Image by John Thomas


JANUARY 2021: "Fire What Happens Now? The Future of Alaska’s Public Lands and Wildlife"

Speaker: Dr. Natalie Dawson

Date: January 12, 2021


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Presentation Summary: On January 6th, 2021, the Trump Administration moved closer to finalizing drilling in the Arctic Refuge than any other president in history. Almost simultaneously, 80% of the western Arctic was opened to oil and gas drilling and the Tongass National Forest roadless rule protections were lifted, leaving more federal public land available to industrial development than at any point in Alaska’s recent history. At the heart of each of these environmental battles are stories of the strong connection between people and place, like the Gwich’in and Inupiat of the North Slope and the Porcupine Caribou Herd, or Dan Blanchard, a small tourism operator in Southeast Alaska who brings his clients to stand before ancient cedar trees each summer. In her presentation, Audubon Alaska executive director Natalie Dawson will discuss updates on the federal public lands and waters issues across Alaska, and talk about ways to help these places in the coming days and weeks as one administration fades and the next begins. 

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Speaker Bio: Dr. Natalie Dawson is the executive director for Audubon Alaska and a teaching professor at Alaska Pacific University. She has spent two decades working, studying, and learning from Alaska’s lands, waters, and Indigenous Peoples. When not advocating for Alaska’s birds and other wildlife, she enjoys exploring Alaska by ski, kayak or on foot. She loves sharing her love of the north with others and believes deeply in a pursuit of lifelong learning from the land.