Meet Our New Americorps VISTA Member!

Arianna Lapke is serving as an Americorps VISTA with the Hoonah Indian Association Environmental Program and the American Indian Higher Education Consortium. The Americorps VISTA program stands for “Volunteers in Service to America”, and is part of a national service program to alleviate poverty. Her job is to assist ongoing natural resources management projects, including the Hoonah Traditional Food Fair, our coastal resources SCUBA survey, and social media.

What’s your favorite thing about Alaska so far?

Definitely all the wildlife. I’ve seen orcas, whales, eagles, bears and so many deer. Just being surrounded by all the opportunities to go out and hunt and fish is awesome. The people are really nice too!

What is your favorite food?

Depends on the day but meatloaf. I love any kind of tacos, also anything barbecues flavored, including chips.

Why did you choose Hoonah?

Since graduation, I want to help people acknowledge their impact on the environment. I think Hoonah is a great place to learn about how to do this. People here know so much about the land and I want to learn. I want to help educate other people acknowledge their role in environmental change.

Where’s home for you?

I am originally from Everett, Washington. Most recently I lived in Bellingham, WA, where I studied at Western Washington University.

Favorite animal?

“I don’t know if I can choose just one, there are so many cool animals out there. I can’t pick just one. But I love dogs.”

What are you most excited to do?

I really want to learn more about subsistence lifestyles. I am really looking forward to building relationships in the community and working on projects that help give back.

What did you study in college and what was your favorite class?

I studied environmental policy in college. My favorite course that I took was a course called Science in the Policy Process. I learned that we can’t just use science when we are making laws and policies, we have to have be considerate of different values and beliefs when we make rules that apply to everyone. I also really liked my environmental governance class, and my environmental impact assessment class where we studied the impacts of different land uses on the environment.

Where is your favorite place you have traveled?

Peru! We started in Cusco and went down to 3 different biological stations, Pillcopata, and Manu National Park in the Amazon basin. We were also up in the Andean Cloud Forest.  It is completely different than I am used to. I saw so many different birds, caiman, jaguars, and capybara. And the food was awesome!

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