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Announcing ACF’s 2017 Conservation Achievement Award Recipients & Luncheon 

It’s Time to Celebrate!

Yellow Pond Lilies in Lake Clark National Park & Preserve ©2017 Housberg Award recipient, Carl Johnson/

Yellow Pond Lilies in Lake Clark National Park & Preserve ©2017 Housberg Award Recipient, Carl Johnson/

Since 1985, ACF has honored individuals and organizations for their exceptional contributions to Alaska conservation. Please join us for a luncheon on October 5, 2017 to honor this year’s Conservation Achievement Award recipients and celebrate their inspiring contributions to safeguarding Alaska’s wildlands, waters and wildlife and the ways of life they sustain.  

  • Lifetime Achievement Award

    Rick Sinnott, Anchorage  

  • Celia Hunter Award for Outstanding Volunteer Contributions

    Frank Keim, Fairbanks  

  • Olaus Murie Award for Outstanding Professional Contributions

    Nicole Whittington-Evans, Anchorage  

  • Denny Wilcher Award for Young Environmental Activist

    Tyroan (Roan) Rediske, Homer  

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

    Bristol Bay Heritage Land Trust, Dillingham  

  • Jerry S. Dixon Award for Excellence in Environmental Education

    Richard Carstensen, Juneau  

  • Daniel Housberg Wilderness Image Award for Excellence in Still Photography, Film or Video

    Carl Johnson, Anchorage  

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

    Patty Schwalenberg, Anchorage 

Event Details



Thursday, October 5, 2017  


Williwaw 601 F Street Anchorage, Alaska  


12:00 – 1:00p   Buffet Lunch  
1:00 – 2:00p   Awards Presentation  
2:00 – 3:00p   Dessert & Coffee  


Click here to purchase tickets for this year’s award luncheon by September 28th; seating is limited.

$35/person, $25/student (K-12).

Questions?  Please contact Lucas Veldhuis at or (907) 433-8214.

Save the Date ~ 2017 Conservation Achievement Awards Luncheon! 

Tribute to Ken Leghorn: A Champion of Conservation and Community 

Dear Friends:

Ken Leghorn ©Tom Bol, 2004

Ken Leghorn ©Tom Bol, 2004

We are deeply saddened to share that our friend and Emeritus Trustee, Ken Leghorn, passed away on April 11, 2017 after a seven-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family and many friends around the country. (Ken’s full obituary can be found here.)

If there ever was an ambassador for Alaska’s wildlands, waters and people, it was Ken. He served on the ACF board for a remarkable 17 years, many of those as chair. During his tenure, Ken worked passionately to secure adequate funding to preserve what made Alaska such a special place for him and for all of us.

Ken was a catalyst for the greater good, always walking the talk. After his time at ACF, he went on to help start and even lead the Juneau Community Foundation (JCF). On March 1, 2017, in the presence of his beloved family and a heartwarming, standing-room-only crowd at the Governor’s Mansion in Juneau, Ken and his lifetime of achievements were honored, and JCF bestowed him with their Founders’ Award.

We want to share some of the moving speeches made by Ken’s long-time friends, including Lt. Governor Byron Mallot and fellow ACF Emeritus Trustee, Sam Skaggs—and by Ken himself. The speeches can be found here at minutes 3:45, 10:51 and 25:27, respectively.

Ken believed in the power of “giving big” to make a lasting impact. At the gathering, he spoke from his heart about what philanthropy means to him (this starts at minute 27:06):

“…it’s investments in ideas, but it’s really investments in people, the people that are going to bring those ideas to fruition. The results are a better life, better community, I would say a better Earth, but I don’t think we can improve on the one we’ve got. And along the way, there is just incredible meaning and amazing friendships that develop, and it leads to a result like this gathering of people that share the same values.”

Ken also believed strongly that to keep Alaska’s natural environment and our communities strong requires an ongoing investment in the next generation of Alaska conservation leaders.

He demonstrated this commitment when he established the Leghorn Family Internship Fund at Alaska Conservation Foundation to help ensure a long-term source of support for Alaskan interns participating in ACF’s Ted Smith Conservation Internship Program, which was near and dear to his heart. Since it began over 15 years ago, hundreds of young leaders from around the country have participated in this life-changing opportunity, and are now making their own mark on the conservation movement.

Those of us who were privileged enough to know and work alongside Ken have lost a dear friend and role model. Ken’s enduring gifts of vision, kindness and generosity will continue to inspire us to, simply—be like Ken.


Michael Barber


If you would like to contribute to the Leghorn Family Internship Fund in Ken’s memory, please click here. Please indicate that you would like your gift to go to the “Leghorn Fund” and we will ensure that his family receives notification of your generosity.

Giving by mail or phone:

Alaska Conservation Foundation
Attn: Development Office
911 W. 8th Avenue, Suite 300
Anchorage, AK 99501
(907) 276-1917

For more information, please contact ACF’s Philanthropy Manager at 907-276-1917 or at

ACF Launches Alaska Defense Fund 

Stand with us!

Alaska Conservation Foundation launched the Alaska Defense Fund* on Inauguration Day 2017 with a goal of raising $1 million a year for the next four years to support a more aggressive grantmaking effort. ACF committed $200,000 to kick off the fund and we have already raised more than $100,000 to add to that.

We now know the tremendous threat the new administration and Congress pose to our federal public lands in Alaska and the progress we have made as a nation on building resilience to our climate crisis. Our concern increased with the confirmation of Scott Pruitt as head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

ACF is strategizing with our partners daily. We are committed to funding their collaborative efforts to protect our public lands and waters in Alaska, wild salmon and old-growth forests from harmful policies that further industrial-scale development and climate change.

Your gift today will go directly to ensuring ACF can stay nimble against the mounting threats, and deploy resources to our partners quickly, where and when needed most.

Tongass National Forest ©Damion Brook Kintz

Tongass National Forest ©Damion Brook Kintz

Tremendous challenges are ahead but we must remember that for over 35 years ACF, our partners and you have successfully defended Alaska’s unparalleled natural environment and the ways of life it sustains. And with your help, we will prevail again.

Under our collective watch:

•  The coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has yet to be opened to oil and gas development.
•  Pebble Mine has yet to be built in the Bristol Bay watershed.
•  Industrial-scale logging of old-growth forests in the Tongass National Forest has decreased tremendously.

But these successes are tentative now and pointed attacks have already begun.

If you are already a supporter, please consider sharing this with your friends, making an additional special gift today and/or becoming a sustaining monthly donor by joining our Great Land Giving Club.

If you have made a gift recently, we thank you!


*The Alaska Defense Fund is a campaign of Alaska Conservation Foundation—a 501(c)(3) organization. Your contribution to ACF may qualify for a tax deduction based on your individual circumstance. ACF’s tax identification number is 92-0061466.

100% of our Trustees Donate to ACF, Now it’s Staffs’ Turn! 

Denali National Park ©John Schoen

Denali National Park ©John Schoen

On November 29, 2016, #GivingTuesday, ACF staff have donated $3,000 to show our commitment to defending Alaska. And now we challenge YOU: Will you help double our impact in the next 24 hours (through 10:00 a.m. on November 30)? Just click here to make your gift and here to follow our progress on Facebook. THANK YOU!

2016 Conservation Achievement Awards Luncheon 


Please join Alaska Conservation Foundation for a celebration of the 2016 Conservation Achievement Award recipients at a luncheon in their honor on September 22, 2016 from 12:00 to 3:00 at Williwaw Restaurant in Anchorage. 

Click here for the list of this year’s recipients.

To purchase tickets for this year’s award luncheon, click here.

Questions? Please contact Lucas Veldhuis at or (907) 433-8214.

Photo credit: Snowy Owlets, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge ©Art Wolfe/


Meet the 2016 Conservation Interns! 

Most of the group on a hike in the Chugach Mountains, a tradition during orientation ©Anna Dalton

Most of the group on a hike in the Chugach Mountains, a tradition during orientation ©Anna Dalton

This year’s cohort of Ted Smith Conservation Interns is now a month into their internships at their host organizations like Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council and Southeast Alaska Conservation Council.

Click here to read more about them and the meaningful projects they are working on this summer.

Now Accepting Applications to the Organizational Capacity Grantmaking Program 

Pond on Revillagigedo Island ©Ground Truth Trekking

Pond on Revillagigedo Island ©Ground Truth Trekking

Now through August 26, 2016, Alaska Conservation Foundation is accepting applications for our Organizational Capacity grantmaking program. Successful applicants will receive $20,000 in general operating support for their efforts to achieve more robust environmental policies, enduring conservation impact and a more influential conservation movement.

Click here for more details!

Small Grants Program Now Accepting Applications 

Chocolate Lily ©Stacy Studebaker

Chocolate Lily ©Stacy Studebaker

ACF is happy to announce a new Small Grants Program.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis with awards ranging from $500 to $2,000 and preference given to organizations with annual operating budgets under $200,000. The goal of this grantmaking program is to foster a more effective, sustainable conservation movement through funding to strengthen its leadership base, encourage collaboration and help leaders and organizations navigate changing political and economic climates.

Click here for more details!

Calling for nominations for the 2016 Conservation Achievement Awards! 

2015 Awards Luncheon ©Lucas Veldhuis

2015 Awards Luncheon ©Lucas Veldhuis

Do you know an individual or organization making a significant difference in their efforts to protect Alaska’s natural environment and the diverse cultures and ways of life it sustains? If so, do your part to recognize their contributions by nominating them for an award in one of eight categories. Click here for the details.

Nominations are due to ACF by April 30th!

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