About

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.”

Meredith Gutierrez

Board President

Meredith grew up in southern Washington State and slowly and continually moved farther North over her adult life. After receiving a BA from University of Washington Seattle in Technical Theater, Meredith started snowboard and working as a white-water rafting guide. After graduation she started looking outside for a new career and found Environmental Education. Meredith received a MA in Environmental Education from Lesley University’s Audubon Expedition Institute. Learning about community, the outdoors, and new ways of teaching in an experiential format, inspired her to want to share the outdoors with others. Meredith came to Alaska in 2011 for a summer job and never looked back. She has spent the past five years as the Youth Engagement Manager for the Anchorage Park Foundation, where she works to support teachers in getting kids outside.  Meredith believes the outdoors is for everyone and if we don’t intentionally create time and space for youth to have positive experiences outside, they may not care about that space in the future.

Kari Eschenbacher Young

Board President Advisor

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.

Tyler Katzmar

Board Treasurer

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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 a non-profit environmental education program serving 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 about the environment. Over the last 11 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.

Tracy Wirak-Cassidy

Board Secretary

Tracy grew up hiking and exploring the Montana wilderness. She knew from an early age that she wanted to work with children and when she attended the University of Montana she pursed a degree in Elementary Education and Environmental Studies. She spent many summers working at outdoor education facilities including; the Teton Science School, Montana Natural History Center and the Glacier Institute. After completing her first teaching position in Montana she hopped on her bike and pedaled to Alaska with her sister. She fell in love with Haines, Alaska and founded a place-based summer camp, Haines Science Camp which she ran for 3 years before handing off the camp to a local museum and beginning a teaching position at the Haines School. Eventually, the pull to be working with kids outdoors drew Tracy out of the classroom and back into the environmental education field. She currently works for Takshanuk Watershed Council as the Education Coordinator. She provides watershed education to preschool through high school aged students in Haines, Klukwan, and Mosquito Lake.

Shannon Moore

Board Member

Shannon hails from Alabama, but has lived in Homer, AK since her fateful 2 month job commitment in early 2018. Growing up in Alabama, she spent many happy hours exploring the wild corners of her backyard and hiking with her family. She discovered environmental education soon after college, and worked at environmental centers in both Alabama and Argentina before heading up to Homer for a seasonal position with Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies. She quickly fell in love with Alaska, and now works with Coastal Studies as the School Program and Peterson Bay Field Station Coordinator, organizing and leading programs that explore the biodiversity of Kachemak Bay. She harbors a persistent travel bug and enjoys dabbling in photography, backpacking, and music, particularly when she has a violin to play.

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Molly Gillespie

Board Member

Molly Gillespie is a certified environmental educator, naturalist, wilderness guide and the Alaska Coordinator of Project Learning Tree.  Raised in Spokane, Washington, she grew up hearing stories of various family member’s adventures in Alaska, so when her college roommate from Fairbanks invited her to “drive home” from their California college, Molly declined a “real job” and jumped in the 1973 VW Bus for the adventure.  She hasn’t looked back, and has been in the Denali National Park area since 1998.  Molly believes our connection to the natural world is intrinsic and should be honored, beginning with providing youth as many opportunities as possible to be in nature. Molly loves teaching and learning outdoors, and strives to provide educators with resources, inspiration and skills to do so as well.  She loves rivers and mountains and wild blueberries and can often be found listening for birds or skiing through the woods. Molly is honored to live in the traditional lands of AHTNA people near the Native Village of Cantwell with her husband and very loyal fur-baby.

Melissa O’Donnell

Board Member

Melissa grew up in the Midwest on the shores of Lake Michigan in Green Bay, WI. In third grade, she read 50 Things Kids Can Do to Save Planet Earth and has been a champion for nature ever since. It was during college when she discovered her deep passion for teaching kids about the outdoors while working at a Boys and Girls Club summer camp. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, she enjoyed the life of a seasonal park ranger for several years doing education and interpretation at various state and federal agencies across the country from Everglades to Denali. She then spent over 10 years directing education programs for the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Colorado, Michigan, and Alaska. Melissa currently works as a remote Program Specialist for the headquarters of AmeriCorps.


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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