Executive Director - Elsa Sebastian
A brief foray to the Lower 48 to attend Wellesley College was enough of the “real world” for Elsa, and before the ink was dry on her last exam she fled back to Southeast to celebrate graduation on her own terms—running her 26-ft hand troller to Chatham Strait in pursuit of spring kings and hot springs.
Since then, Elsa has continued to fish. Primarily this has meant captaining a troller, but last summer she was a deckhand on a drift gillnetter in Bristol Bay. The seasonality of commercial fishing has allowed Elsa to put significant time towards working with conservation organizations. She’s especially proud of her contributions to Alaska Whale Foundation, an independent research non-profit that studies humpback whales and marine ecosystems of Southeast Alaska. Elsa joined the AWF staff in 2014 to help develop a remote field research station in Warm Springs Bay, and now serves on the board of directors. She is an Alaska Salmon Fellow with the Alaska Humanities Forum, served as a board member of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council, and worked as an intern for Trout Unlimited’s Pebble Mine Project.
In the last year, Elsa has felt compelled to do more to protect the natural abundance of Southeast Alaska. As a commercial fisherman she knows that the best teacher is experience, so she followed this conviction with an adventure ground-truthing project called Last Stands. In August and September of last year, Elsa and a team of artists and scientists trekked through threatened forests on her home island of Prince of Wales to draw attention to a potential federal land transfer. Most of the 150-mile bushwhack through old-growth forest, muskeg, logging roads and clearcuts was done in a uniform of Xtratufs and Grundens Hercules rain bibs.
As a boat owner, Elsa’s hobbies are diverse and range from rebedding portholes to sanding brightwork. Her current interest is sailing, so be on the lookout for her new sailboat, the Murrelet, in the Haines Small Boat Harbor this spring.
President- Eric Holle
Eric has 21 years in Haines on the LCC board under his belt, including 10 years as President. His skills include: biological fieldwork with numerous species, from desert reptiles, to local fish populations and extensive outdoor experience and knowledge of the Chilkat Valley and Southeast Alaska. Eric is a contract biologist & musician by trade. Eric feels that LCC's greatest strength is tenacity, and willingness to research issues to gain full understanding of all the facts.
Vice President- Carol Tuynman
Carol has been an LCC board member since September 2010. Her undergraduate studies were in geology, meteorology, some marine biology at the University of Miami, BA in Comparative Literature from Brooklyn College, MA in Media from center for Understanding Media, and 30 years experience in nonprofit program and proposal development. Carol was the first chef at Haines Assisted living, and set out to model sustainable food services practices and worked closely with the director and board memebers to establish an EnergyStar kitchen/pantry; to implement a practice of near-total recycling and composting; to foster a "from scratch" food preperation policy that provides residents with healthful meals, reduces solid waste stream, and provides the kitchen with locally purchased, locally produced organic produce, bulk dry foods, and ocal wild meats/seafoods. Carol was inspired to pursue environmental conservation by the practices and teaching of her grandmother, her mother, and her elementary/middle school teachers. She has always found environmental consciousness in her personal life, community, and nationally.Carol believes that LCC's greatest strength is building alliances with other nonprofits and with policy-making agencies by means of persistent and consistend informed advocacy and lobbying to preserve wilderness and marine habitat.
Secretary- Heidi Robichaud
Heidi’s interests are primarily in art, music, human relationships, psychology, ecosystems, communications. She appreciates the value of one on one communications and relationship building with folks and decision makers outside of official meetings. Heidi has a private practice in psychotherapy and continues to create ivory scrimshaw as she has since 1981. She loves gardening, foraging, hiking, kayaking, making music and studying the science and practice of healing mind/body/spirit. Heidi’s first real community organizing was in Gustavus, Alaska, population about 400, in the mid 1990s when a developer attempted to get permits to build a 500 bed resort in the wetlands adjoining the recently established Sandhill Crane Sanctuary. This would have had huge impacts on local wetlands and the demographics of the community with no input from locals. She helped pull people together to make it clear to authorities and the developer that the project was not a good idea for the community or its sensitive wetlands. Heidi’s involvement with the conservation community in Glacier Bay informed her of LCCs work and when she moved to Haines it was a natural to be involved.
Treasurer- Scott Carey
Scotty is the recently retired LCC president who has decidedly set out to put his impeccable number crunching skills to the test.
Board Member Emeritus- Katya Kirsch
Katya has 30 years of experience with Alaska conservation issues, including over 3 years as Southeast Alaska Conservation Council’s (SEACC) Executive Director and 8 years as SEACC’s Board President. A skilled facilitator, fundraiser, and financial manager, Katya holds a B.S. in communications from Skidmore College. An avid seakayaker, Katya has been a resident of Haines since 1974 and became very involved with Lynn Canal Conservation starting in 1978. She has worked with LCC on many issues including helping to: create the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, stop logging on the Chilkat Ridge (scenic backdrop to Bald Eagle Preserve), stop the Windy Craggy Mine and protect the Tatshenshini, and stop the Juneau road up the Lynn Canal and improve ferry service.
Board Member- George Figdor
George got his intro to life on the Streets of Philly but has been a Haines resident since 1972 and joined LCC within 30 days of first stepping off the ferry in Haines and seeing the smoke from the mill filling the inlet. George has been a member for the past 10 years & was president in the late 70's. George has degree in communications but more importantly, a University of Alaska Master Gardener Certificate. George is interested in energy and sustainability issues, local food production, land use planning, and quiet rights issues. George is a serious photographer and kayaker. He enjoys doing kayaking photography. He especially likes growing food, building wind and solar power systems, and most of all...making flyers for nonprofits! The commitment and courage of people like Ray, Vivian, Norm, Patricia, and Bruce Gilbert, who were so passionate about conservation that they were willing to take the risks involved in speaking out in a small community inspired George's commitment serve on the LCC board. George got on the board because he is good at saying NO!
Board Member- Cary Weishahn
Cary's husband, first daughter, and she moved to Haines in 1981. They subsequently had another daughter and raised their family here. She has been an LCC board member since 2005 and served as Secretary from 2005-2009. After receiving a B.A. from the University of Redlands (English major) she earned an M.A. in Special Education from San Diego State University. Cary holds a current Alaska teacher certificate, K-8, with Special Education endorsement. Cary is especially concerned about taking care of this planet we call home. Having grown up in Santa Monica, California, she witnessed increasing air pollution from the Los Angeles basin to San Diego. Knowing how much damage has already been done in the lower 48 states, she is committed to protecting Alaska’s clean air, water, and soil.
Board Member - Mario Benassi
Mario works with the youth, empowering them to care about the magic of the Chilkat Valley. A raptor expert, master chef, father, and film-maker who speaks for the animals.
Board Member - Macky Cassidy
Macky Cassidy is a lifelong Alaskan raised in the Mat-Su Valley. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Oregon in 2007 and her Masters of Teaching at UAS Sitka in 2010. While teaching in Hoonah 2010-2012 she incorporated local environmental and cultural knowledge into her Geography and History classes, with an emphasis on community involvement. Macky garnered and oversaw implementation of the Healthy Active Native Communities Grant which implemented a community and school garden. Macky’s skills, interests and experience lend nicely to LCC’s community outreach projects.
Board member- Elizabeth Jurgeleit
We are excited to introduce our new salmon loving board member, Elizabeth Jurgeleit. Elizabeth was born and raised in Haines, Alaska. She graduated from Washington State University in 2014 with a BA in Interior Design. Lizzy moved back to Haines because of her love for the community and the great outdoor adventures Haines has to offer. When Lizzy is not helping LCC she spends her time hiking, kayaking, traveling the world and hanging with her dog Mila.
stacie evans - conservation coordinator
For much of her life Stacie traveled, lived, and worked throughout the west in search of all things wild. In 2012 she found Haines and never looked back. Stacie earned her Bachelor's of Science at the University of Montana and has spent nearly every summer in the field since her first job in eight grade. In the summer she still packs her bags and travels to Alaska's most remote places to collect biological data. In the winter months she is happy to backcountry ski, play ping-pong and help LCC protect this amazing valley that she calls home.
Office Greeter- Mila
Mila is an exeptional office greeter, she excels in tail wagging and happy howls. When she is not in the office she can be found hiking the local trails and napping in front of the wood stove.
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