20 Moments of Happiness in 2020


It has been an unprecedented year for all of us with a plethora of trials and tribulations to navigate through. However, it has also produced moments that have brought us smiles and cheers so we wanted to close out the year by celebrating 20 moments of happiness in 2020.

  1. 88% of our Ted Smith Conservation Internship Program cohort was comprised of Alaskans – our highest local participation ever!
  2. We helped establish 20+ virtual geofences around northern fur seals, Pacific Walrus, and Steller Sea Lions habitats to allow managers to mitigate the risks caused by Arctic ship traffic.
  3. In October we hosted our first virtual edition of our Alaska Conservation Achievement Awards and it was a blast to connect with our friends from across the world!
  4. We’ve been excited to hear the announcements of who will be leading our environmental and climate-related task forces in the new year. We particularly celebrated Deb Haaland being the first Native American to be named Secretary of Interior and look forward to her leadership and guidance.
  5. All of our staff made a seamless transition to remote work in the middle of March when the pandemic took off.
  6. Due to help from friends like you, we were able to award $100,000 more than we had originally budgeted to our partners through our Alaska Defense Fund
  7. Working with our friends at Sustainable Southeast Partnership we were able to help catalyze Alaska’s first Indigenous Guardian Network that will work with Tongass National Forest managers to provide wildlife and fisheries monitoring, habitat restoration, and climate adaptation efforts across Southeast Alaska.
  8. In November, the Army Corps of Engineers denied the permit for Pebble Mine!
  9. Our staff has grown! We have been overjoyed to welcome Ann Mayo-Kiely, Maka Monture Paki, Klaire Rhodes, Macy Kenworthy, and Dan Cannon to our team this year!
  10. During 2020 we were able to give over $800,000 in grant money to organizations around the state on behalf of protecting Alaska’s lands, waters, and people.
  11. Our staff and board have created a justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion committee and are examining our daily practices and working on creating a more equitable future.
  12. We helped launched an effort to develop a harmful algal bloom monitoring approach that would help us better understand changes in seasonal cycling of toxins and how it affects fish and wildlife species.
  13. In early 2020, we held a gathering with over 150 Northern Latitudes partners as they worked to find creative ways to connect their work which spans all across Alaska and Western Canada.
  14. Southcentral Alaska (where our main office resides) is having an incredible snow year for the first time in many years!
  15. Despite the pandemic, we were able to give out 71 different grants that worked to fund projects and organizations making a difference across Alaska.
  16. A federal judge blocked attempts at building a road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge allowing the landscape to remain intact. 
  17. The Trump Administration dropped an appeal to the Prince of Wales Landscape Level Analysis Lawsuit which stopped the largest federal timber sale on the Tongass in 30 years.
  18. Through our Indigenous Voices Fund we focused on supporting virtual events such as “Together, Apart” a virtual gathering of the Gwich’in held in September.
  19. We signed a 5-year partnership agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to support the Northern Latitudes Partnerships as they develop collaborative solutions to conservation challenges driven by our rapidly changing climate.
  20. We were thrilled to be able to support 50 different organizations by providing strategic grants.

Thank you for your support. We wish you the very best in the coming year.