Environmental Owl

Gabriel in Alaska.JPG

KSU Alum Allyssa Gabriel Tackles the Great White North KSU Alum Allyssa Gabriel, Geography ‘…

Georgia (Aug 19, 2010)

KSU Alum Allyssa Gabriel Tackles the Great White North

KSU Alum Allyssa Gabriel, Geography ‘09, is a true conservationist. Determined to reduce her carbon footprint, Gabriel lives in a dry cabin, with no running water or indoor plumbing in Fairbanks, Alaska. While the idea is not uncommon for that part of the country, where temperatures can dip to 40 degrees below zero, often freezing indoor pipes in the intense conditions, it did raise a few eyebrows.

“I use an outhouse and take showers at the gym. It really makes you appreciate your resources, she laughs. “My family in Georgia thinks I’m crazy, but I love it up here.”
Gabriel has been living in Alaska for the past year where she has been working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “I traveled to Fairbanks in the summer of 2008, and I knew when I graduated that I wanted to move there because I loved it.”
After graduation Gabriel worked with the Student Conservation Association, a nonprofit organization which provides college and high school students with hands-on conservation service opportunities. She landed an internship with the USFWS as a greening coordinator. She spent six months building a recycling and energy efficiency program for the Arctic, Kanuti and Yukon Flat refuges, all headquartered in Fairbanks. “It was so troubling to go through the trash and see so many things that could be recycled like paper, aluminum and tons of plastic water bottles.”
Gabriel tirelessly researched new recycling programs, placed collection bins in key locations around the federal building and delivered collected materials to nearby recycling centers. She compiled data on waste prevention, green purchasing and other sustainability practices. In the program’s first month, more than 1,100 pounds of materials were delivered to local centers for recycling.
She even volunteered to ride a bicycle to work rather than riding the city bus. Her idea prompted refuge managers to purchase a fleet of “green” bicycles for staff and volunteers to use during their workday.
Gabriel’s managers recognized her passion for conservation and sustainability and turned this intern into a full-time employee as a refuge clerk and greening coordinator, which allowed her to use the knowledge she gained at KSU to assist biologists with field work.
“I have been helping with aerial surveys and radio telemetry to track moose migration within the Kanuti Refuge,” she said. “We’re checking to see if the population is healthy because nearby villages heavily depend on moose for subsistence purposes.”
Gabriel plans to continue her studies this fall in natural resources management as a graduate student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  

- Natalie Godwin


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