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.

Double–even triple–your gift to ACF! 

ACF is pleased to announce new matching gifts program search functionality is available on its website. Search here to see if your employer has a matching gift program that contributes to conservation organizations and learn how you can double your impact in Alaska!

Alaska Forum on the Environment – Feb 7 

Alaska Forum on the Environment (Feb 7-11, 2011): This annual conference will offer a full comprehensive series of sessions on climate change, energy, environmental regulations, cleanup and remediation, fish & wildlife, solid waste, and special programs for Alaskan youth.  Find out more information now.

Complete Your IRA Roll-Over by January 31 

If you are over 70 ½ years old you have until January 31, 2011 to complete an IRA Charitable roll-over and still have it count as a 2010 IRA roll-over. Last year Congress reauthorized legislation that allows you to make a charitable gift from your IRA in 2010 and 2011 without incurring federal income tax on the withdrawal. Transfers must go from an IRA directly to your charity of choice, such as ACF. Contact your plan administration for more information about eligibility or to initiate a rollover, or go to the IRS website for details.

Join Us! Finance & Operations Specialist Position Open 

ACF has an exciting job opportunity available immediately! 

We are looking for a part-time Finance and Operations Specialist. This position supports the Director of Finance and Operations with accounting, human resources, facilities and IT responsibilities.

Finance duties include budgeting, financial research and reports, journal entries, grant tracking and transaction processing. Other duties include management of HR benefits, and assisting with IT and facilities issues.

Minimum Qualifications: 
 – Proficient on MS Excel, Office, QuickBooks, Outlook
– Excellent oral and written communication skills
– Strong organization and time management skills
– Ability to meet deadlines, manage multiple projects, and prioritize tasks
– Common sense, flexibility and teamwork skills with an ability to exercise independent judgment and initiative
– Professional, positive and approachable attitude and demeanor
– Two or more years related work experience with a nonprofit organization
– Degree in finance or accounting a plus.
– Commitment to ACF’s mission and goals 

Salary dependent upon experience.

Please email a cover letter outlining your interest and experience, with your resume. The application deadline is February 1.

Alaska Conservation Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Raft the Copper River 

The Copper River Watershed Project is pleased to partner with Sundog Expeditions to offer the adventure of a lifetime. 

Ten lucky adventurers will embark on a 7-day rafting trip from Chitina to Cordova, July 15-21, 2011. This trip is being offered for a competitive rate of $2,150 ($400 deposit required to reserve seat).  20% of the trip’s proceeds go to support CRWP and our work to promote the wild salmon economies of the Copper River watershed. 

Reserve your spot now – they are going to go fast!  Book your trip online at Sundog Expeditions or Copper River Watershed Project. 

Demand for Alaska Coal Heating Up 

One of Alaska’s major exports — coal — has been racking up record shipments over the past couple of years. Read more on this growing threat at the Anchorage Daily News online.