Empowering Southeast Alaskan Communities to reach cultural, ecological and economic prosperity.
January 16th, 2017 
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.

Happy New Year! Our partners celebrated many successes in 2016. New communities and partners were welcomed, Klawock became a finalist in a competitive state energy competition, a Forest Academy on Prince of Wales helped teach and build local capacity for resource management, Kasaan celebrated their third annual community harvest as well as the successful restoration of their traditional Whale House, the Mobile Greenhouse made its first stop, the Huna Tlingits returned to Glacier Bay, a series of dugout canoes were carved across the region, the Path to Prosperity Competition entered its fourth year and we could go on and on and on and on. We have so much to be grateful for and we can not wait to see what 2017 will bring.

The winter awards us with cold dark days and time to sit beside our wood stoves to reflect on our work, mission and progress. 
Across Southeast Alaska, the Sustainable Southeast Partnership is ambitiously looking to a new year where persistent and meaningful collaboration is more important than ever.  It is typical for our newsletters to include updates of our collaborative work. This season however, we are eager to also share some compelling and honest reflective pieces from our diverse partners.
Please continue to follow along on facebook , our  website and  blog and subscribe here for future newsletters .
The Milky Way and Northern Lights collide in Hoonah. Photo by Hoonah Community Catalyst, Ian Johnson.
Reflections from the Director on Moving Forward in 2017
Communication is Key for a Thriving Partnership

Written by Alana Peterson

I can't believe 2017 is already here! I have a good feeling about this year, especially for the work we are doing together as a network. With limited resources and an unknown political climate, each of our organizations must prioritize our efforts on projects that will move our communities and region forward. No big deal... Right?

Our shared mission of creating resilient Southeast communities is achievable if we each commit to this model of collaboration and partnership. I know that SSP can serve as a successful model for other areas of Alaska. When they ask us how we achieved success, we will say the greatest challenge to making this network work was through effective and deliberate communication . This means being thoughtful in every interaction. Effective communication can occur at any time, it can be during a meeting with staff, in a presentation to a group of people, through an email, or even through a monthly google hangout meeting. It is in those brief interactions that we make connections, and share ideas that create solutions or spur innovation within our collective efforts.

The point is, if we plan to make 2017 the best year SSP has had, then we need to start the year off right by sharing and communicating as effectively as we can. I hope to provide some opportunities to grow your individual communication skills during our monthly google hangouts as well as during our in-person meeting in Juneau March 16 & 17. Let's make 2017 count!

Quinn Aboudara Recognized for His Dedication to Culture and Community on Prince of Wales Island

Written by Alana Peterson
Our Catalyst of the Quarter, Quinn Aboudara, can often be found outside on the water or in the woods where he grew up on Prince of Wales Island. He has been a model catalyst from the first day on the job in early 2016. With undeniable passion for his culture and community, Quinn has a clear understanding of what it means to catalyze change for the community of Klawock.

The long list of work he has played a major role in executing this year includes a fish predation study, winning a competitive Alaskan state energy competition, authoring numerous compelling storytelling pieces, carrying out an administrative role for a crew of five forestry technicians and supporting a talented local high school student with a film project showcasing Klawock Watershed.  And these are just the things he had a leading role in!

Quinn continues to support the efforts of other catalysts and projects for the tribe and community of Klawock each and every day. As the director of SSP, I have not only been impressed by his motivation and drive, but also his generosity in working with partners and modeling what true collaboration looks like. Thank you for your dedication Quinn!

Hydaburg Students Travel to Important Leadership Conference

Written by Sonia Ibarra, PhD Candidate, College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks (pictured above working on a clam survey in the community of Kake)

Over the last two years, I have been very fortunate to attend the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) Conference alongside bright young students from Hydaburg, AK.  In November 2016, we made our way down to chilly Minneapolis and were welcomed by many warm faces, hugs, and songs that echoed the values of many Native peoples throughout the U.S.  AISES is a unique scientific conference that reminds me that:

1) We need to increase Native voices in the sciences and
2) We need to rekindle the understandings of our ancestors in solving contemporary problems.

For me personally, accompanying students at AISES was a big deal because I value organizations that provide multiple roadmaps for increasing diversity of perspectives, world views, and values in the sciences.  Native Americans represent 1.7 percent of the U.S. population, yet less than 0.5 percent of all U.S. scientists and engineers are Native American. Therefore it is critical that we address ways of creating opportunities for indigenous youth that both acknowledges their value systems while helping them navigate and train for the outside world. AISES does both of these things by integrating strong diverse cultural values into a scientific conference.

When we think about the sustainability of our decisions, the way we live, and the jobs that employ us, we should always think about how we plant seeds for our future.  Opportunities like AISES and nurturing hands-on science experiences for our youth plants seeds that will help Southeast Alaska become a better place for the next generation.  Let's work together to support our upcoming leaders and scientists.

The Hydaburg group poses for a picture at the 2016 American Indian Science and Engineering Conference.
The moon raises over a chilly afternoon in Sitka Sound. 
Registration Now Open for Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit
Helping Commercial Food Growers Overcome Hurdles

This Summit will be an opportunity for commercial growers of Southeast Alaska to learn from each other, find opportunities to collaborate, and build a network that can leverage everyone's efforts. Over the course of one weekend in Haines, many resources will be shared from financial planning for small farms to innovative solutions for soil building, policy implications for agriculture, and much more.

Early bird registration is now open for the Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit 2017. The Summit will be held February 24 through 26, 2017, at the Chilkat Center in Haines, Alaska. A discounted registration rate is available to attendees who register on or before January 21st, 2017. Travel and registration scholarships are available.

Pulling in sockeye salmon in the Klawock Watershed. Photos by Kendall Rock 
Klawock, the Water and Her People
Quinn Aboudara Reflects on Community and Ecosystem Health in Rural Alaska

Written by Quinn Aboudara, Community Catalyst for Klawock

The water laps against the side of the boat gently, the sound rhythmic and steady, like a heartbeat. The engine thrums softly in anticipation then roars to life as I twist the throttle to push the 16 foot aluminum skiff away from the dock and onto Klawock Lake.

My name is Quinn Aboudara, and I'm a lifelong resident of Prince of Wales Island. The Klawock Lake is part of my identity and life. Adopted and raised by the Taakwaneidi Raven/Sculpin Clan,  Klawock Lake is more than just a simple body of water for me. Like many residents of Klawock and the surrounding communities, I harvest food from these waters like salmon, trout and beaver. Its tree lined shores provide me with berries and edible roots, bark and grasses for weaving. We depend on the health of this landscape.

Working for the Klawock Cooperative Association, I was presented the opportunity to work with the local tribe and with the Sustainable Southeast Partnership as a community catalyst.

Klawock Lake and the watershed that feeds it are a fragile system. Over the last 30 years, this life-giving watershed has seen substantial change which have raised continued concern for the residents of Klawock such as declining fish runs, decreased snow caps on the surrounding mountains, and development along valuable spawning habitat.  My work understanding and protecting this landscape is a community priority of both traditional and cultural concern and a key component of my position within the Klawock Cooperative Association...

The sun sets over Klawock Watershed. Photo by Quinn Aboudara
Energy Audit Program to Help Local Businesses Thrive
Sign Your Commercial Building Up Today 

Written by Shaina Kilcoyne, Renewable Energy Alaska Project

Are you a business or commercial building owner interested in saving money on your heating and electric bills?  An energy audit will show you how energy is used in your facility and will recommend ways to reduce your use and save money. Southeast Conference, Renewable Energy Alaska Project (REAP) and the Sustainable Southeast Partnership (SSP) are offering 75% off commercial building audits through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development program. There are limited seats left, so don't miss this opportunity to sign up.
Last year, businesses and public facilities in Hoonah, Haines and Prince of Wales Island participated, receiving over 34 total audits. The recommended energy efficiency measures total $382,701 work of work with an estimated annual savings of $173,782! This means that it will only a little over two years for these savings to pay for themselves.
Join the movement to save money and save energy for Southeast Alaska! Interested Southeast businesses should contact Robert Venables (energy@seconference.org) or Shaina Kilcoyne (s.kilcoyne@realaska.org). Communities will need at least three businesses to get them on the Auditor's schedule, so talk to your neighbors! With an audit, businesses will be eligible for USDA's Rural Energy for America grant and loan Program for renewable energy and energy efficiency measures. Loan Guarantees are completed continuously throughout the year.

By better understanding how we waste energy in Alaska, our rural communities can find ways to be more efficient, keep more money circulating in region and decrease our dependance on fossil fuels 
Moby the Mobile Greenhouse Goes to Hoonah!
A Fresh Start for our Traveling Greehouse Program

By Lia Heifetz

Every year, Moby will travel to a new community to kick start local growing efforts. Six different Southeast communities applied to use Moby for the 2017 growing season. The pool of applicants was very strong, which made for a difficult decision for the panel of judges. The application will open again in Fall 2017 for the 2018 growing season.
This spring, Moby the Mobile Greenhouse will travel to Hoonah. Hoonah Schools and the Hoonah Indian Association have partnered to work towards their long term goal of providing year-long gardening opportunities to grow organic produce. Over the summer, they plan to grow primarily leafy greens, tomatoes, and cucumbers in Moby. The Hoonah partners see it as a starting point to provide students with experience and training to nurture and care for plants and preserve their harvest.
In the future, Hoonah intends to transfer their skills and inspiration to a larger project. They hope to develop a permanent biomass-heated greenhouse.  Moby is a stepping stone for the community partners in Hoonah. Look forward to more updates about Moby, the Mobile Greenhouse throughout the spring and summer.

Click Here to Learn More about Moby the Mobile Greenhouse

Alder Wood Benches Installed in Sitka Coffee Shop Spark Conversations About Sourcing Local Lumber

By Chandler O'Connell

In Sitka, Alaska a favorite coffee shop among locals called the Backdoor Café did a little renovating this season. Alana Peterson, who is both the owner of the Backdoor Cafe and the Program Director of the Sustainable Southeast Partnership installed brand new benches using locally sourced red alder wood. By sourcing local, Peterson supported local businesses, kept more money in the region, and showcased environmentally sustainable timber. The Backdoor Cafe is also modeling what a market for young-growth lumber products looks like in Southeast Alaska, as the Forest Service moves to shift from a focus on old growth clear cutting to young growth timber harvests.

The Tongass Transition, announced by the Department of Agriculture in 2011, is meant to bring an end to unsustainable old-growth logging and implement a more holistic management plan that focuses on young-growth trees that grow after clear-cuts, as well as integrating and valuing non-timber forest outputs. The Tongass Transition will ensure that the remaining old growth forests on the Tongass stay standing to provide wildlife habitat, sequester carbon, support subsistence lifestyles and recreation, and produce prodigious quantities of salmon. The transition also provides opportunities to develop new, value-added timber products.

Across the region, forest managers, millers, carpenters and local businesses are working to understand how a young-growth industry can best support our rural communities in the long-term. This simple move by a local coffee shop is sparking an important discussion on valuing and using our local resources across the region. 

Click Here to Learn More About the Project and Sourcing Local Wood in Southeast Alaska

What Is the Sustainable Southeast Partnership?

The Sustainable Southeast Partnership is a diverse network that includes both regional and community-based organizations that are working together on sustainable development in Southeast Alaska. 

The Sustainable Southeast Partnership includes the rural Alaskan communities of  KakeKasaan Hydaburg   Hoonah   Sitka, Klawock  and  Yakutat   .