Since 2018, the Sitka Conservation Society has helped organize professional development trips for the NOAA Sea Grant Knauss Fellows. This Sea Grant program places graduate students into year-long legislative and executive-branch positions in Washington, D.C. to gain professional experience in national policy decisions impacting ocean and coastal resources. 


Photos by Katie Riley and Kaa Yahaayí Shkalneegi Muriel Reid.

In this work to give policymakers a better understanding of the issues facing Southeast Alaskans on the ground, we are following in the example of our organization's founders, who brought people of influence to directly experience the the West Chichagof-Yakobi area as they advocated for what became the first citizen-sponsored Wilderness Area designated by Congress.

In 2023, we organized trips for ___, as well as trips for ___. 

Photo by Kaa Yahaayí Shkalneegi Muriel Reid.

At Sitka Conservation Society, we believe that on-the-ground experience is crucial for understanding the unique management structures and issues facing Alaska’s coastal communities, from the vital role of harvesting to the link between salmon and terrestrial ecosystems. As 2023 NOAA Sea Grant staffer Madison Willert put it, “our time in Alaska was incredibly meaningful and taught me the sanctity of the interconnected relationship between people, land, and sea. I cherish lessons learned there and will take them to DC as I continue to advance marine and coastal policy work.”

Photo by Katie Riley.