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2019 September Membership Meeting

Please join us on Tuesday, September 17, 2019, 5-6pm, for the Friends membership meeting. 

In person meetings:
Anchorage Loussac Library Anchorage Moose Room-reception begins at 4:30pm
Homer Islands and Ocean Visitor Center, 95 Sterling Highway
Soldotna Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, Ski Hill Road
Fairbanks Watershed School 4975 Decathlon

For those outside these cities: you can download the presentation from this page the day of the meeting and call in a few minutes before 5pm (866) 556-2149, code 8169747#

Guest Speaker Presentation: Nicole Whittington-Evans, Defenders of Wildlife, Alaska Program Director and former Friends’ Board Member

Wildlife and Wildlands in These Trying Times

What are the prospects for our Alaska environment and wildlife given recent reports, administration actions, regulation changes and proposed projects? How will key species and wildlife areas be affected? How do we keep from being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of these changes and proposed projects competing for our attention and response? Nicole, one of Alaska’s most dedicated wildlife advocates, will give her perspective on where we are now and what we can do as individuals and groups to face these alarming proposals and predictions for our state and our planet.  

Defenders’ Alaska Program Director, Nicole Whittington-Evans, started out her environmental career studying and working on wildlife issues.  During the 1990’s, she received an MS in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana, where she focused on Alaska’s predator control efforts, served for a time as the Executive Director of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance, and was elected or invited to participate in a number of wildlife stakeholder groups, including an appointment to Alaska’s Board of Game by Governor Tony Knowles in 1997.  For the past twenty-one years she worked on public lands and wilderness issues at The Wilderness Society and served as the Alaska Director for the organization from 2009 to 2018. She also served for three years starting in 2007 on the board of the Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges as the Outreach Coordinator.  Throughout her environmental career she has blended science and policy to advance the strongest protections possible for wildlife and public lands conservation.  Nicole’s interest in environmental work began when she was an Instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School, and she has traveled throughout much of Alaska’s backcountry by foot, ski, raft and kayak.  As a mountaineer she was part of two successful summit teams on Denali (20,320’), including participating in the first all-women’s traverse of the mountain in 1988, and on Argentina’s Aconcagua (23,000’).  She lives with her husband and two daughters in the foothills of the Chugach Mountains, where she continues to recreate and enjoy wildlife with her family in Alaska’s unmatched wild country.

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Agenda:

Introductions and Discussion (5 minutes)
  • Introductions: Where do you live?
  • New People: Why did you join the call today?
  • Reminder to please mute yourselves when you aren’t talking
Board Activities/Decisions
  • Refuge Projects and Reports 
Committee Reports (2-5 minutes each): Volunteer Report – (Betty) Membership/Outreach Events: Upcoming events (Tara) Advocacy Updates (David, Dave)

Speaker/Presentation (30-40 minutes) –
Nicole Whittinton-Evans
Topic: Wildlife and Wildlands in these Trying Times 

Next Meeting: Tuesday, October 15, 5-6pm Guest Speaker TBA
Six meetings yearly: January, February, March, April, September, October
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2019 April Membership Meeting

Please join us on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, 5-6pm, for the Friends membership meeting.

In person: Homer (Alaska Maritime), Fairbanks (Watershed School, 4975 Decathlon), or Soldotna (Kenai NWR) Call in a few minutes before 5pm: (866) 556-2149, code :8169747#

Guest Speaker Presentation: John Morton, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge –

Effects of a Rapidly Warming Climate on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
The Kenai Peninsula is one of the best-studied parts of the state for climate change effects and John Morton, a supervisory biologist for the Kenai Refuge,  has been a key part of that.  Managing the effects of rapid climate change on the 2 million-acre Kenai National Wildlife Refuge will be a challenge to its primary purpose of conserving natural diversity.  In 50 years, the treeline rose 50m in the Kenai Mountains, wetlands decreased 6-11% per decade, the Harding Icefield lost 5% in surface area and 21m in elevation, and available water declined 62%. Late summer canopy fires in spruce are being replaced by spring fires in bluejoint grasslands. Water temperatures in nonglacial streams already exceed physiological thresholds for salmon during July. Bird species are moving north and more than 130 exotic bird species have become established. Climate-envelope models portray a very different future landscape with alpine tundra replaced by forests and lower elevation forests replaced by hardwoods or possibly catastrophic deforestation.  How can the Refuge or any of the refuges manage for biodiversity under this scenario?

Download Presentation

Agenda:

Introductions and Discussion (5 minutes)
  • Introductions: Where do you live? (Tara)
  • New People: Why did you join the call today?
  • Reminder to please mute yourselves when you aren’t talking
Board Activities/Decisions
  • Refuge Projects and Reports (Betty)
Committee Reports (2-5 minutes each): Volunteer Report – (Betty) Membership/Outreach Events: Upcoming events (Tara) Advocacy Updates (David, Dave)
Speaker/Presentation (30-40 minutes) –
  • John Morton, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
  • Topic: “Effects of a Rapidly Warming Climate on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge”
Next Meeting: Tuesday, September 10th, 5-6pm Guest Speaker: TBA
SIX meetings yearly: January, February, March, April, September, October
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2019 March Membership Meeting

Please join us on Tuesday, March 19, 2019, 5-6pm, for the Friends membership meeting.

In person: Homer (Alaska Maritime) or Soldotna (Kenai NWR) Call in a few minutes before 5pm: (866) 556-2149, code :8169747#

Guest Speaker Presentation: Ray Born– “Yukon Delta NWR – A Complex and Wonderful Place”

Birds fill the skies of the watery vast world of the Yukon Delta. The 19.3 million acre refuge is the country’s most important shorebird nesting area. Add in a million ducks and half a million geese plus 40,000 loons and 100,000 swans and you can see why it is considered one of the world’s largest aggregations of nesting waterbirds. But it isn’t just about birds. The refuge is famous for trophy rainbow and salmon fishing since the Yukon, the Kuskokwim and their tributaries such as the Kisaralik flow through the refuge. Even muskox are found on Nunivak Island. The Delta is also noted for its thriving Native villages where the Yupik language and subsistence culture flourish. Come discover the Delta and learn what Refuge projects we Friends may be able to help with.   DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION

Agenda:

Introductions and Discussion (5 minutes)
  • Introductions: Where do you live? (Poppy)
  • New People: Why did you join the call today?
  • Reminder to please mute yourselves when you aren’t talking
Board Activities/Decisions
  • Refuge Projects and Reports (Betty)
Committee Reports (2-5 minutes each): Volunteer Report – (Betty) Membership/Outreach Events: Upcoming events (Poppy) Advocacy Updates (David, Dave, Mallory)
Speaker/Presentation (30-40 minutes) –
  • Ray Born, Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge
  • Topic: “Yukon Delta NWR – A Complex and Wonderful Place”
Next Meeting: Tuesday, April 16th, 5-6pm Guest Speaker: John Morton/ Kenai NWR
SIX meetings yearly: January, February, March, April, September, October
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2019 February Membership Meeting – Feb. 12

Due to the ongoing possibility of another federal government shutdown, this meeting has been moved up a week (originally scheduled for Feb. 19th)

Please join us on Tuesday, February 12, 2019, 5-6pm, for the Friends membership meeting.

In person: Homer (Alaska Maritime) or Soldotna (Kenai NWR)
Call in a few minutes before 5pm: (866) 556-2149, code :8169747# 

Guest Speaker Presentation:
Bill Carter – “A Permafrost Thaw Slump and Its Effect on Selawik River Inconnu (Sheefish) Spawning Recruitment”

In the summer of 2004, a retrogressive permafrost thaw slump (slump, mudslide) began dumping sediment into the Selawik River in northwest Alaska. It’s location above the spawning area of one of two Inconnu populations (Stenodus leucichthys) that share rearing and overwintering habitat in Selawik Lake, Hotham Inlet and Kotzebue Sound was cause for concern for local subsistence users and fisheries managers. The subsequent erosion of material from the slump has deposited more than 365,000 m3 (477,402 yd3) of sediment into the river, and the silt plume could be seen over 145 km (90 mi) downstream. The spawning area, only 40 km (25 mi) downstream, was threatened by heavy sedimentation. A population age structure study to explore the effects of the slump using otolith (ear bone) aging began in 2011, giving us pre-slump age data as the first recruits from the 2004 spawning event wouldn’t return until the age-9 (2014). Age structure data has revealed an interesting population dynamic not only in the Selawik River population but also in its sister population of Inconnu in the Kobuk River that is being used as an experimental control.


Download Bill Carter’s Presentation
Download Bill Carter’s Presentation (widescreen version)

*SIX meetings yearly: January, February, March, April, September, October

Agenda
Introductions and Discussion (5 minutes)

  • Introductions: Where do you live? (Poppy)
  • New People: Why did you join the call today?
  • Reminder to please mute yourselves when you aren’t talking

Board Activities/Decisions

  • Refuge Projects and Reports (Betty)

Committee Reports (2-5 minutes each):
Volunteer Report – (Betty)
Membership/Outreach Events: Upcoming events (Poppy)

  • Refuge Discovery Trip Report out
    • Trips in the Works
    • Art in the Arctic & Alaska Bird Conference
    • Details for all on our EVENTS tab – on website; we’ll send more updates via newsletter
  • Advocacy Updates (David Raskin & Dave Aplin)
    • Arctic Drilling

Speaker/Presentation (30-40 minutes) –

  • Bill Carter, Togiak National Wildlife Refuge
  • Topic: “A Permafrost Thaw Slump and Its Effect on Selawik River Inconnu (Sheefish) Spawning Recruitment”

Next Meeting: Tuesday, March 9th, 5-6pm/ Guest Speaker TBA
SIX meetings yearly: January, February, March, April, September, October

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2019 January Membership Meeting – Jan. 15 (CANCELLED)

Due to the ongoing federal government shutdown, this meeting has been canceled. We hope to have Bill Carter present at a future membership meeting.

Please join us on Tuesday, January 15, 2019, 5-6pm, for the Friends membership meeting. 

In person: Homer (Alaska Maritime) or Soldotna (Kenai NWR)
Call in a few minutes before 5pm: (866) 556-2149, code :8169747# 

Guest Speaker Presentation:
Bill Carter – “A Permafrost Thaw Slump and Its Effect on Selawik River Inconnu (Sheefish) Spawning Recruitment”

In the summer of 2004, a retrogressive permafrost thaw slump (slump, mudslide) began dumping sediment into the Selawik River in northwest Alaska. It’s location above the spawning area of one of two Inconnu populations (Stenodus leucichthys) that share rearing and overwintering habitat in Selawik Lake, Hotham Inlet and Kotzebue Sound was cause for concern for local subsistence users and fisheries managers. The subsequent erosion of material from the slump has deposited more than 365,000 m3 (477,402 yd3) of sediment into the river, and the silt plume could be seen over 145 km (90 mi) downstream. The spawning area, only 40 km (25 mi) downstream, was threatened by heavy sedimentation. A population age structure study to explore the effects of the slump using otolith (ear bone) aging began in 2011, giving us pre-slump age data as the first recruits from the 2004 spawning event wouldn’t return until the age-9 (2014). Age structure data has revealed an interesting population dynamic not only in the Selawik River population but also in its sister population of Inconnu in the Kobuk River that is being used as an experimental control.

Check here for presentation materials, closer to the meeting date.


*SIX meetings yearly: January, February, March, April, September, October
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2018 October Membership Meeting – Oct. 16th

Please join us on Tuesday, October 16th, 5-6pm, for the Friends membership meeting. 

In person: Homer (Alaska Maritime) or Soldotna (Kenai NWR)
Call in a few minutes before 5pm: (866) 556-2149, code :8169747# 

Agenda:

Introductions and Discussion (5 minutes)
Introductions: Where do you live? (Poppy)
New People: Why did you join the call today?
Reminder to please mute yourselves when you aren’t talking

Board Activities/Decisions– Refuge Projects Approved (Betty)

Committee Reports (2-5 minutes each):
Volunteer Report – (Betty)

Membership/Outreach Events:
Upcoming Events & Other Outreach (Poppy)
Details for all on our EVENTS tab – on website; we’ll send more updates via newsletter

Advocacy Updates (David Raskin)

Speaker/Presentation (30-40 minutes):  
Special Guest: Susanna Henry, Refuge Manager/TogiakNational Wildlife Refuge 
Topic: “Togiak Refuge’s Cape Peirce – Scenery, Wildlife, and Management Challenges


Download Cape Peirce Presentation

Next Meeting: Tuesday January 15, 2019

*SIX meetings yearly: January, February, March, April, September, October
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2018 September Membership Meeting – Sept. 18th

Please join us on Tuesday, September 18th, 5-6pm, for the Friends membership meeting. 

In person: Homer (Alaska Maritime) or Soldotna (Kenai NWR)
Call in a few minutes before 5pm: (866) 556-2149, code :8169747# 

Note Program Change:  Too much fire to talk fire!  The Kenai Fire Staff is on their way to the lower 48 where the fire season is still going hot in what Assistant Fire Manager Mike Hill calls “the new normal.”  The Fire on the Kenai program will be rescheduled after the snow flies.

Agenda:

Introductions and Discussion (5 minutes)
Introductions: Where do you live? (Poppy)
New People: Why did you join the call today?
Reminder to please mute yourselves when you aren’t talking

Board Activities/Decisions– Refuge Projects Approved (Betty)

Committee Reports (2-5 minutes each):
Volunteer Report – (Betty)
Summer projects wrap up – overview of funded volunteer projects
Call for board/ committee members

Membership/Outreach Events:
Upcoming events in Kenai and Homer (Tara)
Other Outreach (Poppy)
Details for all on our EVENTS tab – on website; we’ll send more updates via newsletter

Advocacy Updates (David Raskin)

Speaker/Presentation (30-40 minutes):  
Special Guest: Matt Conner, Ranger/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge 
Topic: “If You Teach a Kid to Fish


Although just 3 hours down the road from Alaska’s largest city, the Kenai Refuge is unknown and inaccessible to many Anchorage kids.  The Refuge partnered with Alaska Geographic and others to find those urban teens who have had no opportunity to experience the wild and bring them to the refuge.  Kenai Ranger Matt Connor uses flyfishing and archery to entice urban teens into engaging with and feeling comfortable in the outdoors.  No cell phone can offer the hands-on excitement of catching fish on a fly you have tied yourself. 

Come hear about Matt’s successful program “Stick and String Naturalist” and find out how you can help.  Stick and String campers learn stream ecology, aquatic invertebrates, and stream conservation and how to apply that knowledge to fishing skills such as knowing what fly to tie and how to read the riffles in the river.  They journal about nature, learn outdoor cooking, camping skills, photography and reading the landscape.  Ranger Matt is looking for flyfishing and archery knowledgeable Friends plus new ideas to help him expand this program to get more kids outside and connected to the refuges of Alaska!  


Download Stick-and-String Presentation

Next Meeting: Tuesday October, 5-6pm/ Susanna Henry, “Togiak Refuge’s Cape Peirce – Scenery, Wildlife, and Management Challenges”

*SIX meetings yearly: January, February, March, April, September, October
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2018 April Membership Meeting


In person: Homer (Alaska Maritime) or Soldotna (Kenai NWR)
Call in a few minutes before 5pm: (866) 556-2149, code :8169747# 


Special Guest: Sara Straub, Student Conservation Association  Intern and former Directorate Fellow
Topic: “75th Battle of Attu Commemoration”

For thousands of years, the island of Attu was home to people and wildlife. Long before the war, Attu was one of the earliest Federally protected wildlife resource areas. The Battle of Attu forever changed the island, its inhabitants, and the lives of those who waged battle there, leaving behind scars and stories scattered among the national wildlife refuge that exists today. Student Conservation Association  Intern and former Directorate Fellow Sara Straub will highlight the events of 75 years ago on the island of Attu and share the commemorative activities that are have been held already and those scheduled for this spring. For more details on the commemoration check out the website: Attu75.org


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2018 March Membership Meeting

Please join us on Tuesday, March 20, for the Friends membership meeting.
Call in a few minutes before 5pm: (866) 556-2149, code :8169747# 

Special Guest: Kristine Sowl, Yukon Delta NWR
“The importance of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta to shorebirds and recent efforts to obtain population estimates”

Kristine will present on the population estimates derived from the 2015-16 PRISM surveys and discuss how these may change some of the continental population estimates for several shorebird species.

Kristine Sowl
is a wildlife biologist who studies wildlife ecology in subarctic ecosystems. She currently is in charge of the non-game bird program (landbirds, shorebirds, raptors, and seabirds) at Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge in western Alaska.  She has spent over 25 years working as a biologist on public lands in Alaska, including Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge, and brief stints at the Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge and Aniakchak National Monument.  She received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks in 1985 and completed a Master of Science in Wildlife Biology from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks in 2003.  Currently, her work is focused on the breeding and migration ecology of Beringian shorebirds, including the bar-tailed godwit, black turnstone, bristle-thighed curlew, western sandpiper, and Pacific subspecies of dunlin.

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2018 February Membership Meeting


In person: Homer (Alaska Maritime) or Soldotna (Kenai NWR)
Call in a few minutes before 5pm: (866) 556-2149, code :8169747# 

Special Guest: Patrick Walsh, Supervisory Biologist
/Togiak NWR
Stories and Studies of Wolves at Togiak National Wildlife Refuge

We have formally studied wolves for the past 10 years at Togiak National Wildlife Refuge, focusing most effort on understanding the role wolves play in regulating moose and caribou populations. This presentation will provide the results of a completed study of wolf predation on a small caribou herd, and will provide preliminary results from an ongoing study of wolf predation on the refuge’s moose population. During the course of the formal studies, we have made a number of incidental observations on wolf life history and behavior that are worth telling. So, this talk will be a combination of studies and stories about the wolves of Togiak Refuge.

Download Powerpoint Presentation



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