ACRC convenes stakeholders for strategic visioning session
On September 29, over 30 stakeholders as well as current and former leadership, staff, and researchers met virtually to envision the future of the University of Alaska Southeast’s Alaska Coastal Rainforest Center. The session included an overview from former Director and now affiliate faculty member Allison Bidlack, followed by discussion groups to gather input on ACRC’s research priorities, organizational structure, and metrics for success.
During her presentation, Bidlack reviewed ACRC’s trajectory from a small initiative to a thriving organization with research faculty, postdoctoral researchers, technicians, and support staff. Our annual budget has increased fourfold since 2009, with almost 70% now coming from competitive grants. This growth reflects in part regional and global interest in this ecosystem: given its unique characteristics, the Pacific Coastal Temperate Rainforest is currently the focus of many new research initiatives and projects, many of which concern aspects of climate change, natural resource management, and ecosystem ecology.
Participants provided constructive input on how ACRC can build on existing collaborations and partnerships, maintain a stable funding base, and better integrate with the regional communities, especially Alaska Native organizations. Their ideas will help guide interim Co-Directors Jason Fellman and Tom Thornton in decision-making for the future of ACRC.
“ACRC relies on partnerships and this was a valuable chance to engage them. We look forward to building on and expanding our collaborations, and to better supporting Southeast Alaska’s coastal science needs,” said Fellman. Thornton added, “The success of ACRC derives in no small part from its broad support and a clear mission. We appreciate all those who participated in this important strategic visioning session, which has given us clear direction for the future.”
In the coming weeks, ACRC will summarize the feedback from the session and strategize a path forward. Sign up for our newsletter to stay informed, or get in touch with us to discuss collaborations and opportunities.