Job Opportunity: Keex’ Kwaan Community Forest Partnership Program Manager

The Organized Village of Kake is hiring a program manager to work with the the Keex’ Kwaan Community Forest Partnership (KKCFP).  

The Keex’ Kwaan Community Forest Partnership is an “all-lands, all-hands” approach to community-based natural resource management that includes Sealaska, Kake Tribal, The Organized Village of Kake, SE Alaska Land Trust, The Sustainable Southeast Partnership, The Nature Conservancy, SEAWEAD, The Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the US Forest Service as core partners. The primary goals of the KKCFP are to build strong working relationships between all partners, develop community capacity for sustainable natural resource management and pool collective resources to implement projects that add value for stakeholders across the entire triple bottom line, e.g. traditional wild food productivity, local business development and watershed health. Learn more about KKCFP here. 

  • Term: 1-2 years minimum with option for 5 years depending on performance
  • Location: Kake, Alaska

Pay: $45-60,000 DOE

Learn more about the position and how to apply by clicking here!

 

SSP Reconnects in Juneau for Spring Retreat

Written by Paul Hackenmueller, Program Director

SSP’s annual spring retreat was in Juneau, March 7-9.  This three day workshop gave catalysts and partners a chance to reflect on the growth of the network, learn new tools to apply to their work, grapple with questions about growing SSP into the future, and (of course!) reconnect.  Over 35 individuals from 20+ organizations attended the event, from longtime partners and host organizations to new friends in new communities. As usual, this year’s spring meeting coincided with other regional gatherings in Juneau.  Many partners began the week at Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition’s Restoration Workshop and spent time with the Hoonah Native Forest Partnership’s technical team before spending two days with the whole network in downtown Juneau. The whole group spent Thursday night and Friday at the Shrine of St. Therese where we saw rain, snow, sun and sea lions in a serene setting overlooking Lynn Canal.

Each SSP retreat has a different flavor, if you will, and this spring we spent our time and energy thinking about the future.  As the network grows, we want to ensure partner communities, organizations, businesses, and individuals are empowered to participate in ways that contribute to our region’s resiliency.  Maintaining equity and inclusion while strengthening the network in an uncertain funding landscape is of critical importance to the network, and participants embraced these discussions with gusto.
 
We’re fortunate to make new friends each time the network gathers, and this year was no different.  Many catalysts have worked with Ecotrust on projects in SE, and several of their staff were able to come learn more about SSP in person. Thanks to The Nature Conservancy’s Emerald Edge Community Exchange program, several members of the Puyallup Watershed Initiative joined our discussion for the week.  PWI is a network in Washington state with a collaborative approach to community well being that’s similar to our own.  The relationships forged and insights gleaned from these new friends are already bearing fruit, and I expect them to continue well into the future. Learn more about their exchange by reading their reflection here.  TNC also supported the retreat with additional staff and facilitation from Reos Partners, a global firm with expertise in helping teams work together effectively.  
 
One other important event to come out of the week was the announcement of a new SSP Program Director.  Alana Peterson, SSP’s director for the last for years has decided to transition out. The SSP Steering Committee opened the position to existing SSP catalysts and selected me – hi, I’m Paul.  I’ve been working at Spruce Root as the Regional Catalyst for Economic Development for the past three years. I’ve worked closely with Alana and have learned a great deal about our southeast communities, collaboration, and trust from each of the catalysts I’ve met. It has been one of the true pleasures of my life to work with such this group.  I will be coming to all of the SSP communities in the coming months, and look forward to connecting with each of you soon.
 
On the ride home on the final day, I was exhausted, of course, by the intensity of the discussions, but invigorated and encouraged by the passion of the people in the room and filled with a sense that the work we’re doing just might be the start of something big.  Something that helps drive us toward a more resilient and, yes, sustainable Southeast.

Learning Exchange with the Pacific Northwest: Sustainable Southeast Partnership Invites Puyallup Watershed Initiative

This is a reflection piece written by the Puyallup Watershed Initiative about their recent participation in the spring Sustainable Southeast Partnership retreat. 

The Puyallup Watershed Initiative (PWI) is all about building community. It turns out the PWI itself belongs to a community.

It’s not a big community – yet.

“The pool of people doing backbone staffing to support this work is pretty small. There are not a lot of peers, so it’s valuable hearing another community trying out an initiative like this, learning about their successes – because you might be the only group in your region,” said Jennifer Chang, Acting Director for the PWI. The Puyallup Watershed Initiative is a new model for community-centered change. Our mission is to improve social and environmental conditions throughout the region, which comprises more than 1,000 square miles from Mt. Rainier to Commencement Bay in Washington State. 

Thanks to the Sustainable Southeast Partnership (SSP) in Alaska, and with support from The Nature Conservancy, the community of place-driven locally-led change makers just grew a lot stronger in the Pacific Northwest. Like with many such connections, this one started with an email.

Back in Fall of last year, Aaron Ferguson, Regional Sustainability Catalyst for the SSP, emailed the PWI with some intriguing questions about impact and sustainability. As noted in the first article on Learning Exchanges, this topic is a major focus for the PWI as it enters the second half of its 10-year project span. The SSP was in a mindset, and Aaron’s questions hit home with the PWI team: does PWI rely on philanthropy to sustain its work? Memberships? What is the PWI’s organizational structure? Is it a nonprofit? A for-profit? A mix of the two? How did the PWI preserve its mission while balancing funding considerations?

Amidst all that brainstorming and conversation, one question naturally popped up for Jennifer: “Wouldn’t it be cool to do a Learning Exchange?” The idea was that one organization would host the other to share and ideate together. Face-to-face meetings, facilitated discussions, patient listening – for two organizations focused on community engagement and action, that could be the only way to communicate.

Knowing that the Nature Conservancy was keen to see such exchanges occur, Aaron at the SSP reached out to them and, together with the PWI team, submitted a proposal to fund a community learning exchange where PWI staff would fly out to southeastern Alaska to meet with the SSP team. The proposal was accepted, and within months, the SSP and the PWI had planned the learning exchange; it would occur from March 7 to March 9, 2018, alongside SSP’s spring retreat.

Jennifer Chang, Acting Director for the PWI, Community Relations Manager April Nishimura, and Alisa O’Hanlon for the City of Tacoma’s Office of Government Relations office, packed up their warmest winter gear and headed north for the three-day session with SSP. Jennifer and April are part of the PWI staff, but Alisa’s involvement was especially interesting. Besides being her first time in Alaska, Alisa had served on the PWI’s Transitional Board to guide the PWI toward creating a permanent Community Board. Alisa’s knowledge and understanding of the mechanisms that would help the PWI endure would be hugely relevant to this trip.

The PWI and the SSP’s two teams shared about their successes in building community and creating a communication culture that prioritized relationship-building and community-level input. They discussed their similarities and did not shy away from sharing deeply felt challenges, like the few number of organizations working in this space, the focus on a process-driven instead of outputs-driven model, the delicate balance between effective decision-making and governance structures, and the sometimes overwhelming question: What exactly does your organization do?

The various answers to that question revealed why organizations like the PWI and the SSP are crucial for community-building. For Alisa, one answer is communication. How are we signaling to each other in the community about emerging needs? How are we communicating together as a team to share information freely? Using a team sports analogy, how are we helping inform our teammates about our position so they can pass us the ball? “Both of our organizations are trying to figure out how to keep up that communication in a timely manner that keeps pace with the work,” Alisa said.

While many productive meetings occurred indoors, a key lesson presented itself to the PWI team outdoors as well. Like the SSP, the PWI is a place-based organization that is deeply invested in its environmental health and influenced by its location. The PWI team learned how southeastern Alaska’s conditions of low population density and lengthy travel shaped the way SSP staff intentionally build relationships and networks. “You don’t have a lot of people around you so you have to be conscientious about reaching out,” said Jennifer. “When you need help, you have to have that support system in place.”

Jennifer believes place-based, community- driven learning will drive our push toward sustainability. “At heart, we believe as community members of our community, we have the answers,” she said.

Both sides came away from the session impressed with the other: the PWI appreciated the SSP’s “Community Catalysts” as connected, direct points of contact in communities participating within SSP who support and further local action, while the SSP felt the PWI’s Community Board was a real step forward in creating an independent entity that can realize its own vision and values.

So while the start of this discussion has answered some questions and raised even more, perhaps the best takeaway is: in this work, we are not alone.

For more information about the Puyallup Watershed Initiative’s vision for community-centered change to address environmental and social inequities, visit: http://pwi.org

 

 

Southeast Garden Conference 2018

Join  gardeners of Southeast Alaska in Haines Feb 16-18th, 2018 for a 3 day conference on growing local produce in our short challenging growing season.  Focusing on home use and small-scale farms, topics will include soil health, gardening practices, storage and preservation, composting, and food security.. Jeff Lowenfels, acclaimed long-time Alaskan garden author and writer, will be the keynote speaker. Format will include break- out sessions with local experienced growers, community extension personnel and sharing forums.. There will be many opportunities to network and share knowledge. 

February 16- 18, 2018

More information and sign up at:

http://bit.ly/2Bo0s6J

Brought to you by Southeast Gardener’s of Alaska”

Wanted: Yakutat Home Energy Leader!

Start: January 22nd, 2018 End: July 31, 2018 Pay: $100/home assessment

We are seeking a self-motivated individual to educate community members on energy efficiency by participating in the Home Energy Leader Program (HELP). This program is offered through the Renewable Energy Alaska Project (REAP) and sponsored by Yakutat Tlingit Tribe (YTT) Environmental Department. Home Energy Leader will attend training and use those skills to educate community members. The position will be paid on a per home basis for the outreach.

Duties:

  • Attend one-day training on January 23, 2018 in Juneau 
  • Solicit community participation and advertise program 
  • Conduct individual home assessments, which may include the following:  Analyzing utility bills and consumption use, Light bulb savings comparison, Use of kilowatt meters to assess appliance draw, Eliminating phantom power consumption & using power strips, Installation of weather stripping and reduction of air infiltration, Programming and using programmable thermostats, Testing water temperature, Checking air filters and refrigeration coils, Installing faucet aerators and low flow showerheads
  • Minimum Requirements:  18 years of age or older,  Self-motivated and comfortable interacting with people
  • Preferences: Desire to help community members, Experience with community outreach

 

For further details on the HELP program, please direct inquiries to: Shaina Kilcoyne | Renewable Energy Alaska Project | Sustainable Southeast Partnership | s.kilcoyne@realaska.org |907-331-7409 Decision will be made by January 3, 2018 so apply today! Stop by YTT Environmental Department to obtain/return an application 

Click here to download the application

 

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