ITN received ALPAR’s most prestigious award, the 2012 Joe Gulley President’s Award for Outstanding Leadership. The award is named for longtime ALPAR supporter and president Joe Gulley, who passed away in 2008, and is awarded to an organization or individual for outstanding service.
ALPAR is a statewide organization founded in 1982 that encourages Alaskans to reduce litter and recycle.
ALPAR executive director Mary Fisher said the nonprofit organization chose to recognize ITN for its ongoing commitment to marine debris cleanup in Kodiak and its efforts to make Alaska’s trails more accessible to travelers from around the world.
“Island Trails Network has really taken on the task of doing marine debris cleanup in the Kodiak archipelago that has been above and beyond the call of duty,” Fisher said.
Andy Schroeder founded ITN in 2006 and has found funding to conduct multiple cleanups on Kodiak Island and surrounding islands.
“Andy from the start took an interest in the marine debris issue because he’d been around and seen it,” said Tom Pogson, director of marine programs at ITN. “Ever since 2007-2008 he has been nose to the grindstone to figure out funding. He has gone to a lot of places and coordinated a lot of cleanups.”
ITN has completed 14 volunteer-based beach cleanups since 2008, and has removed more than 83,000 pounds of marine debris. ITN also recycles around 80 percent of the debris volunteers collected.
“They really go the extra mile as far as doing cleanup,” Fisher said. “ALPAR sees an organization that is really professional and very well organized, and really has the environment foremost in their minds.”
ITN board president Patrick Saltonstall traveled to Anchorage last week to accept the award at the ALPAR’s annual awards banquet held at the Alaska Native Heritage Center.
“It was quite a big event,” he said. “We got the biggest award … it says we’re doing something right.”
The award was made out of recycled newspaper printing plates with glass.
Students in the Kodiak Extended Learning Program at Main Elementary also received recognition for a special project that was dreamed up out of a contest by Threshold Services Inc.
Teacher Balika Haakanson said some of her students participated in Threshold Services’ contest last fall to write a radio ad to encourage recycling.
“My students got super excited,” Haakanson said. “They created a super cool script and won the contest.”
Kaylie Sockwell, Weatherleigh Griffin, Ethan Bartz and Kiana Ballao created the commercial that won Threshold’s commercial contest. The commercial explains what materials can be recycled and how Threshold helps provide jobs to people with disabilities. The kids ended the commercial by saying, “Get off your can and recycle.”
Contact Mirror writer Nicole Klauss at email@example.com.