September was a busy and exciting month for me. During the first week I was able to Join Bethany in Kake to work with Adam and Ken Gardner, an Engineer that we brought up from Utah to investigate hydroelectric feasibility in Gunnuk Creek. Adam and I met Ken this spring down in Utah at an SEI training for micro-hydro development. Ken was our instructor in that class. Ken continued to play the role of mentor during the trip in Kake and helped Adam and I develop our capacity for future energy work in the SSP while giving us confidence that the projects we have been developing in Kake are feasible. We look forward to see what kind of media Bethany pulls together from this trip.

On September 9th I worked with the Leadership Team on interviewing candidates for the SSP Director position. We conducted 4 interviews, all of which were impressive. Throughout the rest of the month I worked with the Leadership team on selecting a finalist for the job and we are going to announce the new Director this week.

In the middle of the month I worked with Lia and Carrie and few folks from Thorne Bay to provide a presentation on the SSP and its Food Sustainability program at the Southeast Conference annual meeting. I provided an overview of what the SSP is all about and Lia and Carrie did a great job sharing the regional and community projects they have been working on. The Thorne Bay folks, led by a 16 year old young woman, also did a great job at the Conference. You can view the presentation I gave to the group here. You can view the video that Bethany put together and was shared at the event here.

Right after the SE Conference annual meeting, I went to Juneau to participate in the Path 2 Prosperity bootcamp. Alana did a fantastic job organizing and facilitating the bootcamp this year. I served primarily as the taxi service for the finalists to get to where they needed to be but I also tried to be useful in consultations on how to increase their natural resource sustainability scores. I learned a lot about TBL business development myself, especially from our friend Mike Skinner. There are some really fun and interesting business ideas in the competition this year, including one from one of our community catalysts (Carrie Sykes). The highlight for me was the filming of the contestants “elevator pitches”. Those should be available on the Haa Aani’ website in the next month or so and I or Alana will post a link at that time so you can enjoy them too.

In between the events listed above, I developed the SSP budget for 2014 – 2015 and provided general support to regional and community catalysts on their projects. One of these projects, the Hoonah Native Forest Lands project, is a collaboration on a large grant proposal from Sealaska, the Hoonah Indian Association and The Nature Conservancy that would support 3 years of work on a comprehensive community forest plan and suite of projects for 150,000 acres of land around Hoonah. As I shift out of the role of coordinator and work more as a regional catalyst for natural resource stewarship this project will be one of the big ones on my list. The pre-proposal was accepted a couple months ago and you can read that here. The full grant proposal is due on October 4 and we should find out if we are awarded by December. Keep your fingers crossed!