Autumn 2018 
Welcome to The Sustainable Southeast Partnership (SSP) .  We are a diverse network of organizations and individuals working together to meet the challenge of sustainable community development in Southeast Alaska.

It is our collective mission to empower rural Alaskan communities to reach cultural, ecological and economic prosperity.

This autumn, the Sustainable Southeast Partnership (SSP) convened on Prince of Wales Island for our 5th annual retreat. We built new work plans, identified areas to collaborate in 2019, discussed how the partnership is growing, and reflected on over six years of relationship building and collaboration.

This special edition newsletter features the SSP communities that we visited during this retreat: Kasaan, Hydaburg, and Klawock. These communities and the projects we toured, demonstrate the power of collective action and help ground SSP's progress. We are eager to share these stories with you. Read on and enjoy!

 
Also, please continue to follow along on facebook , our  website and  blog and subscribe here for future newsletters .
The Sustainable Southeast Partnership convened on Prince of Wales Island for our 2018 Annual Retreat.
Photo by Bethany Goodrich of the team in front of Kasaan's Whale House



Celebrating Terry West's Contagious Smile
Kasaan's Community Catalyst Excels  

Written by Paul Hackenmueller, Program Director
This quarter's catalyst feature takes us to Prince of Wales, where Terry West has spent the last year as Kasaan's Community Catalyst. As Economic Development Director at the Organized Village of Kasaan, Terry is the lead on a number of exciting initiatives including growing a cultural tourism business, coordinating Kasaan's annual wild foods harvest event, and working with students to grow vegetables in the school's greenhouse and community garden. She brings admirable enthusiasm to her projects and is great at following through with her collaborators.

Part of what makes Terry so special are the authentic relationships she builds within her community. She also strengthens the SSP network through her willingness to integrate other catalysts into her work. Whether by turning to regional catalysts for support on food or economic development projects, or collaborating with other community catalysts on Prince of Wales, Terry knows that leaning on the relationships and expertise she has through SSP contributes to increased impact in her community.  


Thanks for all your hard work, Terry!


Reflection from the Director
Retreat Emphasizes the Power of Community

Written by Paul Hackenmueller, Program Director

Each October, the SSP gathers for our annual retreat. Every retreat has a different focus. Some years we dive deep into project planning. Others, we focus on communications or strategy. Every year, we commit to strengthening the core foundation of our partnership: the relationships and trust we have collectively built across this geographically vast network.

This fall on Prince of Wales, the emerging theme was 'community'. With three SSP partner communities to visit on the island (more below), we had the opportunity to spend time with a number of partners, catalysts, and community members all of who attested to SSP's impact on their own work. I was also tuned-in to another, equally powerful sense of community: that of the Partnership itself. Of the 35 partners who participated in the retreat, some have been involved since the earliest days of the SSP and others were experiencing our collaborative approach for the first time. Regardless of time spent in the partnership, all participants contributed to a sense of purpose and camaraderie that was palpable.

Throughout the week, it was evident that the strength of the SSP community is one of our greatest assets and one that will drive us toward a more resilient Southeast Alaska.


The Klawock's Heenya Kwan Dancers perform during the 2018 Retreat Photo by Bethany Goodrich
Walking Through Beautiful Kasaan
A Small Town with Enormous Drive

Written by Katie Gannon, Spruce Root Community Development

Nestled in a cove on Prince of Wales Island, sits the Haida village of Kasaan. Home to less than 80 residents, Kasaan is our smallest SSP community. In a village this size, the tribal community center in "uptown" and the municipal office in "downtown" are separated by only a two-minute walk. But even in such a small town and during a short one-day visit, it became evident that new projects and community spaces are thriving.

Marina Anderson led us on a powerful tour of the recently restored long house Náay I'waans standing proudly in the rainforest. Beside the Organized Village of Kasaan's (OVK) newly renovated Totem Trail Cafe, sits the carving shed, a community hub where community members and school children can now gather to learn carving skills. This year, OVK's carving program will be hosting classes across Prince of Wales Island for school children in an effort to revitalize Haida culture and demonstrate healthy alternatives to substance abuse.

Tucked between the school and the playground sits the aquaponics biomass greenhouse, complete with a bathtub-sized tank of goldfish and onions sprouting from repurposed cereal containers. This inspiring greenhouse is part of an island-wide school district initiative to give hands-on educational opportunities to our rural youth while providing local, healthy, and fresh foods to the greater community. After touring us through the greenhouse, Kasaan's youngest SSP ambassadors eagerly showed us a rack of yellow-cedar cuttings they have been caring for as part of the Yellow Cedar Rooted Cutting Project. This initiative aims to produce a local supply of native yellow cedar trees for replanting in Southeast Alaska. Behind the post office and attached to the school stretch two community gardens each with raised beds full of rhubarb, herbs, and Haida potatoes as part of a food security and sustainability project.

Before we ambled down the long gravel road out of Kasaan, Stormy Hamar kindly greeted our group for a tour of his projects. Hamar the master carver who led the Nay I'Waans restoration project is now spending his days carving a traditional 20-foot long dugout Haida canoe. Kasaan is an inspiring example of people working together to promote cultural and economic prosperity for their community.
Bob Girt , Sealaska Timber Company, LLC holds a tray of yellow cedar cuttings (left). Marina Anderson offers a ride through the community greenhouse (right). Photos by Bethany Goodrich
A Day in Klawock
Where Entrepreneurialism and Innovation are Thriving

Written by Katie Gannon, Spruce Root Community Development

The Tlingit community of Klawock is home to an industrious mix of educational developments, local businesses, and scientific research. When the SSP visited during our retreat, there were almost too many projects and partners to visit in one busy rainy day!  

The Prince of Wales Vocational and Technical Education Center was established as a nonprofit by the Klawock City School District in 2011 to address the career preparation, training, and employment needs of the Island. In the wood and metal shop, we met high school construction students bustling around between machines and workbenches. Through a partnership with the local school system, these students spend two class periods a day in the shop building wooden sheds from locally sourced lumber.

After exploring the sheds, the SSP headed downtown to visit the growing number of local businesses that are working to keep dollars in the local economy while providing stable jobs for the community. At Skyáana Coffee Co., a local coffee roasting company, entrepreneur Tina Isaacs Steffen celebrates tradition and heritage with deep roots and investment in the community. In 2016, Tina was recognized as a winner of our Path to Prosperity business competition for her outstanding commitment to her triple bottom line business approach . Down a narrow side street, Mathew Scaletta, the Director of Operations and Facilities at Wildfish Cannery, greeted the SSP with a wide smile. A finalist in 2017 P2P for exploring underutilized Alaskan fisheries, Scaletta takes pride in working closely with local fishermen to smoke their best catch.

Our next stop was the Klawock River where, following community concern over recent declining salmon runs, the Klawock Cooperative Association and partners began a predation study to better understand the salmon food web and make scientifically informed policy decisions.

As new development grows in the community, Klawock continues to honor tradition. The newly raised Veteran's Memorial Totem Pole, stands proudly by the water in Memorial Park, and when the SSP network visited Klawock, we were treated to a potluck of locally caught salmon and a performance of song and dance. Nothing could be a better display of community development and cultural resilience than Klawock's generosity and growth.
Tina Isaacs Steffen shows the SSP how she roasts coffee for her business Skyanna Coffee. Skyanna Coffee was recognized in 2016 by the Path to Prosperity Business Competition for their dedication to a 'triple bottom line' (left). The Veterans Pole was raised this summer in Klawock to honor local veterans (right). Photos by Bethany Goodrich. 
Visiting Hydaburg
Haida Culture and Community Building

Written by Katie Gannon, Spruce Root Community Development
  
Hydaburg's strong leadership, communal spaces, and connection to culture are helping the community heal and grow. Tony Christianson has served as the Mayor of Hydaburg for 14 years, and when SSP visited, he proudly explained the projects on cultural revitalization and sustainability developing in his community. 

Right across the street from Christianson's office at City Hall is a newly built Haida language immersion pre-school, Xantsii Naay, where local students (aged 3 to 5) are studying and speaking the language of their ancestors and carrying on their cultural legacy.  After a short walk from City Hall, the SSP was invited into the community carving shed, standing proudly by the waterfront. Two large partially carved totem poles lay in the center of the workspace. Elders and youth gather here to work on community projects, practice formline and share intergenerational stories and knowledge. Hagoo explained to us how the carving shed and Hydaburg's continued investment in cultural revitalization are helping the community heal and overcome substance abuse.

As we meandered through town, Christianson pointed out the buildings for cultural and environmental stewardship springing up all around. In the lot beside the carving shed, the community is constructing a longhouse to serve as a gathering space and connection to culture. Behind the school, a large shed is being erected to house a wood burning boiler system to help shift Hydaburg's energy systems to a more sustainable and localized alternative. Using local resources and traditional knowledge, Hydaburg is resiliently lighting the path forward to a prosperous Southeast Alaska.
 
Hagoo shows the SSP around the Hydaburg carving shed and explains how pride in and the practice of Haida culture are essential for building a healthy future for Alaska's largest Haida community. Photo by Bethany Goodrich
Welcome Clay Good
SSP Introduces New Regional Energy Catalyst

As REAP's STEM Educator,  Clay  is also the Regional Energy Catalyst for the  Sustainable Southeast Partnership (SSP) , executing REAP's education and outreach efforts in Southeast Alaska while working as part of the greater SSP effort.

Clay grew up in Juneau's schools where a few great teachers inspired him to pursue post-secondary education and return to his alma mater to join the Juneau-Douglas High School science faculty. There, he nurtured his passion for place-based learning methods in the marine, physical and biological sciences for 25 years. 

After retirement,  Clay engaged his various professional interests as an educator, curriculum consultant, writer and board member for the nature education organization, Discovery Southeast.  Clay  is a family man who loves time with his amazing kin, most of whom live in Alaska. His alter ego is a session drummer, snowboarder, mountain biker and amateur heavy equipment operator.
What is the Sustainable Southeast Partnership?

The Sustainable Southeast Partnership is a diverse network of organizations and individuals working together to reach cultural, ecological and economic prosperity for our communities and region. 

The Sustainable Southeast Partnership includes the rural Alaskan communities of  KakeKasaan Hydaburg   Hoonah   Sitka, Klawock  and  Yakutat   .
 
If you or your community has announcements or media posts please consider sharing them in our quarterly newsletter! Reach out to us at info@sustainablesoutheast.net .