Copper River Record- January 30, 2020
By Robin Mayo
Curious about the roles of tradition and science in the Copper River Basin? What can we do to become better stewards of this place? Or maybe your questions are more specific, like what is the meteorology of the debris-covered tongue of the Kennicott Glacier? How is language used to learn about the presence of the Dene people on the shores of Ancient Lake Atna? Or what is the preferred roost location for Little Brown Bats in the Copper Basin?
All these questions and many more will be answered at the Copper River Basin Symposium: Tradition, Science, and Stewardship to be held at the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Visitor Center February 18-19, 2020. This will be more than just a science symposium, we will also explore traditional ecological knowledge and nurturing a stewardship ethic.
The conference is open to the public- you are invited to attend any of the sessions. A complementary lunch will be provided by Ahtna Intertribal Resource Commission, and breakfast and dinner will be available, but must be pre-purchased through the conference registration site by January 31. Anyone who wishes to attend is encouraged to register (no cost) at www.copperriver.org/copper-river-basin-symposium/
On Tuesday, February 18th, programming will begin at 8:30 am with the symposium opening, a visit from an Ahtna Elder, and a keynote address by Kathryn Martin, Senior Vice President at Ahtna Inc on the theme of tradition, science, and stewardship.
Each presentation at the conference will be about 20 minutes long, with a few minutes for questions. On Tuesday, topics will include climate research and modeling, glaciers, hydrology, aquatic ecology, and ancient Lake Atna. At 4:45 there will be a poster session at the Ahtna Cultural Center with about 20 different presenters available to share their projects.
On Tuesday Evening there will be a special presentation by William E. Simeone at Tazlina Hall at 7pm. He will speak on “A Convergence of Knowledge? Scientific and Ahtna Knowledge of Salmon Diversity in the Copper River.”
On Wednesday, February 19th, the symposium will begin at 8:30am with the second Keynote address, by F. Stuart (Terry) Chapin, Professor Emeritus of Ecology at University of Alaska Fairbanks. He will speak on “Linking Indigenous and Western Science to Adapt to Climate Change.” Topics for Wednesday sessions will include a panel discussion on working with indigenous communities for scientific studies, wildlife research and management, collaborative conservation and the human dimensions of natural resource management, and fisheries. The day will finish with a symposium wrap-up at 4:30.
On Thursday February 20th, a morning meeting will be held to synthesize salmon habitat topics from the symposium, and consider past and current research projects with the goal of identifying research gaps. This session will be held from 8:30 to 11:30 am at Tazlina Village Hall, and is open to the public.
This symposium, the first of its kind for the Copper River Basin, is being organized by a group of partners including WISE, Copper River Watershed Project, Wrangell Mountains Center, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and Ahtna Intertribal Resource Commission. Funding or in-kind support is being provided by National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, and Ahtna Intertribal Resource Commission.
For more information visit the Symposium web page at www.copperriver.org/copper-river-basin-symposium/ or call the WISE office, 822-3575
The Symposium logo was designed by Copper River Stewardship Program Alumni Lindsey Gordon and Elvie Underwood.
Copper River Record November 21, 2019
By Robin Mayo
Mark your calendars for the first Copper River Basin Symposium, to be held February 18 &19, 2020 at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Visitor Center.
The event will showcase current scientific research and traditional knowledge of the region, with illustrated talks on a wide variety of topics, including archaeology, biology, and geology. There will also be panel discussions, a poster session, and a post-conference workshop on salmon habitat. The public will be welcome to attend.
Mr. Terry Chapin, professor emeritus at University of Alaska Fairbanks and recent winner of the 2019 Volvo Environmental Prize, has already agreed to be one of the Keynote Speakers for the Symposium. Mr. Chapin has been a faculty member at UAF since 1973, and in 2001 founded a graduate program called the Resilience and Adaptation Program, which aims to train future scientists to take an interdisciplinary approach to studying climate change. His newest book, “ Grassroots Stewardship: Sustainability within our Reach,” will be released in early 2020.
An additional keynote speaker, to be announced, will address the symposium with a focus on the Tradition aspect of the theme.
The planning committee is currently sorting through over 30 proposals for presentations, and is excited in the interest the symposium is generating. Team members include Copper River Watershed Project, Wrangell Mountains Center, WISE, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Ahtna Intertribal Resource Commission, and Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Event sponsors so far include National Fish and Wildlife Federation, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, and Ahtna Intertribal Resource Commission.
The symposium logo was designed by area youth Lindsey Gordon and Elvie Underwood.
Who We Are
WISEfriends are several writers connected with Wrangell Institute for Science and Environment, a nonprofit organization located in Alaska's Copper River Valley. Most of these articles originally appeared in our local newspaper, the Copper River Record.