Transition at ACF 

After four and a half years as ACF’s executive director, Nick Hardigg and his family are moving back home to their native Portland, Oregon. Nick describes his time at ACF as “one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. Alaska’s majestic wilderness, the challenges to protect it, and our opportunity to make a difference, are unequalled.”

Ann Rothe and Nick Hardigg

Under Nick’s leadership, ACF quadrupled its grantmaking programs to our highest level in 31 years. The foundation team has added substantial statewide expertise, become a central player in issues like Pebble Mine and climate change, and launched bold new initiatives like Community Capacity that focus upon building citizen advocacy and power.

Beginning June 6th, Deputy Director Ann Rothe will be serving as interim executive director while a search committee looks for his successor. Before joining ACF in 2007, Ann served for a decade as executive director of Trustees for Alaska, an Alaska-based nonprofit environmental law firm. Ann has a remarkable 28 years of Alaska conservation experience.

“After decades of working with ACF, first as a grantee and then as its deputy director, I’m excited to take on this role. We will launch two additional programs in the next year. Pressure on Alaska isn’t relenting, and neither will our efforts to support grassroots conservation groups.”

To see the executive director announcement click here.

2011 State of the Nonprofit Sector Report Released 

The Nonprofit Finance Fund recently released its third “State of the Sector” nonprofit survey. Over 2,000 nonprofit organizations assessed the financial challenges they face and the strategies they are using to manage through the change. Read the summary to learn more about what other organizations are doing to keep up with the ever-changing demand for services.

2011 Business of Clean Energy in Alaska Conference – April 28-29 

Join policy makers, business and civic leaders, and industry experts from around the state, nation and world for this annual conference. Network and share information for creating a sustainable energy future for Alaska. Learn about the latest developments and projects, and be part of implementing an independent energy future for Alaska that meets the state’s long-term energy needs and diversifies its economy. An exhibitor hall is open to the public.  The conference will be held on April 28-29, 2011 at the  Dena’ina Center in Anchorage, AK.  Download the final agenda here.

Register today at or (907) 929-7770. Early registration ends April 8th!

Speakers include:

  • Former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, Director, Center for the New Energy Economy, Colorado State University
  • Jerry Yudelson, National Green Building Expert and Author; Tucson, AZ
  • Capt. John Hickey, Commanding Officer, US Coast Guard Shore Maintenance Command (SMC); Seattle, WA
  • John Cooper, CFO, Ocean Renewable Power Company; Portland, OR
  • Clay Koplin, CEO, Cordova Electric Association: Cordova, AK
  • Ellen Kazary, Community Development Manager, RurAL CAP, Rural Cap Energy Wise program
  • Catherine Fritz, Architect, Juneau Airport

Tourism & Mining: Opportunities & Costs for Bristol Bay Conference – May 13 

The only conference of its kind in Alaska, Tourism and Mining: Opportunities and Costs for Bristol Bay, Alaska, will have wide ranging impacts and initiate important industry discussions about the future of tourism in Bristol Bay. Brought to you by Alaska Wilderness Recreation and Tourism Association.

For more information, contact Nelli Williams at or register online at: visit Early bird registration before April 8th is only $30! After April 8th, $50.  Conference will be held May 13 at the Dena’ina Center, Anchorage from 8:30 am – 4 pm.

ACF Board Chair Pens a New Book 

In her new work, Early Warming: Crisis and Response in the Climate-Changed North, Nancy Lord takes readers deep into Alaska and Canada where indigenous communities are facing the immediate effects of climate change. Order your copy of Early Warming, and listen to an interview with Nancy Lord on APRN’s “Talk of Alaska” program. 

“I Can’t Eat Coal” and Other Lessons from Tyonek 

Chuitna River communities gathered in Tyonek this month to attend DNR’s second public hearing on the proposed Chuitna River coal strip mine.

The testimony given was spoken from the heart — it was focused on culture, tradition, sustenance, family and the relationship with the land. One Tyonek elder summed up what is at stake with the proposed project: “What am I going to eat? I can’t eat money, I can’t eat coal. I eat moose meat. I eat fish. I live off this land. My grandfather showed me how to do that… He passed it down through generations. How to take care of this land, and what to do about it. I knew him, and what he said. … I lived off that land, I lived off that fish. I drank that water. I didn’t go over there and buy it from California. I went over there and I chopped that water hole, I drank that water, and I packed that water…for my Grandma. That water came from that river right there, and it still comes from there. And you’re going to pollute it!”

For a firsthand account of the Tyonek hearing, read the compelling Mudflats blog.

John Haines – Alaska Loses a Champion & Friend 

Alaska lost a champion and a highly regarded poet and thinker when Fairbanksan John Haines passed away on March 2.   Haines was the author of eighteen books of poems and essays, including his first and perhaps best-loved Winter News and the memoir The Stars, The Snow, The Fire.  Over his lifetime he was the recipient of many honors, including two Guggenheim Fellowships, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Library of Congress.  His spiritual home was always the hill country in interior Alaska, above the Tanana River, where he homesteaded after the Second World War.

ACF board president Nancy Lord, a writer herself, considered Haines a friend and mentor.  “John’s art got its life from the big spaces and the deep quiet of Alaska.  He was an absolute original, a sometimes cranky voice, and a defender of wild places and simple, rural ways of living.  He often spoke about the importance of art for understanding our human place in the world, and he encouraged us all, Alaskans and artists, to recognize ‘the dangers and choices held out to us by our involvement with the earth.’”

 “A Requiem for the Arctic Refuge” first appeared in OnEarth (Winter, 2006).  Haines wrote it after an Alaskan politician famously held out a sheet of white paper and declared that the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was that—a desolate nothing, to be valued only for the oil deposits that lay underneath it. 

A Requiem for the Arctic Refuge 

No sign of life, no bird calls,
no mating cries from the tundra…

Only the strewn wreckage of a passing
Illness — the discards of metal
and trash left behind by those
who write sorrow on the earth,
and leave to renew their plunder.

I remember, and so must you,
the lost sweetness of this land,
and far to the south a people
for whom it was home, driven to
forage your crime-cemented streets.

I hear a voice from another age
that would speak to us now:
“Forests precede civilization,
and deserts follow…”

Tell me, citizens in your lighted

Is this what you wish
for our loaned and borrowed future?
When your houses are darkened
and your stations shut down,
your thousand-year dreampipe emptied…

And of our lost earth-bound refuge,

only a broad sheet of white paper
once held by an official hand —
now certified and fingerprinted,
smudged and stained with oil.

— John Haines

Read more about Haines and  read additional poemsAlso see Nancy Lord’s remembrance.

Nominations Open for the 2011 ACF Conservation Achievement Awards 

What do an Athabascan artist, a non-hunter appointed to the Alaska Board of Game, the teenage creator of a statewide energy campaign, and a National Geographic photographer have in common? A passion for Alaska — and a Conservation Achievement Award!

If you know someone, like these past winners, who works tirelessly to protect Alaska’s magnificence, don’t miss this opportunity to ensure that his/her contributions are recognized. Nominate them for an Alaska Conservation Foundation Conservation Achievement Award today!  

Each year through its Conservation Achievement Awards, ACF selects and honors individuals and organizations that have gone above and beyond the call of duty in helping to preserve Alaska. Awards are made in a range of categories: Outstanding Professional Contributions; Outstanding Volunteer Contributions; Young Environmental Activists; Outstanding Achievements by a Conservation Organization; Excellence in Environmental Education; Excellence in Still Photography, Film or Video; and Outstanding Achievements by an Alaska Native Organization or Individual.

It’s easy to make a nomination. Simply download the form at: and tell us about your candidate. Candidates from across Alaska and out-of-state will be considered. Don’t delay, nominations are due to ACF by March 31st!

Mercury Pollution in Alaska Free Teleconference – February 23 

Join the Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT) for a free teleconference discussion on mercury pollution in Alaska.  Learn about local and global sources of mercury pollution in Alaska, health effects and global actions to reduce mercury exposure. Presenters include Dr. Kendra Zamzow, PhD, of the Center for Science in Public Participation, Dr. Alan H. Lockwood, MD, of University at Buffalo, and Sarah Petras, MPH of Alaska Community Action on Toxics.

Mercury is a highly toxic heavy metal that has been linked to a range of adverse health effects including learning and developmental disorders, cardiovascular disease, and immune suppression. The primary sources of mercury pollution in Alaska are emissions from coal-fired power plants in Asia that travel to Alaska via air and ocean currents.  Mercury accumulates in fish, wildlife and people. Humans are primarily exposed through consumption of mercury-contaminated fish and other seafood. The development of proposed coal mines in Alaska will lead to increased export of Alaskan coal to Asia, which will in turn increase mercury pollution here at home. To learn even more, check out ACAT’s new report: Coal Ash in Alaska: Our Health, Our Right to Know (PDF).

To join this free call, please RSVP to ACAT at or call (907) 222-7714. 

Fairbanks Free Screening of “Red Gold” – Feb 22 

Join Alaskans working to protect Bristol Bay Fisheries at a free screening of the film “Red Gold” on Tuesday, February 22nd at 5:30-7:30 pm at the Blue Loon, 2999 Parks Highway in Fairbanks. Former Senate President Rick Halford and others will provide an update on recent work being done to protect the Bristol Bay watershed along with a Q&A period. A screening of the documentary “Red Gold” will follow and a drawing for door prizes will be held. For more information contact (907) 244-1169.