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Inian Online Journal

Work Work

Inian welcomes guest writer Peter Forbes, co-founder of the Center for Whole Communities in Vermont and Vice President of Inian Islands Institute’s Board of Directors. This post chronicles Inian’s Work Party, 2016. 

3 people on their bellies hauling rock and sediment, 4 people replacing a rotten beam under a hundred-year-old shop, 6 people building a round deck in the pouring rain, 2 people struggling material up from shore, 3 people weeding an overgrown garden, 3 people cooking gorgeous food: work.  We can’t underestimate the power of this work.

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Meetings in Hoonah

“Are you all from Inian Islands Institute?”  A tall, smiling man approached and extended his hand.  “I’m Jeff Skaflestad.”

“Jeff!” my companions exclaimed, shunning his handshake for a hug.  We had just touched down in Hoonah, the nearest native village of the Tlingit people, who have lived in what would come to be called Southeast Alaska for thousands of years.  Our charter flight from Gustavus only took about 20 minutes, flying across Icy Strait from the mainland to Chichagof Island. Read more

Listen to Our Story

Inian Islands Institute was featured on Indie Alaska!  Let this breathtaking video, created by Hanna Craig, take you on a journey through our story, from our origins through the bright spark of our future.

Environmental Rhetoric

Inian Welcomes guest writer Professor Daniel Lee Henry of University of Alaska Southeast. This post originally appeared on 49 Writers.

Last month, 15 people descended upon a remote harbor near Glacier Bay for a week of boot camp to train minds and mouths in the art of environmental rhetoric. Despite the usual uncertainty, shyness, and/or trauma around speech, students signed up for a course because they saw no other way to change public attitudes and laws than to speak out.

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Teachers in the Wilderness

Inian welcomes guest writer Kate Schafer, science teacher at Harker School in San Jose, California, and participant in our first Teacher Expedition in partnership with Discovery Southeast.

I teach at a school in the middle of Silicon Valley.  It’s an amazing school filled with students that are serious and dedicated.  They are focused on getting into colleges that will help them to get good jobs that their families will be proud of.  I’ve been teaching there for a decade, and during that time, I have been continually amazed by their curiosity and desire to try and make the world a better place, but typically this is in the context of becoming a doctor, a lawyer or an engineer. Read more

“Alaska. Yoga. Retreat.”

Inian welcomes guest writer Wendy Cypert, participant in our 2016 Alaska Yoga Retreat. 

Somewhere in California behind a desk…

It began with a day dream, a respite from the relentless emails, phone calls and customer demands that crowd so many of our day to day lives. I longed for quiet and for solitude, maybe a retreat in someplace beautiful…?  In the rectangular blue search bar I wistfully typed…ALASKA. YOGA. RETREAT Read more

Nuts and Bolts

As this month’s guest author, Inian Islands Institute welcomes our board member Molly Kemp from the tiny town of Tenakee, in rural Southeast Alaska.

Just over a year ago I was invited to join the Inian Islands Institute board of directors.  I was flattered , and jumped at the chance.

“By the way” wrote Zach, “you’ll have the Treasurer position.”

Gulp… This was not the assignment I expected, as my frugal personal economy is still measured in nickels and dimes.  I’ve had some experience with non-profit organizations, but only on a similar nickel-and-dime basis.  The scale of the Inian Islands vision, and a business plan with seven digits, was more than a little intimidating.

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In these early days, there’s a limit to how much scientific research we can conduct at Inian Islands Institute.  After all, notwithstanding the excitement of our purchase agreement and palpable momentum towards buying the Hobbit Hole, this place remains the home of the Howe Family.  Building our science laboratory, hosting visiting researchers all summer, and mooring our electric boat at the dock will have to wait until the sale is done, lest we impinge too greatly on this gracious family’s lives and livelihoods.

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More than a Field School

By Tania Lewis, Wildlife Biologist at Glacier Bay National Park, and President of Inian Islands Institute’s Board of Directors

Do you remember the first time you fell in love with something wild? Maybe it was the waves pounding on the sand when you first saw the ocean, or a group of deer grazing peacefully when you began wandering the woods, or a deep green pool of a cascading mountain creek on your first backpack trip. For many of us, these early memories shape our lives, how we live, where we travel to, and how we devote our life’s work. Experiences in wild places generally make human beings feel profoundly good, connected to a larger universe, less alone. Research has shown that spending time in nature decreases anxiety and increases feelings of empathy and altruism. These feelings lead to healthy stewardship of our land, resources, and community. Many of us believe that connecting people to nature may be our best shot at turning this world around.

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Thanksgiving Hunt

It was a dizzying month.  After our last student group left, I set off for the wide world to keep plugging and pitching Inian Islands Institute.  Having decided that October was “the month,” I may have been a bit too cavalier with scheduling my time in one city after another, from Portland to Seattle to San Francisco and beyond.  After all, I thought, it’s all the Lower 48 – compared to Alaska, it’s all in the same neighborhood!  In the final tally, I gave 6 presentations and sat in 43 meetings in 20 cities, with 17 planes, 28 trains, and 30 buses connecting it all.  At such a feverish pace, at times I became a bleary-eyed shell of myself, a zombie lurching.  Though I remained pretty confident that the year was still 2015, I was so disoriented and sleep-deprived you could’ve convinced me otherwise.  It was time to get back to the Wilderness.

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