Bryn McElroy, Executive Director
Bryn was raised in Delta Junction. She spent her childhood summers at fish camp along the Chitna River, or playing in the glacier fed Delta River, and her winters taking the family sled dogs out for a ride. While in high school her family moved to North Pole, where she attended and graduated Lathrop High School as a varsity member of the rifle team. She won a gold medal at the 1992 Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse, Canada. After starting a family, Bryn moved to Valdez for a few years while working at the Visitor Center and attending the local community college. However, she missed Interior Alaska so much that she moved back, and currently lives with her family in a “fixer upper” cabin on the Chena River. Life on the river has taught Bryn to appreciate how important the watershed is to everyone in, on and around it.
Jewelz Barker, Community Liaison
Born and raised in Fairbanks, Jewelz graduated from Lathrop High School and traveled internationally before earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, emphasis in Public Relations. She worked in Memphis, TN for the Riverfront Development Corporation. Returning to Fairbanks in 2006, she worked at the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce and served as their CEO until 2008 when she began a consulting business specializing in Non-Profit management and Small Business development. In 2010 she earned her IOM certification from the US Chamber’s Institute on Management program. She brings to the job strong community ties, a passion for organizational development and a vision to unite watersheds of Interior Alaska’s communities.
Audra Ashby, Science Director
Audra earned her BA with a concentration in biology from Indiana University in 2013 and enjoys assisting others learn about, and hopefully become interested in, helping the environment – from collecting garbage on a weekend to researching a sustainable energy source to helping plot the spread of invasive species. Audra was born and raised in southern Idaho, but Alaska – though she has been here only a short time - has quickly become home. Audra shares a pottery studio with her husband where she spends a good portion of her hobby time.
Jenna Hertz, Programs Director
A child of the Great Lakes State, it was always Jenna’s dream to live on the water. Obsessed with river environments, she currently splits her time between two water-bodies; a dry cabin on Goldstream Creek and primitive homestead on the Tanana River. She holds a BA in history and American Studies from Kalamazoo College and also studied at the Institute for Sustainable Development Studies International in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Committed to the Fairbanks community and youth outdoor education, she serves on the board of the Folk School, Camp Habitat and Alaska Youth for Environmental Action. She entertains five dogs, dabbles in herbalism, and strives to sleep outside more than inside.
Laura Minski - Program Manager
Laura moved up to Alaska after graduating from the University of Wisconsin - Madison with a BS in landscape architecture, and has been in love with the magnificent landscapes and people of this state since then. She spent nine years working and playing in Anchorage before moving to Fairbanks in 2012. Her professional time is divided between work at TVWA and practicing as a landscape architect for Corvus Design. She has managed and designed many projects around the state for Corvus Design including the Herman Leirer Multi-modal Trail in Seward with the National Park Service, the UAF Trails and Greenways Masterplan, Harborview Elementary School in Juneau, and the Pullen Creek StreamWalk and interpretive signage in Skagway. During her personal time, she is happy to talk your ear off about site design, dogs, gardens, bees, and bike touring.
Susan Port - Curriculum Coordinator
Susan was born in San Jose CA, her family moved a lot and she lived in 13 different sates before she graduated high school in Mission SD. She spent most of her childhood camping, fishing and hiking while traveling across the country. Earning a BS in Environmental Science with a minor in Fish and Wildlife Management. Susan has engaged with youth her entire carrier, she strongly feels that connecting our youth with science, nature and the environment is the best way to create future environmental stewards. She facilitated programs for the 'Green Earth Gang' while working for the Martin Nature Park in Oklahoma. Susan moved to Alaska with her family through the Air Force and joined TVWA's staff in 2012. She worked with volunteers engaging them in the Chena Salmon Citizen Science and Adopt a Stream programs. She also worked with youth groups to teach, water quality, riparian care, habitat, salmon life cycle and invasive species. Susan writes various environmental curriculum for TVWA.