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Alexander Deedy

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Pickled veggies. Photo courtesy Foundroot. Leah Wagner and Nick Schlosstein are a husband and wife team who run Foundroot, an online business selling seeds proven for Alaskan growing conditions that are open-pollinated, which allows for home gardeners to save their own seeds. Foundroot sources most of its seeds from farms and other ethical companies in the U.S., and in 2017 they started a small farm in Haines where they grow seeds and produce for the local market. Foundroot has sent more than 16,000 seed packets to over 65 Alaskan communities and throughout the Lower 48. What does Foundroot mean? Leah: We were playing with a bunch of different ideas for the name when we started. Ultimately, we felt like we found the root of the food security problem, and also the root of the solution. In breeding those seeds we found the ability to really do something beyond meeting basic…

Biologist David Scheel with the day octopus he raised in his living room. Photo courtesy Passion Planet Ltd/Ernie Kovacs. David Scheel is a professor of marine biology at Alaska Pacific University, and he’s been studying octopuses for more than 25 years. Recently, he put an aquarium in his living room and raised a pet octopus that the family named Heidi. In 2019, PBS released the documentary Octopus: Making Contact, which chronicled the interactions in the Scheel household as the family observed and bonded with Heidi. As told to and edited by Alexander Deedy How did you first get interested in octopuses and why are they a fascinating creature for you? Well, I’ve always liked octopuses. What’s not to like, right? They’re kind of inherently interesting creatures. I have also spent time studying African lions, bats, rodents, killer whales, seals, seabirds, and crabs, among other animals. They’ve all been interesting. Over…

Chuck Miller in episode 16 of the 14 Miles project. Courtesy 14 Miles. Despite how they might be labeled, people living in rural America lead complex lives and develop dynamic communities. The documentary project 14 Miles is a series of short three- to five-minute videos that aim to shine a light on some overlooked stories in the remote community of Sitka, which takes up a roughly 14-mile stretch of land in Southeast. The 37 videos in the project’s library include a profile of a young woman’s past trauma, a behind-the-scenes look at the town thrift store, and a snapshot of community gatherings. “It’s about what we celebrate and care about living in a small Alaska community, but it’s also about the challenges,” says Ellen Frankenstein, who led the project. The episodes are available on 14miles.org and through video streaming platforms including Vimeo and YouTube.

Jon Devore catches air during the filming of The Unrideables: Alaska Range in the Tordrillo Mountains. Scott Serfas/Red Bull Content Pool Jon DeVore has one of the most adventurous jobs possible. He’s been aerial coordinator and manager of the Red Bull Air Force for the last 17 years. Basically, he skydives and coordinates stunts for a living. DeVore was born in Colorado but grew up in Juneau after his parents moved there when he was a baby, a move that DeVore says he thanks his parents for every time they talk. “I think it shaped who I turned into,” he says. DeVore kept busy with many of the standard northern sports like skiing, snowmobiling and rock climbing. But he didn’t stop there. “I guess if you asked anyone who knew me, I was always seeking the adventure and adrenaline side of things,” he says. As a high schooler, DeVore and…

Jesika Reimer, Assistant Zoologist at UAA’s Alaska Center for Conservation Science (ACCS), retrieves a Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus) from a mist net so it can be banded and radio tagged on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) near Anchorage, Alaska. Photo by James R. Evans/University of Alaska Anchorage. Until recently, not much was known about bat populations in Alaska. In 2016, white nose syndrome, the disease that is decimating bat populations mostly in the eastern continental United States and Canada, made a jump west and was discovered in Washington. “With this fungus spreading it means people are more interested, and funding agencies are more interested, in finding out about the little brown bat. Especially in somewhere like Alaska where we didn’t know a lot,” says Jesika Reimer, an Alaska-based biologist whose research is focused on bats. For a long time, people thought bats migrated outside of Alaska for winter hibernation. Based…