It is my pleasure to introduce Brad Meiklejohn, a guest blogger from The Conservation Fund, a leading nonprofit in land conservation efforts. Brad is the Alaska State Director and has worked at the Conservation Fund since 1994. He is a conservationist, birder and wilderness explorer and has impressively completed pack-raft expeditions on six continents. Brad joins us today to talk about a recent collaboration with Wells Fargo to preserve 143 acres in the Eklutna community in Alaska. Thanks and welcome, Brad! – DJK
Once the largest Native settlements in southcentral Alaska, Eklutna was physically and culturally fragmented by a railroad, a highway, a granite quarry and dams that ended salmon runs on its rivers. The community endured through these challenges and is now turning the corner to restore a key area for the benefit of both their environment and culture.
Wells Fargo and The Conservation Fund are working together to protect and preserve a historically significant site for the Dena’ina Athabascan people who call Eklutna home. Last month, Wells Fargo donated a 143-acre property that forms the heart of Dena’ina ancestral lands to The Conservation Fund. The property has numerous archeological sites, important wetlands and spectacular vistas of Knik Arm and the Chugach Mountains. The Conservation Fund, a national land trust, will protect the property through a permanent conservation easement.
The Conservation Fund has worked with Native peoples in Alaska and across the country to help strengthen and preserve connections to ancestral lands and enhance access to vital natural resources. We are honored to be part of a new relationship with Wells Fargo and the Native Village of Eklutna to bring about positive impacts for both the environment and the Dena’ina people that will endure for many generations.
The land donation was celebrated during the Native Village of Eklutna’s biennial potlatch on June 8. An Athabascan dance group honored Wells Fargo with a special song and dance as an eagle flew overhead – signifying a special blessing for the land.
We are so excited to work with Wells Fargo and look forward to more opportunities to work with organizations and individuals toward a more sustainable and vibrant future.