Everyone’s Business We’ve scored a big win for clean energy! This year our legislature passed a bill that sparks new financing opportunities for energy efficiency upgrades on commercial properties. HB 80 establishes a Commercial Property Assessment Energy Efficiency (CPACE) program in Alaska. Available in majority of lower 48 states, CPACE programs streamline the way for commercial property owners to partner with lending institutions and municipalities to finance energy efficiency upgrades. If widely used in Alaska, CPACE will ultimately reduce energy costs and carbon emissions across the state. These policies will also create good paying Alaskan jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects for years to come. Once the Governor signs HB 80 (CPACE) into law, municipalities can adopt the program by ordinance. The Alaska Center will be working with partner groups during the public processes at the local level to support the adoption of CPACE

Checking out a rooftop solar instalation downtown during the 9th annual Anchorage Solar tour

ordinances in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Mat-Su and Kenai Peninsula boroughs. We at The Alaska Center are working with the Governor’s office to host a bill signing event in order to publicize the new opportunity for clean energy financing. In partnership with community groups along the railbelt and in Juneau we are working to create a statewide market for this new program. The widespread use of this clean energy program in Alaska is one way to reduce CO2 emissions and combat climate change. Together we will be educating businesses and consumers on this new opportunity for financing so that Alaskans and Alaskan business owners can use their buying power to work toward real renewable energy solutions.

Attn: Business owners contact today to take the next steps towards more efficient and economical energy solutions for your company and your community.

One Chapter Ends as Another Begins at Trailside Discovery Camp As we celebrate Trailside Discovery Camp’s 35th year, we also commemorate the 21st and final year of our beloved camp Director Thomas Burek. Tom began his journey with Trailside in the summer of 1996, when the average annual enrollment was 250 campers. Under Tom’s leadership Trailside now enrolls over 5,500 campers each year. To say Trailside has flourished under Tom’s guidance would be a gross understatement. But, Tom’s influence has grown more than just the numbers. He has cultivated an environmental education program that gives campers from all backgrounds the opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy the world we live in while learning how to protect and preserve our beautiful wilderness for future generations. In his time with Trailside, Tom empowered community environmental stewardship projects with Trailside teens, grew the leadership development for counselors in training and

inspired campers of all ages to return year after year with their friends and eventually their children. In 2012, Tom’s impressive history earned him the prestigious Alaska Conservation Foundation Jerry Dixon award for Excellence in Environmental Education and in 2017, he was recognized as an Afterschool Superhero by the Alaska Afterschool Network. Tom was more than an employee to us - he was a leader, teacher, and friend. We wish Tom the best as he works to complete his Masters in Teaching and begins student teaching this Fall. We knew that Tom’s impending departure meant that we’d have some pretty big shoes to fill. After a long search, we are pleased to announce that our Associate Camp Director, Vicki Long-Leather is just the person for the job! Vicki comes to Trailside from Girl Scouts of America Camps in the lower 48. She has been training with Tom since May to take over Trailside this fall. We are excited to see the strides Vicki will take with Trailside for years to come!

“I believe that camp is a safe environment where children and adults can step out of their comfort zone and be who they want to be. I want to insure that camp is a community of like minded individuals who want to explore, learn, have fun and immerse themselves with new challenges and exciting opportunities.” - Vicki

921 W 6th Avenue, Suite 200 Anchorage, AK 00501

Check out our new and improved website!

SAVE THE DATE AYEA FUNraiser 5:30-8:00 pm

Sept. 12

AYEA is hosting their annual Fall FUNraiser! Join us at 1134 H St. for an evening celebrating youth activism and raising funds for their program.

Kenai Election Fundraisers

Sept. 20/21

Sept. 20 -Soldotna - TBD Sept. 21 - Homer - Alice’s Champagne Palace Join us to raise support for local candidates. Email for more info

Mat-Su Community Candidate Forum

Sept. 28

Join us for a candidate forum addressing salmon and clean energy, and how they shape the future of the Mat-Su. Email for more info

Local Borough Elections

Oct. 3

Local elections matter. Make sure you get out to vote in your local Borough elections. For more info go to: www.

EPA Comment Period Closes

Oct. 17

Our largest fishery is at risk. We have until October 17 to convince the EPA to keep these protections. Sign the attached petition and be heard.

August 17 newsletter web (2)  

Our Home Our Future - August 2017 Stay up to date on how The Alaska Center is working to engage, empower and elect Alaskans to stand up for...

August 17 newsletter web (2)  

Our Home Our Future - August 2017 Stay up to date on how The Alaska Center is working to engage, empower and elect Alaskans to stand up for...