Meet the 2014 Winners  

Celebrating Alaska’s conservation heroes

Lifetime Achievement

Bob Childers

Bob Childers has been and continues to epitomize the dedicated, on-the-ground conservationist since his arrival in Alaska in the 1970′s. He was a board member of the Alaska Center for the Environment, helped establish Trustees for Alaska and continues to serve on its board and has developed wonderful working relationships with the Gwich’in communities.

Olaus Murie Award for Outstanding Professional Contributions

Eric Jorgensen

Over the past three decades, Eric Jorgensen has proven himself to be a skilled, determined and effective advocate for the conservation of Alaska’s wild places and natural resources. His professional contributions while leading Earthjustice in Alaska have had a lasting impact at the landscape scale as he has worked on a wide array of conservation challenges including public lands management, endangered species protection, air/water pollution prevention and oceans/fisheries conservation.

Lowell Thomas, Jr. Award for Outstanding Achievements by a Conservation Organization

Cook Inletkeeper

Cook Inletkeeper has been stalwart in developing and implementing water monitoring programs for Cook Inlet over many years. Its dedication to protection of the area’s vital fisheries and Inlet related resources continues to assure vigilant oversight and response. For more information about the Cook Inletkeeper visit their website:

Denny Wilcher Award for Young Environmental Activists

Shanelle Afcan

Shanelle Afcan is courageous and thrives on the edge of her comfort zone. She is a dedicated hard worker; she pushes herself to take challenging classes, to be involved in activities and projects she cares about, and she follows through on all of her commitments. She is an advocate for issues she cares about and has been a strong leader in the AYEA program for over three years. Shanelle has not just participated in the AYEA program but has taken significant leadership roles at every level. She is a leader among leaders. 

Jerry S. Dixon Award for Excellence in Environmental Education

Cathy Rezabeck

Cathy Rezabeck is a leader in environmental education in Alaska with over 20 years at the USFWS and the Alaska Natural Resource Outdoor Education Association. With masterful program oversight, curriculum and training development and a commitment to collaboration, Cathy’s life-long dedication to stewardship continues to benefit Alaskan youth and adults.

Caleb Pungowiyi Award for Outstanding Achievements by an Alaska Native Organization or Individual

Gwich’in Steering Committee

The Gwich’in Steering Committee was formed in 1988 in response to proposals to drill for oil in the Sacred Place Where Life Begins, the coastal plain of the  Arctic National Wildlife RefugeGwich’in elders recognized that oil development in caribou calving grounds was a threat to the very heart of their people. They called upon the chiefs of all Gwich’in villages from Canada to Alaska to come together for a traditional gathering – the first in more than a century. At the gathering in Arctic Village they addressed the issue with a talking stick in accordance with their traditional way, and decided unanimously that they would speak with one voice against oil and gas development in the birthing and nursing grounds of the Porcupine Caribou Herd. Their unified voice is expressed in a formal resolution, Gwich’in Niintsyaa. Time and time again, the Gwich’in Steering Committee has presented testimony in front of the US Congress, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples and public hearings. Without this testimony many would not know that this is a Human Rights issue to the Gwich’in.