Centennial Science and Stewardship Symposium

Fairbanks, AK
Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Science & Resource Management in Alaska: Natural & Cultural Resource Issues and Priorities

8:00 am - 9:15 am Wednesday, October 19
Co-Chairs: Deb Cooper, NPS

The National Park Service is uniquely poised to preserve and protect America's great places.  Regardless of climate change, and in some cases because of climate change, national parks are also in a position to provide a baseline with which other areas may be compared. For these and many other reasons, science and scientific study are integral to the future of national parks, preserves, historical parks and monuments.  As we begin the second century of the NPS, we must build on the agency's body of science, our understanding of a changing climate and our commitment to science-based decision-making.

The Importance of Science for Alaska's Land Management

Byron Mallott, Lieutenant Governor of Alaska

Byron Mallott was born in Yakutat, the ancestral home of his mother’s Tlingit clan. Yakutat remains the voting residence of the Lt. Governor and his wife Toni, who was born and raised in the Athabascan village of Rampart on the Yukon River. Together they have raised their blended family of five children. Their eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild live close by – a true blessing. Mallott entered public life as mayor of Yakutat at age 22 and has since held many positions of responsibility in the public, private and non-profit sectors. He has served as the state’s first commissioner of community and regional affairs under Governor Bill Egan; president of the Alaska Federation of Natives; founding president of the First Alaskans Institute; trustee, chair and executive director of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation; and chair of the Nature Conservancy of Alaska. In the private sector, Mallott has served as chair, president and CEO of Sealaska Corporation; served on the board of Alaska Air Group, and Bank of America subsidiary boards in Washington and Alaska; and as a director of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco. Mallott has also been a small business owner and commercial fisherman. Mallott says his proudest service is as clan leader of the Tlingit Raven Kwaash Kee Kwaan Clan of Yakutat. The Mallott’ s spend as much time as possible with their children and grandchildren. They enjoy birding, hiking, fishing and boating in Alaska’s incredible outdoors, and traveling to visit friends and discover new places.

University Welcome

James Johnsen, University of Alaska President


Dr. Jim Johnsen was appointed to serve as the 14th president of the University of Alaska on July 28, 2015. His most recent experience includes service as an executive with Alaska Communications and previously with Doyon, Limited. President Johnsen also served the University of Alaska between 1996-2008, in several executive roles including vice president of administration and chief of staff. President Johnsen is passionate about higher education and economic opportunity, having served as chair of the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education, vice chair of the Alaska Student Loan Corporation, vice chair of the University of Alaska Foundation, commissioner on the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education, member of the Alaska State Committee on Research, and member of the Board of Directors of the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce. As president, he serves as a commissioner on the Denali Commission, and is a member of the Alaska Aerospace Corporation board and the UA Foundation Board of Trustees. His education includes a B.A. in politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, a master’s in political science from the University of Chicago, and a doctorate in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Johnsen and his wife, Mary, who is retired, have two grown children, both born and raised in Alaska.

Dana Thomas, University of Alaska-Fairbanks Chancellor

Thomas was born and raised in Fairbanks, is an alum of UAF and was the statewide vice president of academic affairs and research from 2012 to 2014. He served six years as Chair of UAF's Department of Mathematics and Statistics. In 2005, Thomas received the Emil Usibelli Distinguished Teaching Award for sustained excellence in teaching at UAF. From 2006 to 2012, Thomas served as UAF's Vice Provost and Accreditation Liaison Officer. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities asked him to serve as an institutional accreditation evaluator of other institutions. In addition to his distinguished career in teaching, Thomas is recognized for his interdisciplinary research on the design and analysis of studies assessing resource (food and habitat) selection by animals. His career also features contributions at the international level, including work for two years in the Republic of Yemen facilitating a national survey of agriculture and two years in the Sultanate of Oman improving their fisheries statistics operations

Welcome: Priorities for the National Park Service Alaska Region

Herbert Frost, Alaska Regional Director, National Park Service

Dr. Herbert C. Frost is the Regional Director for the National Park Service (NPS) in Alaska.  As Regional Director, he oversees all NPS operations in the state which encompasses 16 park units, two affiliated areas, 54.7 million acres, 1000 employees during the summer, and a budget of about $100 million. He also oversees programs in natural and cultural resource protection, climate change, subsistence, planning and compliance, partnership and outreach, recreation, and facility management.  Prior to coming to Alaska, Bert was the Associate Director for Natural Resource Stewardship and Science (NRSS) duty stationed in Washington DC.  He also served as the Chief Scientist for the NPS and had programmatic responsibly for all aspects of the Natural Resource and Science Programs throughout the NPS.  This included programs in air resources, soundscapes, night skies, geologic resources, climate change, social science, environmental compliance, resource damage assessment and restoration, biological resources, water resources, and the NPS inventory and monitoring program. As Associate Director, he spent much of his time on issues relating to climate change, renewable and traditional energy development, transmission lines, air tour management, ungulate overabundance, bison conservation and trying to protect park resources for future generations.  He was also Deputy Associate Director for NRSS for 3 years. Prior to that, he was the NPS Research Coordinator at the Great Basin Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (CESU), located at the University of Nevada, Reno.  There he worked with parks throughout the country and 12 major universities in the Great Basin region on a wide variety of natural, cultural, and social science topics. He also worked as the Wildlife Biologist and Natural Resource Program Manager at Gettysburg National Military Park, and Eisenhower National Historic Site.  He has a B.S. in Wildlife and Range Management, a M.S. in Zoology, both from Brigham Young University and a Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Maine, Orono.  He was born in Idaho, raised in Utah and has lived in 7 states. 

Science and the National Parks

Guy Adema, Deputy Associate Director, Natural Resource Stewardship and Science, National Park Service

Guy Adema is a natural resource program manager with the National Park Service. He is currently the Deputy Associate Director for the Natural Resource Stewardship and Science directorate of the Washington office. Prior to working for the national office, Guy served as the natural resource team lead for the Alaska Regional Office, and as a natural resource manager and physical scientist at Denali National Park and Preserve with a focus on mine reclamation and physical resource monitoring. Guy has a background in geophysics and glaciology and prior to the NPS worked with the Idaho Geological Survey and the University of Idaho on groundwater basin delineation, geohazards, and gravity exploration.

Tim Watkins, Science Access and Engagement Coordinator, National Resource Stewardship and Science, National Park Service

Tim Watkins is the Science Access and Engagement Coordinator in the NPS Natural Resource Stewardship and Science directorate, and is based in Washington DC. In that new role, he helps increase the amount, value, and accessibility of science in the NPS and promotes the understanding, pursuit, and use of science in parks. He coordinates the NPS Research Learning Centers and the Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units, conducts a variety of science communication and science engagement projects, liaises with the NPS Interpretation, Education, and Volunteers directorate on science literacy issues, and coordinates the development of a new NPS citizen science community of practice. He was previously the Science and Education Coordinator for the NPS Climate Change Response Program, where he managed a climate change youth initiative, produced a series of videos about climate change science, and supported various projects in climate change science education. Prior to joining the NPS, Tim worked at National Geographic Society to support international grant programs in research and conservation, and managed the NGS/NPS BioBlitz program. He has a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of California, Irvine, and over 10 years’ experience in research, teaching, and mentoring in science.

Using Research to Manage for Landscape-Level Changes in Alaska

Bruce Marcot, Research Wildlife Biologist, United States Forest Service

Bruce Marcot is a research wildlife biologist with the Ecosystem Process and Function Research Program of USDA Forest Service in Portland, Oregon. He participates in applied science research and technology application projects dealing with old-forest management, specifically on modeling of rare and little-known species, assessment of biodiversity, and research in regions as diverse as the Arctic to the tropics. He has served on numerous national and regional natural resource assessment teams and has worked on forest biodiversity conservation and ecology research projects in India, Congo, Canada, Russia, China, New Zealand, Bolivia, and elsewhere. He received a B.S. in Natural Resources Planning and an M.S. in Wildlife Management at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, and a Ph.D. in Wildlife Science at OSU. 

The Role of Indigenous Knowledge in Natural Resource Development

Vera Kingeekuk Metcalf, Director, Eskimo Walrus Commission

Vera was born and raised in Savoonga (Sivungaq) on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. Since 2002, Vera has been the Director of the Eskimo Walrus Commission (EWC) at Kawerak, Inc. in Nome, which represents 19 coastal Alaskan communities in areas such as promoting community involvement in research, documenting local indigenous knowledge, and co-management of the Pacific walrus population. Vera represents EWC in various forums, including the Indigenous People’s Council on Marine Mammals, the Arctic Marine Mammal Coalition, and the Arctic Waterways Safety Committee. Vera is a Special Advisor on Native Affairs on the Marine Mammal Commission, an Advisory Panel member of the North Pacific Research Board, a Steering Committee member for the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy, a Committee member on the Marine Advisory Program/UAF, participated in the Arctic Marine Protected Areas Working Group, and is a member of the Inuit Circumpolar Council Executive Committee and Alaska board. Vera is also a Bering Strait Commissioner for the U.S. Department of State, facilitating travel between Chukotka, Russia and the Bering Straits region of Alaska. Vera is a strong advocate for the subsistence lifestyles of Alaska Native peoples, and passionate about strengthening Alaska Native languages and cultures. 

Bringing It All Together: Expanding Research and Improving Resource Stewardship in Alaska

8:00 am - 9:15 am Thursday, October 20
Co-Chairs: Leigh Welling, NPS

Building on yesterday's overview of science and science-based decision-making, this plenary will focus on how to forge new relationships and build on existing partnerships to further our scientific knowledge of Alaskan landscapes.  Partnering with the academic and other scientific entities will allow us to better understand what may lie ahead; both in terms of the effects of climate change at northern latitudes and future challenges to a subsistence way of life. 

The Importance of Collaborative Research and Partnerships

Larry Hinzman, Vice Chancellor of Research, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Larry Hinzman previously served as the Director of the International Arctic Research Center. He is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Professor Hinzman’s primary research interests involve permafrost hydrology. He has conducted hydrological and meteorological studies in the Alaskan Arctic continuously for over 25 years while frequently collaborating on complementary research in the Russian and Canadian Arctic. His research efforts have involved characterizing and quantifying hydrological processes and their inter-dependence with climate and ecosystem dynamics. Dr. Hinzman’s academic degrees were earned from South Dakota State University, Purdue University and the University of Alaska Fairbanks in Chemistry, Soil Science, Agronomy and Soil Physics. He is currently a member of the Polar Research Board, the U.S. Representative to the International Permafrost Association and is a member of several national and international committees and working groups. Presently Dr. Hinzman is co-chair of the NSF funded Arctic CHAMP program (Community-wide Hydrologic Analysis and Monitoring Program) and a principal investigator (PI) in the NSF Freshwater Integration Program, which aims to quantify the arctic freshwater balance. He is the PI of a NSF study to quantify the impacts of wildfire in a tundra ecosystem, and a Co-PI on a study to quantify the effects of climate change on human use of water resources on the Seward Peninsula. 

Project Jukebox: Partnerships between the National Park Service and Local Communities

Leslie McCartney, Oral History Curator, Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Leslie McCartney is an Assistant Professor and the Curator of Oral History at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  Over the past  almost 20 years she has worked on oral history projects in the Canadian subarctic, England, Ireland and Alaska, USA.   

Bill Schneider, Former Oral History Curator, Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Bill is the retired Curator of Oral History at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. With a host of talented colleagues and support from the National Park Service he developed the Jukebox Program to present oral history and associated contextual material to the public. 

The Human Dimensions of Resource Management: Partnerships between the National Park Service and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Hazel Nelson, Director, Division of Subsistence, Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Hazel Nelson was born and raised in Egegik, Alaska.  Her family lived a subsistence lifestyle and supplemented their food supply with salmon and wild game including porcupine, ptarmigan, Arctic hare, beaver and Sandhill crane.  “When we were little Mom often put something we wrinkled our nose at into her spaghetti sauce and then it tasted great!”  

Hazel had worked for her village corporation from 1987 until 2011.  Over the years, Hazel has represented Western Alaska on groundfish and crab fisheries including the development of the Community Quota Entity program for Gulf of Alaska communities, salmon bycatch limitation issues, and the halibut subsistence program. She has served in key positions in regulatory bodies, including the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council, Lake and Peninsula Borough, Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation, US-Russian Inter-Governmental Consultative Committee, and the South West Alaska Municipal Conference. As Director, Hazel’s approach toward responsibilities within the Department of Fish and Game at the Division of Subsistence has been encouraging inclusion of subsistence voices and their long term stewardship mindset about wild resources of Alaska.   

Science in Alaskan Parks: A Retrospective on Natural and Cultural Resources

Maggie MacCluskie, Program Manager, Central Alaska Network

Maggie has been working for the National Park Service since 2001, when she became Program Manager at the Central Alaska Network Inventory and Monitoring Program.  Her background includes graduate school at University of Alaska Fairbanks, where she got her PhD studying waterfowl ecology in 1997.  She and her family live in Fairbanks and enjoy life there with their three dogs.  

Jeff Rasic, Chief of Resources, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve

Jeff lives in Fairbanks and works as the Chief of Resources for Gates of the Arctic National Park. Jeff is an archaeologist by training and his research has focused on the long term history of subsistence and land use in Arctic Alaska since the end of the last Ice Age.


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