This project contains oral history interviews with long-time residents of Skagway, Alaska talking about their observations of environmental change in and around Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, and with National Park Service employees and residents of Nome, Alaska discussing the changing environment in and around Bering Land Bridge National Preserve. Capturing the effects of change on cultural and natural resources at these two coastal park areas, and hearing about the effects on the human connection to those resources allows audiences to gain first-hand understanding of a changing environment and provides the opportunity to draw comparisons between two distinct regions of Alaska. The interviews pay particular attention to: vegetation succession; differences in plant and animal species; retreating glaciers; vertical advance of tree lines; changes to coastal lagoons and formation of sea ice; shoreline erosion; permafrost melt; and shifts in phenology. Additionally, the interviews highlight the impact of such changes on the flora, fauna and humans, and the adaptations all are making to these changes.
Support for this project was provided by the National Park Service, and Anne Mastov and Karl Gurcke of Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park and Katie Cullen of Bering Land Bridge National Preserve who assisted in project planning and implementation, and helped identify and select people to be interviewed. The Skagway interviews were conducted in 2018 by Karen Brewster of the Oral History Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the Nome interviewes were conducted in 2019 by Leslie McCartney of the Oral History Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Katie Cullen of the National Park Service. This Observing Change in Alaska's National Parks Project Jukebox website was completed by Karen Brewster in 2019.
Letty Hughes was born in Montana, but her family moved to interior Alaska when she was about six years old. She graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2004 with an undergraduate degree in wildlife biology. She has worked for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Fairbanks, Bethel and Nome, Alaska, and since July 2018 has been the wildlife biologist for Bering Land Bridge National Preseve based in Nome. Her work has included being a field technician studying the stomach... Read More
Tahzay Jones grew up in Arizona, and earned an undergraduate degree in biological sciences from the University of Chicago, and a PhD from the University of Miami focused on invertebrate animals in the marine environment and how the influences from coastal runoff impacted the near-shore environment. He then left the sciences and pursued his interests in art, design, theater, photography, and videography. After a number of years, he regained an interest in science and came to Alaska as a... Read More
Jeanette Koelsch was born in Anchorage, Alaska to Joe and Grace Cross, and moved to Nome in 1982 when she was about ten years old. Her maternal grandparents were Jane and Jack Antoghame from St. Lawrence Island. After graduating from Nome-Beltz Senior High School, she attended Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, graduating with an undergraduate degree in general science. Her first professional job after college was in 1994 as a summer seasonal park ranger with the National Park Service... Read More
Jacob Martin was born in 1993 in Nome, Alaska to Mildred "Blue" and Arthur "Guy" Martin. His maternal grandparents were Lucy Koyuk and John Taxac from King Island, Alaska. Jacob grew up living a subsistence lifestyle of hunting and fishing, with many summers spent with his aunt and uncle in Koyuk. He graduated from Nome-Beltz Senior High School in 2012 and attended one year at the University of Alaska Fairbanks before returning to Nome where he worked for Sitnasuak Native Corporation in... Read More
Stan Selmer was born in Iowa in July 1948 while his parents were traveling, and in September 1948 was brought back to Skagway, Alaska where the family was living. All of his siblings were born in Skagway, as was his father. Stan's grandfather, originally from Norway, was one of the first barbers in Skagway, and ran the movie theater, played in the town band, and was mayor. Stan's mother, originally from Minnesota, came to Alaska to be a nurse, and in 1945 she got a job at the White Pass... Read More
Originally from Wisconsin, Emily Willis came to Skagway, Alaska in 2002 to work seasonally. She ended up staying and worked at Jewell Gardens from 2002 to 2008. Feeling connected to plants, both wild and domestic, she began to learn about their traditional and medicinal uses through coursework at the Australasian College of Health Services, by attending workshops by Beverly Gray in the Yukon, and Robert Rogers, and by self-study. In 2010, she established her business, "... Read More