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.
Andy Schlickman, Chairman of our Board, recently moved to the Bay Area of California from his long-time home in the Chicago area. After almost 35 years, Andy recently retired from the practice of law. He has traveled extensively in Alaska, camping, kayaking, hiking, fishing and rafting in the Arctic Refuge, Gates of the Arctic, Western Reserve (NPRA), Alaskan Range, Wrangell-St. Elias, Tongass National Forest, Glacier Bay, Prince William Sound and Kenai Peninsula. Andy has a long-standing interest in protecting wild lands in Alaska and other locations, and in his law practice represented organizations devoted to the protection of open lands. Andy and wife Sandee, who is a retired nurse, have three children and five grandchildren.
Kai Anderson, Vice Chairman of our Board, works at Cassidy & Associates, a Washington, DC government relations firm. He served for nearly six years in the office of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in a variety of capacities, and spent much of his time focused on environmental issues. Kai also served as a Congressional Science Fellow for Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT). Before entering the public sector, he worked in numerous teaching and research posts while earning his B.S. in Geology and his Ph.D. in Geological and Environmental Sciences, both from Stanford University. Kai is a member of the Geological Society of America, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and the American Geophysical Union. He is the recipient of numerous academic and teaching honors.
Toni Armstrong, Secretary, is passionate about the outdoors, hiking everywhere and at every opportunity. She has been to Alaska more than 15 times, and in 1993 won an award from the Missouri Chapter of the Sierra Club for her work leading and organizing outings. Toni is an inventor for Monsanto and resides in St Louis, Missouri.
Steve Barker is the president and founder of Eagle Creek. His vision was born in the San Jacinto Mountains of California where he and his wife Nona first sold outdoor equipment and sewed custom packs. For the past 35 years, Steve has led Eagle Creek, taking the company from humble beginnings to a globally respected travel brand. Steve has been intimately involved in all aspects of the business since the beginning. The Barkers are longtime volunteer firefighters with the Elfin Forest/Harmony Grove Fire Department where Steve serves as Battalion Chief. Steve is a founding board member of The Escondido Creek Conservancy. In their spare time, the Barkers are world travelers, active hikers, sea kayakers and back-country skiers. The couple also raise trekking llamas. Steve is currently serving as the interim Executive Director of the Outdoor Industry Association.
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 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.
Betsy Loyless, Treasurer, 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.
Gareth Martins 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.
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.
Bob Osborne 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.
Shannon Huffman Polson is an author living with her family in rural Washington State. A native of Alaska, Polson grew up in the Chugach Mountains and summited Denali at 19. She and her family spend several weeks a year at a small cabin outside of Denali National Park and have made several trips to the Arctic. Polson earned her B.A. from Duke University, her M.B.A. from the Tuck School at Dartmouth, and her M.F.A. from Seattle Pacific University. She served as one of the first women to fly attack helicopters in the Army, serving as an Army officer for eight years domestically and overseas. She later worked in marketing and management for the Guidant and Microsoft Corporations. In 2009, Polson was recognized as a Trailblazer Woman of Valor by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA). Polsons’s memoir “North of Hope: A Daughter’s Arctic Journey” about travels in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was published in 2013.