Oct. 5, 2023 — Roman Dial — The Adventurer’s Son

Once called America’s most imaginative adventurer, Roman Dial has pioneered long-distance ski trips on light-weight Nordic skis and ice-skates, bicycling on snow, adventure racing, bikepacking, and packrafting. He’s climbed the world’s tallest trees, going from tree-to-tree for days without touching the ground in California redwoods and sequoias, Borneo jungles, and Australian eucalyptus and searched for ice-worms on high mountain glaciers in Alaska, Bhutan, China, and Tibet. He has published stories and photographs in National Geographic, Smithsonian, Patagonia Catalog, National Geographic Adventure, Outside, Bicycling, Mountain Bike, Australian Geographic, Rock and Ice, Climbing, X-C Skiing, BackpackingAmerican Alpine Journal, and Alaska Magazine among others. 

Dial has taught at Alaska Pacific University for over 30 years as a professor of mathematics and biology. He has a PhD in biological sciences from Stanford University and a masters in mathematics from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and has published in Nature, Nature Geoscience, Global Change Biology, Ecology, Journal of Ecology, Molecular Phylogenetics and EvolutionForest Science, Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, Biotropica, and others and once appeared on the cover of Science

He is married to his teenage sweetheart, Peggy. The two circled the globe in 2008-09. 

The Adventurer’s Son is his second book.

Roman Dial
Roman Dial

May 4, 2023 — Jessica Cherry — Polar Exploration is for Everyone

Jessica Cherry, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, (NOAA’s), Climate Services Director for Alaska, will speak at Alaska Professional Communicators meeting May 4, 2023. Join us, either by Zoom or LIVE with lunch.

Polar Exploration is For Everyone is Jessica Cherry’s talk title. Jessica Cherry will tell the story of the making of the anthology book she co-edited with Frank Soos:  Wheels on Ice; stories of cycling in Alaska.

Jessica Cherry is a geoscientist, writer, and commercial airplane pilot living in Anchorage, Alaska.  Cherry co-edited, with Frank Soos, the 2022 anthology Wheels on Ice:  stories of cycling in Alaska, and wrote a weekly column for the Anchorage Press from 2019-2022.  In 2022, Cherry was an Individual Artist Awardee from the Rasmuson Foundation and is currently working on a memoir about scientific aviation.  By day, Cherry serves as NOAA’s Climate Services Director for Alaska. 

Feb. 2, 2023 — Rolfe Buzzell — Editor of two memoirs from the Turnagain Arm Gold Rush of the late 1890s.

Rolfe Buzzell has been a resident of Alaska for 45 years. He earned a Master of Arts degree and a Ph.D., both in History, from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He was employed for two years as a historian for the National Park Service in Alaska and 29 years as a historian for the State of Alaska, Department of Natural Resources. He worked as a field historian documenting historic and prehistoric sites on public construction projects and he participated in the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill cleanup monitoring the protection of cultural sites. Dr. Buzzell authored 60 interpretive signs posted along Alaska’s highways celebrating the Gold Rush Centennial, wrote approximately 100 professional reports including a history of bridges in Alaska, and worked as an expert witness for the State on litigation regarding the use of navigable waters and rights-of-ways for historic trails and roads across public lands. He mapped and documented the ruins of the gold rush town of Sunrise and is an expert on the Turnagain Arm Gold Rush of 1896-1898. He edited two books by people who lived in Sunrise and nearby mining camps in the 1890s. His article, “Women of the Sunrise Mining Camps, 1895-1901,” was recently published in Alaska History journal. He is currently writing a history of the town of Chitina in Alaska’s Copper River Valley.

Summary of Presentation: Historian Rolfe Buzzell will discuss two books he edited on the Turnagain Arm Gold Rush of 1895-1901. The first is the memoirs of Albert “Jack” Morgan, entitled Memories of Old Sunrise, Gold Mining on Alaska’s Turnagain Arm (1994 and 2013),in which Morgan writes about his experiences as a miner in the Sunrise area. The second book is Gold Rush Wife, The Adventures of Nellie Frost on Turnagain Arm, 1895-1901 (2016, 2020) which provides rare insights into the role of women in one of southcentral Alaska’s earliest mining camps. Dr. Buzzell will talk about the Turnagain Arm Gold Rush, which began 20 years before the founding of Anchorage, and how he came to edit the two manuscripts. He will also provide highlights of these two books, which provide markedly different perspectives on life in a remote mining camp. The books are available from Alaska’s “Ember Press.”   

Photo of Rolfe Buzzell
Rolfe Buzzell

Jan. 5, 2023 — Tom Kizzia — Ghost Town Dreams

Kizzia traveled widely in rural Alaska during a 25-year career as a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. Kizzia was named 2022 Historian of the Year by the Alaska Historical Society for Cold Mountain Path, his latest bookHe also penned the bestseller Pilgrim’s Wilderness, chosen by the New York Times as the best true crime book set in Alaska. And, The Wake of the Unseen Object, was re-issued in an Alaska classics series by the University of Alaska Press. Learn more from Kizzia as he speaks to us from his home in Homer, Alaska.

Tom Kizzia

Nov. 3, 2022 — Corinna Cook — Leavetaking

Corinna Cook asks how can a geologically-enlarged sense of time benefit writing that is motivated by immediate concerns and/or lived experience?

Corinna is a former Fulbright Fellow, an Alaska Literary Award recipient, and a Rasmuson Foundation awardee. She offers writing workshops, teaches at Alaska Pacific University, and is working on an oral history account of the early years of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission. Her current creative focus is a book project centered on Yukon-Alaska art, ecology and history. More at www.corinnacook.com.

Corinna Cook

Sept. 1, 2022 — Mr. Whitekeys — “Adventure, Danger, Scurvy, Romance” by Mr. Whitekeys

Adventure, Danger, Scurvy, Romance by Mr. Whitekeys

The true story of the largest expedition ever organized during the 1898 Alaska Gold Rush. Eighty greenhorns from Chicago sailed to Alaska, built a 110-foot sternwheel riverboat, sailed up the Yukon and Koyukuk Rivers, and endured one of the most brutal winters on record. One of the prospectors lugged a 40-pound camera for 2 1/2 years and documented his time in the gold fields with over 100 images. His photos have been stored unseen for 120 years. This meeting will be the FIRST presentation about this book.

Mr. Whitekeys’ Bio

For all of his fifty years in Alaska, Mr. Whitekeys’ job description has proudly been “mouthing off and making snotty comments.”

In the early 1970s, while performing with The Oosik Music Company at Chilkoot Charlie’s, he gave the bar its world famous slogan, “We Cheat The Other Guy and Pass The Savings On To You.”

In 1980, he opened Mr. Whitekeys’ Fly By Night Club—Anchorage’s center for “Spam, Booze, Rhythm and Blues.” The Whale Fat Follies musical comedy satiric revue was a legendary production involving music, singing, dancing, costumes, and a photographic multi-media show. It was truly The Alaskan Show The Department of Tourism Does NOT Want You To See.

In his spare time, Whitekeys has written a book version of The Whale  Fat Follies (Alaska Bizarre,)  a monthly column for Alaska Magazine, and a weekly satirical segment for KTUU-TV in Anchorage. He also produced a cinematic lampoon of the state’s history, Alaska—The First 10,000 Years—and a DVD version of The Whale Fat Follies Live in Concert.

Since performing The Whale Fat Follies  “Farewell Tour” in 2019, Mr. Whitekeys has proudly continued to embarrass the entire Alaskan environmental community as the Commander in Chief of the Anchorage Audubon Society.

Mr. Whitekeys

May 5, 2022 — Jen Jolliff — Promoting Navigational Literacy and Decision-Making Through Her Book Fogrunner

Jen Jolliff, a competitor in orienteering races, will introduce her first novel, Fogrunner. The book is set in a world where map reading, good decision making, and efficiency are the keys to success. It is her way of encouraging navigational literacy in a generation for whom computer algorithms have seemingly taken over the need for individuals to process visual information.

Jolliff grew up in Waco, Texas, and graduated from Middlebury College in 1992 with a BA in English/Creative Writing, a life-partner from Alaska, and a love for navigation-based adventure. Two years later, she moved back to Anchorage. Jolliff ran the couple’s whimsical fleece hat company (Gimme Dat Hat Co.), worked as an activities therapist, and began competing in navigation races put on by the Arctic Orienteering Club.

Around 2000, she began to work as a custom visual artist, painting murals in homes around the city and creating wood carvings as commissions and gallery work. Jolliff has designed and facilitated two dozen large-scale permanent art pieces in schools and libraries through the Teaching Artist and 1% for Art programs. In recent years, Jolliff has shifted much of her energy to literary arts. More information is available at jenjolliff.com.

Participants can join the Zoom meeting at 11:30 a.m. for conversation and to troubleshoot connections. Please sign on by 11:50 a.m. to be prepared for start of the program at noon. Get details by sending a message to sherrie@arctic.net.

Jen Jolliff

Jen Jolliff

April 1, 2021 — Anne Coray — Green Shoots from Old Roots: Writing about the Environment

Anne Coray, author of the recently published novel Lost Mountain, will discuss her writing and changes she’s seen as a resident of remote Southwest Alaska. She will also explore the evolution of nature writing and its contemporary offshoot—eco-literature.

Coray is the author of three poetry collections, coeditor of Crosscurrents North: Alaskans on the Environment, and coauthor of a publication titled Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. Her work has appeared in many literary journals, including the Southern Review, Northwest Review, North American Review, Poetry, and Alaska Quarterly Review. A five-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Coray is the recipient of fellowships from the Alaska State Council on the Arts and the Rasmuson Foundation. She divides her time between Homer and her birthplace, remote Lake Clark (Qizhjeh Vena).

Participants can join Zoom meeting at 11:30 a.m. for conversation and to troubleshoot connections. Please sign on by 11:50 a.m. to be prepared for start of the program at noon. Get details by sending a message to sherrie@arctic.net.

Anne Coray

March 4, 2021 — Amy Gulick — The Salmon Way: An Alaska State of Mind

Intrigued that there is still a place in the world where the lives of people and salmon are linked, photographer and author Amy Gulick traveled throughout Alaska to explore the web of human relationships that revolve around these extraordinary fish. Commercial fishermen took her on as crew; Alaska Native families taught her the art of preserving fish and culture; and sport fishing guides showed her where to cast her line as well as her mind. Alaskans everywhere shared their salmon riches with her in their kitchens, cabins, and fish camps—it’s the salmon way.

Gulick’s book, The Salmon Way: An Alaska State of Mind, is the winner of an Independent Publisher Book Award, a Nautilus Book Award, an INDIES Book of the Year Award, and has been named a Best Indie Book by Kirkus Reviews.

Visit: www.thesalmonway.org

Photographer and author Amy Gulick has received numerous honors including a Lowell Thomas Award from the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation, the Daniel Housberg Wilderness Image Award from the Alaska Conservation Foundation, and the Voice of the Wild Award from the Alaska Wilderness League. Her work has been featured in The New Republic, National Geographic NewsWatch, Audubon, National Wildlife, Sierra, Outdoor Photographer, and other publications. Her first book, Salmon in the Trees: Life in Alaska’s Tongass Rain Forest, is both a Nautilus and Independent Publisher Book Award winner.

See more of her work: www.amygulick.com

Amy Gulick

Amy Gulick

Nov. 5, 2020 — Heather Lende — Author of Of Bears and Ballots, and Find the Good (on Zoom)

Bestselling Haines author Heather Lende’s newest book, Of Bears and Ballots, chronicles her three years on the Haines Borough Assembly from 2016-2019. Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-town Obituary Writer, is the current Alaska Reads pick.

She was a long-time columnist for the Anchorage Daily News, and a contributing editor to Woman’s Day magazine.

Lende began her career as a radio commentator, and has been involved in her local radio station, KHNS-FM for over thirty years as a volunteer show host, underwriter, and sometimes board member.

She is the recipient of the Governor’s Award for Distinguished Service to the Humanities, and the Episcopal Church Bishop’s Cross Award.

Heather Lende and her husband Chip have five adult children and eleven grandchildren.

Contact sherrie@arctic.net for the Zoom login to attend the meeting.

Photo of Heather Lende

Heather Lende