On behalf of the staff and board of Alaska Wilderness League, I was thrilled last week to congratulate our board member Lorraine Netro on winning the Glen Davis Conservation Leadership Prize.
The prize has been a part of a five-year joint project between the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) of Canada and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS). (Read more about the award and its presentation to Lorraine here.)
Lorraine was born and raised in Old Crow, Yukon, Canada, and was taught the traditional values of the Vuntut Gwitchin by her late mother, Mary Netro. For decades now, Lorraine has been a tireless advocate for her people and for the protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and its coastal plain.
Lorraine has served on several boards including the Porcupine Caribou Management Board and the Gwich’in Council International (as well as on our own League board) and has spent countless hours traveling to Washington, D.C. and around the country to tell the story of the Gwich’in people and the inextricable link of the Porcupine caribou herd to the Gwich’in way of life.
Throughout the years, advocates and supporters from all over the country and the world have learned from Lorraine, been inspired by Lorraine, and have been called to action as a result of her words. She truly embodies the strength and goodness of the Gwich’in people and has taught so many of us what it means to do this work with determination, grace, and always in a good way.
We were so happy to see her recognized for her years of work and we are so grateful for all she has taught us — and that we are lucky enough to call her a colleague and friend. We will continue to walk with her in the fight until the Arctic Refuge is protected once and for all.