Michael Barber
Executive Director | (907) 433-8205

Michael started as a Program Officer at Alaska Conservation Foundation in 2013; he now serves as Executive Director. His professional career in conservation began at the Municipality of Anchorage as the LED Lighting Project manager, a project that saved the city millions of dollars and reduced energy consumption by 60%.

Prior to joining Alaska Conservation Foundation, Michael co-founded an energy efficiency development company to engage utilities, cities, and military facilities in large-scale efficiency retrofits. As a research economist for renewable energy projects, he applied his energy efficiency experience across rural Alaska. Michael also managed the complex merger of Alaska Center for the Environment, Alaska Conservation Alliance and Voters and Alaska Youth for Environmental Action, a project supported by Alaska Conservation Foundation. Prior to that, he served as Board Treasurer for Alaska Conservation Alliance.

Born in Anchorage, Michael is a fourth-generation Alaskan. He received his undergraduate degree from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, and his MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio School of Management in San Francisco. He is an avid winter sports enthusiast and musician.


Mike Coumbe
Deputy Director | (907) 433-8216

Mike joined Alaska Conservation Foundation in 2013 to lead a team of grantmaking program staff. Born in Seward, raised in Anchorage and the Southwest U.S., he returned to Alaska at age 19 to find his roots, and then went about replanting them here.

He worked for the Alaska Legislature during pipeline construction days and again in recent years. He’s been an active participant in the political process throughout his life and an organizer in campaigns to protect Kachemak Bay State Park and the Anchorage Coastal Trail. His years with the League of Conservation Voters bolstered and connected conservation groups, Alaska Native organizations, Labor unions, and others across Alaska. He served as Alaska Conservation Alliance and Alaska Conservation Voters Interim Executive Director for a stint.

Hiking in the mountains, biking the Coastal Trail, and traveling globally are some of the ways he enjoys life.


Ruan du Plessis
Director of Finance and Operations  | (907) 433-8208

Ruan was born and raised about as far away from the Alaskan wilderness as one can get – at the Southern tip of Africa. He spent five years with PwC, both in South Africa and Bermuda, qualifying as a Chartered Accountant along the way, before making his way over to the U.S. As a finance consultant for The Siegfried Group, he worked on projects at Fortune 1000 companies. He traveled throughout the country in the process, including doing an assignment in Alaska, where he quickly became captivated by the natural splendor.

Interlaced with his professional assignments, Ruan also consulted with various conservation organizations on how to improve their financial operations and he decided to make the switch from corporate accounting permanent by joining Alaska Conservation Foundation in May 2018.

When not wielding debits and credits to protect Alaska’s natural environment, Ruan can be found hiking, enjoying a good glass of wine or getting lost exploring a new town or city.


Maggie O’Brien
Operations Associate | (907) 433-8212

Maggie is originally from South Dakota and moved to Alaska in 2017. Prior to this she had been coming up to Alaska since 2003 to work summers for the National Outdoor Leadership School as a Field Instructor. Maggie received her B.A. in Adventure Education from Prescott College in 2004 and went on to pursue her passion for this field by working in various departments at NOLS including Program and Operations. She has worked worldwide for NOLS including locations such as Patagonia and New Zealand but always felt at home in Alaska.

Most recently Maggie worked for Onward & Upward in the Mat Su Valley where she was able to immerse herself more in the community as well as the world of Finance and Administration. Maggie is excited to be a part of the ACF team and fill the role of Operations Associate where she aims to bring her passion for the environment and community to the team.

Maggie resides in Palmer and enjoys trail running, fishing, hiking and camping. 


Anna Dalton
Director of Grants and Programs | (907) 433-8213

Anna, a born and raised Alaskan, joined the Alaska Conservation Foundation team in 2014. She facilitates the grantmaking activities of the organization in addition to managing the Ted Smith Conservation Internship Program. Anna is thrilled to be working for an organization that is committed to protecting the state she calls home.

Anna graduated from Occidental College with a degree in Urban & Environmental Policy and minors in Biology and Sociology. Four years of dwelling in the urban jungle of Los Angeles left her itching to come home to mountains she had taken for granted as a child. Prior to Alaska Conservation Foundation, Anna worked as a grantmaker at the Alaska Community Foundation, where she engaged with non-profit organizations across the state.

When not working, you’ll find Anna running on trails throughout Dena’ina land. If she’s not running (unlikely), she’ll be outside doing some other form of physical activity.


Aaron Poe
Network Program Officer | (907) 433-8202

Aaron has worked in Alaska for over 20 years specializing in natural resource management, partnership development, and community engagement. His efforts have largely focused on helping agencies better understand risks to species and habitats as well as the value that these natural resources have for the communities who depend on them. He is currently the Coordinator for the Aleutian and Bering Sea Islands Landscape Conservation Cooperative and focuses on building partnerships between agencies, tribes, researchers, industry, and communities to address large-scale issues like climate change and marine vessel traffic in the Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea. He is also the program officer for the Sustainable Southeast Partnership and works with several small communities and nonprofit organizations in southeast Alaska to build localized solutions to socioeconomic and environmental challenges.

Aaron has B.S. degrees in Fisheries and Wildlife Management and Geography, specializing in GIS and Remote Sensing from Utah State University and a Masters in Natural Resource Management from the University of Arizona.

Away from work he enjoys spending time in the outdoors with his wife and two young children and being a vocal advocate for youth and public schools.


Ann Mayo-Kiely
Development and Program Coordinator | (907) 433-8207

Ann was born and raised in Wisconsin and moved around the northern US working for National Parks and Forests before arriving in Alaska in 2008 and stepping into nonprofit work. Ann joined Alaska Conservation Foundation in the Fall of 2019. She focuses on fundraising and collaboration around youth leadership in conservation. 

From her first positions volunteering with field research and environmental education in the Lake Superior and Boundary Waters region, Ann has loved connecting people with wild places. Her nonprofit work has focused on expanding opportunities and leadership roles for local youth, including starting the Arctic Youth Ambassadors and Chugach Children’s Forest programs. This has included a long learning process toward understanding and overcoming barriers to equitable involvement, with generous partners and colleagues invaluable along the way. Ann graduated from Colorado College with a degree in Political Science and Environmental Studies, and the University of Montana with an M.S. in Wilderness and Recreation Resources Management. 

In her time off Ann spends as much time as possible outside with her husband and three kids, gardening, exploring Anchorage’s trails by foot, ski, and bike, and whenever possible on the water in a canoe or kayak.


Kikiktagruk Macy Rae Kenworthy
Development and Operations Associate | (907) 433-8206

Macy Rae Kenworthy (Iñupiagisiga Kikiktagruk) was hired as the Development & Operations Associate in November 2020. Macy is Iñupiaq and is originally from Kotzebue and Sisualik, Alaska on the Northwest coast. She grew up learning to respect and take care of the land and applies the values learned in her childhood in everything she does today. Macy has participated in youth programs from a young age and became a strong advocate for climate change, Native issues, and education in rural Alaska. She uses her stories and experiences to educate others about life in the Arctic. She graduated from Mt. Edgecumbe High School, a boarding school in Sitka, Alaska, and is currently a student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks pursuing her degree in Psychology with a minor in Digital Journalism. Her involvement with youth programs, including the U.S. Arctic Youth Ambassadors program (2015-2017), has allowed her to make connections throughout Alaska and throughout other Arctic Nations where she has found many cultural connections. Macy enjoys photography, videography, sewing, and reading. She also enjoys spending as much time as she can out on the tundra with her family and her dog Kaiser Qipmiq.


Reth Duir
Youth Program Associate | (907) 433-8218

Reth Duir is a first generation American whose parents emigrated from South Sudan in 1994 to the United States. He spent most of his early childhood in the midwest and later moved to Anchorage, Alaska. Reth was a part of the Arctic Youth Ambassadors first program cohort, through his experience he was able to raise awareness of life and the challenges communities are facing in the US’s Arctic, “Alaska,” and has helped lead and grow youth programs with a goal of making public lands more accessible and relevant to all Alaskans. Prior to working at Alaska Conservation Foundation, Reth worked in Seattle, Washington helping unhoused populations seeking long term restoration.


Dan Cannon
Senior Public Lands Coordinator | (907) 433-8214

Dan joined Alaska Conservation Foundation in November of 2020 as the Public Lands Coordinator. Dan works to monitor Alaska conservation efforts and strengthen the movement by supporting grassroots advocacy efforts, especially to inform the foundation’s grantmaking and initiatives.

With over twelve years of organizing experience, Dan has mobilized hundreds of thousands of people across the country on a variety of environmental issues. After seven years with Greenpeace USA, most recently Dan worked as the Tongass Forest Program Manager for Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC). At SEACC Dan worked to engage the public in fighting industrial-scale old-growth clearcut logging, preventing roads to nowhere from being built and advocating for national Roadless Rule protections to remain on the Tongass. 

Born and raised in Ohio, Dan fell in love with Alaska while visiting a friend living on Prince of Wales Island. Dan holds a B.S. in Environmental Studies from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. Dan is an avid backpacker who enjoys local beer and skiing (water and snow) with his wife.


Leanna Heffner
Northwest Boreal Partnership Director | (907) 433-8204

Leanna holds a Ph.D. from the University of Rhode Island in Oceanography where she worked with other scientists, coastal managers, and community members to develop solutions to watershed pollution and climate change adaptation. For her post-doctoral work, Leanna was part of an interdisciplinary team of designers, engineers, and scientists at Louisiana State University’s Coastal Sustainability Studio tackling the land loss crisis on the Mississippi River Delta. Upon her arrival in Alaska in 2016, Leanna worked as the Science Communications Coordinator for the Western Alaska Partnership, a similar organization based in western Alaska that is also part of the Northern Latitudes Partnerships.
Leanna stepped into her leadership role as the Partnership Director with the Northwest Boreal Partnership in 2018 and has immensely enjoyed her work with a wonderful group of partners, all of whom are dedicated, passionate, and genuinely interested in collectively creating positive change from the ground up. In her current role with the Northwest Boreal Partnership, Leanna officially joined the Alaska Conservation Foundation team in early 2021. 
Leanna enjoys hiking, rock climbing, playing piano, board games, teaching and practicing yoga, and spending time with her husband Larry, two dogs Khody and Kush, and her two black kitties Luna and Loki. Leanna is based in Anchorage and originally hails from the beautiful desert lands of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Sijo Smith
Northern Latitudes Partnership Communications Coordinator | (907) 433-8215

Sijo joined the Alaska Conservation Foundation team in early 2021. Raised in Alaska, she is excited to be working for an organization that works to protect the wonderful state where she spent her childhood. Sijo is the coordinator for the Northern Latitudes Partnerships, a group of three regional partnerships across Alaska and Western Canada. She is thrilled to be working with a  broad range of individuals and organizations, all of whom are passionate about working together to address local and large-scale issues.
Sijo left Alaska for college, where she received a B.S. in Earth Systems from Stanford University. Her studies there offered exposure to unique communities and issues across the country, and their many approaches to environmental and socio-economic challenges. She also organized campaigns in Alaska and California as part of the climate justice movement and remains deeply invested in equitable climate solutions. 
Outside of work, Sijo enjoys backpacking with her partner, diving in California’s waters, cooking, reading, and drinking tea.

Darcy Peter
Aleutian & Bering Sea Initiative Partnership Coordinator | (907) 433-8210

Darcy L. Peter is our Aleutian & Bering Sea Initiative Partnership Coordinator. Darcy is Koyukon and Gwich’in Athabascan from Beaver, Alaska located along the Yukon River. She grew up living a subsistence way of life: fishing, hunting, and trapping in Beaver. Darcy received her BS from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. Following her graduation in 2017, Darcy worked for Alaska Native non-profits in environmental science, policy, and social science. She has an in-depth understanding of Arctic policy, including tribe, city, corporate, state, academic, federal, non-profit, etc. She is on six boards that range from state-wide (Alaska) to international. Darcy comes to us most recently from the Woodwell Climate Research Center where she served as a scientist for 2.5 years. While at Woodwell, Darcy helped other research scientists learn how to work in more equitable and productive partnerships with Indigenous communities. She is a firm believer that all research if properly communicated to locals and policy-makers, has the power to induce change. Darcy has also been an important contributor to the Steering Committee of the Northwest Boreal Partnership and is helping to lead the Indigenous Knowledges working group of the Northern Connections Project that Northern Latitudes launched in 2020. In her free time, Darcy enjoys traveling, spending time with family, and subsistence hunting, fishing & trapping in Alaska.

Nyssa Russell
Western Alaska Partnership Network Coordinator | (907) 433-8203

Nyssa Russell was born and raised at the “end of the road” in Homer and currently lives on Alutiiq Sugpiaq lands in Kodiak. She is excited to join the Alaska Conservation Foundation team as the Western Alaska Partnership Network Coordinator, where she will act as a liaison between a diverse network of partners to coordinate and facilitate work that promotes stewardship of lands, waters, and resources that sustain the life ways of Alaskans. Nyssa has previously worked with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game as a fishery biologist in many locations across Western Alaska, and most recently spent three years with a small climate adaptation consulting firm, Adaptation International, where she worked with municipalities and Tribes across the country to identify climate concerns and actions that could be taken to address them. Nyssa graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in Environmental Science and Policy and received her Master’s degree in Marine Policy and Science Communication from the University of Washington. Most of her professional work has focused on marine and coastal science and policy, broader climate resilience planning efforts, and science communication. Away from her computer, Nyssa loves exploring the outdoors with her husband, 3 dogs, and young son. You may also find her Googling the next dessert or bread recipe to make or on the softball diamond coaching high school girls or playing adult league herself. 


Alicia Sidebottom
Development Specialist | (907) 433-8217

Alicia grew up in Palmer on the traditional lands of the Dena’ina and Ahtna peoples, where she still lives today. Alicia graduated with a BA from UAA in 2014 in International Studies. That summer, her passion for supporting environmental nonprofits began when she completed an internship with Envision Mat-Su. She then headed for grad school to work toward her MA in Arctic & Northern Studies at UAF, after which she worked for a variety of nonprofits such as The Alaska Center, Alaska Community Action on Toxics, Food Bank of Alaska, and Mat-Su Health Foundation. She is excited to join the Alaska Conservation Foundation as a Development Specialist, and getting back to her environmental conservation roots. When not at work, Alicia can be found spending time with her husband Mitch, their daughter Aurelia, and their dog Grimm. She enjoys reading, writing fiction, yoga, embroidery, gaming, cross country skiing, and hiking.


Sophie Komornicki
Director of Communications and Storytelling | (907) 433-8219

Sophie joined Alaska Conservation Foundation in 2023 as the Director of Communications and Storytelling. She brings a wealth of experience in communications, fundraising, and audience development. After graduating with a B.S. in Business Management, she honed her marketing skills at a Chicago-based impact venture fund before delving into communications at a CSR-focused PR agency in Boston. Driven by a passion for the outdoors, Sophie further refined her communication expertise at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in Wyoming, where she served as the PR and Communications Manager.

Seizing the opportunities presented by COVID-19 travel restrictions, Sophie transitioned to a Wyoming nonprofit news source. In her dynamic role, she implemented a successful membership program, elevating engagement, expanding donor ranks, and increasing readership.

After learning to ski on Midwest ice, she enjoys all the snow and backcountry options Alaska has to offer.