Former President Jimmy Carter is one of the true heroes of Alaska’s environment. In 1980, he signed the historic Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in which protected millions of acres in Alaska as wilderness and expanded the boundaries of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It is a testament to his continued commitment to protecting the Arctic Refuge that President Carter has agreed to serve as the Honorary Chairman of the Alaska Wilderness League Board.
Betsy Loyless, President and Chair of the Board, was the Senior Vice President for Public Policy at the National Audubon Society until 2010. She served as Political Director for the League of Conservation Voters in Washington, DC for more than a decade prior to joining National Audubon. She resides in Bethesda, Maryland.
Tom Campion lives in Seattle, Washington, and is founder and chairman of the retail chain, Zumiez, which sells surf and skateboard clothing and accessories. Tom has been involved with many environmental organizations and currently serves on the board of Conservation Northwest. Tom is also an avid outdoorsman and has visited the Arctic Refuge many times.
Ellen Ferguson, Secretary, is the Community Relations Director for the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle, Washington. Ellen has served on a variety of civic and nonprofit boards and been involved in capital fundraising campaigns. She visited the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in 2004 and is a dedicated philanthropist in the Pacific Northwest.
Kristen Grimm is the founder and president of Spitfire Strategies, one of the country’s leading public relations firms dedicated to working exclusively with nonprofits and foundations to create positive social change. Clients of the firm include: The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Brookings Institution, Surdna Foundation, and Community Catalyst. She has developed numerous resources for the field including the Smart Chart 3.0, “Discovering the Activation Point,” “The Just Enough Planning Guide,”and “Big Ideas to Big Change.” Prior to launching Spitfire, Kristen worked as a fellow at the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF). Before her fellowship, she was the president and chief operating officer of Fenton Communications, where she wrote “NOW HEAR THIS: The Nine Laws of Successful Advocacy Communications.” Kristen has a B.A. from Smith College. In addition to serving on the board of Alaska Wilderness League, she serves on the boards of Grist magazine and the National Academy for State Health Policy.
Gareth Martins, Treasurer, recently moved to Boulder, CO from the small town of Dolores, CO in the southwest corner of the state. An outdoor industry professional for 16 years, he now works at the Outdoor Industry Association. He is dedicated to conservation, with past board service for Colorado Fourteeners Initiative and Conservation Colorado, and as an organizer for the Dolores River Festival which celebrates the river and efforts to protect it. As marketing director for Osprey Packs, he was instrumental in establishing the company’s giving program recognizing the importance of supporting organizations like Alaska Wilderness League in the effort to protect North America’s last great wild places.
Mike Matz , Vice President and Vice Chair of the Board, is director of U.S. Public Lands at the Pew Charitable Trusts. He has previously served as executive director of the Campaign for America’s Wilderness and of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, and worked for the Sierra Club in Alaska and in Washington, DC. He started his conservation career with the Northern Alaska Environmental Center in Fairbanks. He lives in Durango, Colorado, with his wife, Sally, and his two children, Carson and Celia.
Debbie S. Miller is an author and teacher who has lived in Alaska for more than three decades. She has written many books and essays about Alaska’s wilderness, wildlife and indigenous people. Her first book, “Midnight Wilderness,” describes the wonders of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge based on 14 years of wilderness trips through the area, and “On Arctic Ground” provides an in-depth look at the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. As an educator and children’s book author, Ms. Miller travels extensively to schools throughout Alaska and the United States. She is a founding member of Alaska Wilderness League.
Lorraine Netro was born and raised in Old Crow, Yukon, Canada. She was taught the traditional values of the Vuntut Gwitchin by her late mother, Mary Netro. Lorraine has served on a number of boards including the Porcupine Caribou Management Board and the Gwich’in Council International. Lorraine has been committed in protection efforts of the calving grounds of the Porcupine Caribou Herd since 1999 to present. She is passionate about making a difference in social justice and has travelled to national and international events as a voice for change. Currently, she is the Vice-President of Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Council and Co-Chair of the Assembly of First Nations Women’s Council. Lorraine works as a consultant and events coordinator through her business, Destiny Management Consulting.
Bob Osborne, Treasurer, is a retired lawyer who was a senior partner in two national law firms as well as a senior executive and the chief legal officer of three publicly-traded companies: General Motors, Booz Allen Hamilton and Lands’ End. Bob has traveled extensively in wilderness areas of Alaska over the last two decades. In retirement, he is working on various writing projects, including about wilderness conservation. Bob and his wife, Martha, divide their time between homes in a Virginia suburb of Washington, DC and Anchorage, Alaska.
Jay Nelson lives in Juneau, Alaska. As a field biologist for more than a decade, he traveled extensively throughout remote and wild Alaska where he developed a deep appreciation for both wilderness and the rural subsistence livelihood. Jay also worked for the Alaska state legislature and as special assistant to the Alaska governor. He has 20 years of experience with various state and national conservation groups as an advocate and grassroots organizer in Alaska and as a conservation lobbyist in Washington, DC. Most recently, Jay was with the Pew Charitable Trusts where he promoted wilderness protection and marine conservation. He launched and for eight years led Global Ocean Legacy, a project that initiated campaigns in the waters of nine countries which protected more than 1,000,000 square kilometers of ocean as no-take marine reserves. Jay now volunteers for various organizations and has a passion for wilderness recreation and international travel.
Richard Spener first visited Alaska in 1987 where he and his wife, Toni Armstrong, sea kayaked in Glacier Bay. Since then they have paddled and hiked in Alaska a total of 12 times, including five unguided trips to the Arctic Refuge. As advocates and avid photographers they have been active supporting candidates that are favorable to Alaska issues. Richard owns a manufacturers food service equipment representative firm he started in 1971. He serves on the advisory board of the Hotel and Restaurant Management program at the University of Missouri in Columbia and as a Sierra Club trip leader and instructor in canoeing and kayaking.
David Weinstein is a Conservation Finance Director for The Trust for Public Land. He advises local and state governments throughout the Western United States on how to design, pass, and implement legislative initiatives and electoral measures that create funding for land and water conservation. A Wyss Foundation Fellow and Colorado native, David has been involved in Western conservation politics for more than 7 years, including positions with U.S. Senator Mark Udall’s Office, Colorado Governor Hickenlooper’s first gubernatorial campaign, and Outdoor Industry Association’s Outreach and Advocacy Manager and OIAPAC Treasurer. He recently rotated off the National Parks Conservation Association’s Next Generation Advisory Council, and has volunteered in the past with the Montana Wilderness Association, and the Continental Divide Trail Coalition. David lives in Bozeman, MT and is an avid backcountry skier, mountain biker, hunter, angler, backpacker, and packrafter.
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