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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Dillingham, Alaska, USA

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Dillingham, Alaska, USA
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Registered: October 2012
Posts: 1
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My name is Madison Halloran and I am a lifelong Alaskan. Even though I have lived in several different places around the state over the last 20 years of my life, I had never visited anywhere in “bush” Alaska before this summer. “The bush” refers to remote villages that cannot be reached by roads (the road system in Alaska is very limited), characterized by small populations and largely subsistence lifestyles.
This summer, I accepted a part-time internship with Trout Unlimited, a national non-profit that works to protect fisheries around the country. The Alaskan chapter is currently working to prevent a the building of a large scale mine in Western Alaska, at the headwaters of the rivers that supports the largest sockeye salmon run left in the world. The mine is a potential threat to small fishing communities around Bristol Bay, as any amount of pollution would disrupt salmon populations, upsetting the larger ecosystem of the watershed.
I took on many projects as an intern over the summer, but my favorites by far was manning a public outreach booth in Dillingham, AK. I sat in an old storage container (see picture above) for three days, talking to men and women, many of whom had lived and fished in Bristol Bay their whole lives. Before visiting Dillingham, I was worried that I would run into people who really wanted the benefits of the mine benefits, and that people might get angry that outsiders were impeding economic progress. In reality, I discovered that the communities that are to expect the biggest monetary impact from the mine are overwhelmingly against it. They prefer a healthy, subsistence lifestyle to one threatened by dangerous pollution and big corporations, and they wholeheartedly supported my efforts. This project reaffirmed my belief in grassroots conservation projects and inspired me to continue to oppose the Pebble Mine Project in the future.
Date: October 28, 2012 Views: 4880 File size: 9.0kb, 23.9kb : 607 x 224
Hours Volunteered: 24
Volunteers: 3
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 20 to 26
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