Our Mission

“To promote & implement excellence in natural resource, outdoor and environmental education for all Alaskans.”

ANROE collaborates with organizations, agencies, individuals & school districts to provide education resources, training, & networking opportunities about Alaska’s natural resources. Through its newsletter, mailing list & forums, ANROE members share information about environmental education tools, techniques, employment and professional development opportunities. We seek to implement the Alaska Natural Resource and Environmental Literacy Plan. ANROE is funded by memberships, sponsors and grants.

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Vision

ANROE envisions a world in which…

  • Alaskans of all ages are environmentally literate, lifelong learners who embrace cultural diversity and ecological principles to sustain Earth and all life forces.
  • Individuals are linked with the tools to facilitate community-based environmental education programs and investigations of environmental issues.
  • Alaskans view environmental education not as a subject area, but as a community-based, hierarchical process of developing six elements: awareness, appreciation, attitudes, ecological understanding, skills, and active stewardship.
  • Educators, resources and organizations are linked in a way that builds trust and acknowledges diverse perspectives.

History

In 1984, a group of passionate, mostly part-time or underemployed environmental educators gathered after an Alaska Environmental Assembly meeting in Anchorage. They quickly recognized the need to organize to provide effective environmental education in Alaska.

The founding members developed by-laws and filed for incorporation as a nonprofit organization in 1985 and received approval from the State of Alaska in 1986. ANROE provided the first, and continues to be the only, organized statewide linkage between Alaska natural resource agencies and organizations developing education programs and materials and the teachers and “nonformal” educators who deliver the programs. In 1992, ANROE became the official state affiliate of the North American Association of Environmental Educators.

In 1998, ANROE received 501-c-3 nonprofit status from the Internal Revenue Service. The organization has had paid staff over the years, with the support of capacity-building grants. However, ANROE is primarily run by volunteers. Currently, ANROE is led by an all-volunteer Board of Directors and by committed members of the organization.

Board of Directors

ANROE is led by a board of directors, elected for 3-year terms. During the school year, monthly meetings are held via teleconference. One face-to-face meeting is held each year, usually in the fall.

Board members represent a broad range of professional and educational institutions and interests and provide ANROE with policy direction and guidance. Each board member serves on at least one committee. Committees are: Executive, Networking, Curriculum, Membership, and Training.

Board members support the organization’s mission “To promote & implement excellence in natural resource, outdoor and environmental education for all Alaskans.”

Veronica

Veronica Padula (PhD)

President

Veronica is a born and raised Jersey girl. She earned her undergraduate degree in Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology from Columbia University in New York. She discovered her passion for wildlife research during the summer between her junior and senior years, when she was a research intern for Wildlife Trust, investigating the overall health of black-crowned night herons living in the New York Harbor. Her undergrad mentor offered her a position on a project in Alaska the following year, and although she had never really considered Alaska before, she was ready for adventure and accepted the offer. It was perhaps the best decision she could have made, because she has not left Alaska since. In her 10 years since moving to Alaska she has earned her Master’s degree in fisheries and is currently pursuing her PhD. Her Master’s research investigated the genetic relationships of least cisco, a whitefish species that is broadly distributed across Alaska. Her PhD research investigates the impacts of plastic marine debris on food webs in the Bering Sea. She is also currently the Science Education and Communication Specialist for the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island Ecosystem Conservation Office, where she helps coordinate science programs for students. She believes anyone can be a scientist, and she hopes that by spreading her love and passion for all things science, she can make the field more accessible to everyone.

Kari Eschenbacher Young

Treasurer and President Elect

Kari

Kari has been a lover of the outdoors since she was a young person growing up in the valley of the Yellowstone River in Montana. This influenced her to pursue her undergraduate degree in Outdoor and Community Recreation. An internship requirement is what led Kari straight to Alaska. She served as an environmental education SCA intern for a science camp hosted by the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge in 2011. This led to Kari becoming a seasonal ranger for the Kodiak NWR for five years where she worked as the camp director for the popular Salmon Camp. Kari has been working for the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council in Anchorage the past couple years as the Environmental Coordinator. In this role, she assists in the organization’s water quality program, environmental technical assistance with Indigenous communities, and environmental education outreach. She enjoys going on adventures with her husband, hiking, camping, birding, baking, and the Christmas holiday.

Laurel Devaney

Board Member

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Laurel is retired from the position of Education Coordinator for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Fairbanks Fish and Wildlife Field Office. As part of this position, she traveled extensively in rural Alaska and has many years’ experience cooperating with communities and educators to develop and present place-based, culturally relevant education materials and programs. Laurel helped to develop the Alaska Natural Resource and Environmental Literacy Plan—a statewide effort to increase environmental education in all our schools. She also coordinates a youth track at the Alaska Forum on the Environment to bring Alaskan youth to the annual event to learn and network together. Laurel is the recipient of Alaska Conservation Foundation 2015 Conservation Achievement Award for Excellence in Environmental Education. Laurel enjoys bicycling, bird watching, sea kayaking, and travel.

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Melanie Graeff

Board Member

Melanie was born and raised near Dayton, Ohio. She grew up playing soccer and spending time outside. She was recruited to play collegiate soccer at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. During her studies, she expanded her interests to include environmental sciences and regional hydrology. After getting married, she moved west to Olympia, Washington to pursue an environmental degree. Her studies encompassed utilizing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology for mapping the environment, science education, climate science, and natural resources management. Her favorite outdoor passions include kayaking, hiking, birding, trail running, fishing, and wildlife photography. After earning her master’s, she got the opportunity to work alongside the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to teach shorebird education along with being a bird guide on several wildlife refuges in WA. In December, 2018, she and her husband moved to Fairbanks and have been pursuing all of its outdoor adventures ever since. In 2019, she spent the year working with the Alaska Songbird Institute as a science educator and field technician banding songbirds. She has a B.A. in Geological Sciences and History from Capital University and a master’s degree in Environmental Studies from the Evergreen State College.

Seth Spencer

Secretary
Seth
Seth is originally from Duluth, MN and has spent the last 5 years living and exploring in Homer. He attended Saint John’s University in Minnesota, and then headed off to Ukraine with the Peace Corps, where he led several environmental education summer camps, and realized he wanted to spend his career teaching students about the natural world. Upon his return to the U.S., Seth worked as an intern with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, and then completed his Masters in Education at the University of Minnesota Duluth. After graduation, he worked with the National Park Service in Wisconsin, Kentucky, North Carolina and up in Nome at the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve. During that time, he fell in love with Alaska, and vowed to return.
He next worked as a 4-H youth development educator in Wisconsin, but after getting married, he and his wife Kara decided that returning to Alaska was going to be their next adventure. In 2015 Seth moved to Homer, Alaska, and became the education program coordinator for the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies. He spends his time collaborating with teachers and school groups to connect students to the tidepools and forests around Kachemak Bay. He is an avid birder, and spends his free time skiing and hiking with his wife and daughter.

Tyler Katzmar

Board Member

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Tyler grew up in rural Pennsylvania and spent much of his childhood exploring his local forest and playing ice hockey. His connection to the outdoors only deepened when he moved to Alaska in 2009 to attend Alaska Pacific University. While obtaining a Marine Biology degree at APU, Tyler seized every opportunity to explore the terrestrial and marine backcountry. During his college summers, Tyler worked at Ageya Wilderness Education, a non-profit environmental education program for Alaska Native youth in Homer. Summers “across the bay” awakened the educator in Tyler and his passion for marine biology melded with his desire to educate folks about the environment. Over the last 7 years Tyler has guided and educated folks all over Southcentral Alaska and the desert Southwest. Tyler currently works as a STEM Educator for the Renewable Energy Alaska Project (REAP) in Anchorage. He enjoys gardening, fishing, skiing, boating, and taking long dog walks with his wife and their pup, Junebug.

Meg Pike

Board Member

Pike_PhotoMeg found her passion for working with kids in the outdoors where she grew up hiking and fishing on the coast of Maine. While pursuing a career in child development and adaptive outdoor education at University of Maine, she spent five years working at a nature-based summer camp for individuals with varying disabilities and advocating for more inclusion in the outdoors. Moving to Alaska for a new adventure in 2018, she took on the role of Education Specialist at the Kenai Watershed Forum (KWF) in Soldotna coordinating their long-standing Adopt-A-Stream program. Fostering a connection to nature through watershed studies, Meg spends her time visiting local classrooms to share her passion for salmon, access to water, and being outside.

In addition, the following educators serve as advisers to the ANROE Board of Directors:

  • Brenda Duty – Project WILD and Youth Education Coordinator for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Wildlife Conservation Division and past ANROE board President
  • Robin Dublin– Alaska Department of Fish & Game
  • Cathy Rezabeck–  Retired USFWS Regional Conservation Education Coordinator & currently ANROE Special Projects Manager.
  • Susan Rogers–  Retired Science Teacher & Former Statewide Project Learning Tree Coordinator
  • Kristen Romanoff– Statewide Wildlife Education & Outreach Coordinator, Alaska Department of Fish & Game
  • Peter Stortz– Retired Associate Professor, Extension 4-H Fisheries and Natural Resources Specialist, Alaska Cooperative Extension Service

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