The Alaska Wilderness League Leadership Council was formed in 2019 to enhance our ability to save treasured and pristine environments in Alaska. The Council is comprised of individuals deeply committed to our mission who have been selected for their business, scientific, fundraising and political acumen to serve as advisors, philanthropists and advocates. By participating in phone/video conferencing, communicating directly with Alaska Wilderness League staff, and attending in-person meetings (when possible), members meet as thought leaders to advise and assist in the planning and execution of Alaska Wilderness League goals. For more information, please contact Chris Konish at Chris@AlaskaWild.org.
Marta Chase has been backpacking in Alaska and the Canadian Arctic since 1995. Her first experience was on a Sierra Club trip to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that was diverted to Gates of the Arctic National Park due to poor weather conditions. Marta and her husband, Kicab Castaneda-Mendez, have returned to Alaska on a regular basis for hiking and backpacking. She lives in North Carolina and is a national outing leader with the Sierra Club. They also are active participating in international Habitat for Humanity builds around the world.
Ken Fabert has been spending more and more time in Alaska following his 35-year career in primary care medicine. This includes multiple trips to an ornithological research station on the Beaufort Sea east of Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow), where decreasing sea ice and species impacts of climate change are undeniable. He has also been involved in opposition to the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska. He hopes to sail to Southeast Alaska in his 39-foot sloop, Vega, to experience the Tongass National Forest firsthand in order to better advocate for roadless protections and work to preserve this critical temperate rainforest. Ken is an active supporter of Alaska Wilderness League. Read about his trip to Utqiagvik with his daughter Emma on our blog!
Bruce Gitlin served for 20 years on the board of Alaska Wilderness League, including as secretary and treasurer. He is passionate about the wild places left on the planet, especially the Alaskan Arctic and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He has made more than 20 trips to the Arctic and has kayaked into the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean. Bruce is the owner and chairman of Milgo/Bufkin, an innovative world class metal manufacturing company that fabricates fine architectural metals and creates sculptures for artists. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Metallurgical Engineering from Lehigh University. He is a serious wilderness explorer, an avid skier, scuba diver and kayaker as well as an art collector. Bruce is also chair of the board of trustees of Pratt Institute, a world-renowned college specializing in sustainable architecture and design, as well as cutting edge art. He is married to Carol Schrager, a New York attorney, and has three grown children who have all been to Alaska.
Dan Johnson has provided leadership in a number of organizations, and has a background in sales and marketing, primarily in the media and communications industry. With a strong sense of mission and service, Dan’s retirement continues to include mission-focused work for organizations where he can contribute time and expertise in areas of environmental, housing and human services. Dan has visited Alaska a number of times, primarily to fish, as well as share the Alaska experience with family. As supporters of the Alaska Wilderness League, Dan and wife Darcy hope to visit Alaska’s Arctic soon.
Cory Jones is a writer and an activist living in Chicago. She has been involved with many environmental and political organizations and thinks of volunteering as a lifetime commitment. Her most cherished place in America? The Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska. The Tongass is an American treasure that needs protection from politicians and profiteers. In addition to loving the Tongass, she is also an avid appreciator of polar bears.
Susan Lubetkin is a scientist studying Arctic and climate issues. Susan received her Ph.D. (2008) and M.S. (1997) from the University of Washington in Quantitative Ecology and Resource Management and her undergraduate degree in Biology (1994) from Harvey Mudd College, the school's inaugural class for biology majors. She’s an accomplished amateur cellist of more than 30 years. Susan combined her love of music and passion for the Arctic by commissioning a multi-media symphony about climate change entitled "Terra Nostra," which had its world premiere in June 2015 in Seattle. Susan lives with her husband and four children in Seattle, Washington.
William Meadows has been active in conservation for 40 years. He served as president of The Wilderness Society from December 1996 to May 2012. During his tenure at The Wilderness Society, more than five million acres of federally designated wilderness was added to the National Wilderness Preservation System. In retirement, he has continued his commitment to building partnerships and bringing new constituencies into the wilderness movement. He currently serves as an honorary member of its governing council and as a senior program advisor for The Wilderness Society. He is a past chairman of the Green Group, the Campaign for America’s Wilderness and the Partnership Project. He is currently on the boards of the League of Conservation Voters, the Conservation Lands Foundation and the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards.
Drs. Joan and Sherman Silber and Steve Silber
Drs. Joan and Sherman Silber have been married since college and lived in Anchorage, Alaska shortly after marriage from 1967 to 1969. They currently reside in St. Louis where he directs the leading center for infertility treatment in the world and she is the director for numerous nonprofit charitable organizations. Joan has been an organizer of most of the family enterprises for more than half a century. They were original partners in Chulitna Lodge on Lake Clark, which the Silber's son, Steve Silber — a pilot and U.S. Marine Corps veteran with a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Rhode Island School of Design — now owns and runs as a wilderness retreat and an artist-in-residence program, inspiring well-known artists from all over the world to come there and work.
Judy and Jim Wagonfeld
Judy and Jim Wagonfeld succumbed to the splendors of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge during a 2004 Hulahula River rafting and hiking trip. Awed by Alaska itself, they joined the League’s endeavors against Arctic Refuge drilling and other efforts at wilderness preservation across the state. Since then, they have revisited the Arctic Refuge four times and hiked, biked, rafted, canoed and fished in Alaska’s astounding lands. Until retirement, Jim operated a regional gastroenterology practice. Since retiring from nursing and public health, Judy has worked for twenty years as a journalist. In the state of Washington, they have worked with local outdoor organizations, Jim serving on a state National Parks board, Judy on committees.
Erin Younger splits her time between Seattle and Washington, D.C., where she is a research associate at the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. She became engaged with Alaska Wilderness League while Exhibits Director at the Burke Museum in Seattle, co-developing several national touring exhibitions and public program series on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge with Braided River Books. She currently serves on the Burke Museum Association board, is a peer reviewer for the American Alliance of Museums and a regional director of the Arts Council of Mongolia-Seattle.