Alaska Regional Office: Meet Our Staff

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Jim Stratton, Deputy VP Regional Operations
Jim Stratton is the Alaska Senior Regional Director for the National Parks Conservation Association, a position he has held since December 2002.  Prior to joining NPCA, Jim spent eight years as the director of the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation for the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and 11 years as the Program & Finance Director for Alaska Conservation Foundation.  He started his Alaska conservation career in 1981 as the Executive Director of the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council.  Jim is a founding board member of Training Resources for the Environmental Community (TREC) and was the founding Board Chair of Alaska Community Share, Alaska’s first statewide alternative workplace giving organization. He is currently Board Chair of the Great Land Trust. When not working or volunteering for conservation efforts, he produces and hosts the Arctic Cactus Hour, a weekly public radio program (music, not talk) on Anchorage’s KNBA.  He also likes to fly fish, is into birding, and with his wife Colleen Burgh, travel to wild and exotic places, especially those that provide a stamp for his National Park Passport.   Jim holds a degree in Recreation and Parks Management from the University of Oregon and an MBA from Alaska Pacific University.


Joan Pascale Frankevich, Program Manager 
NPCA's Alaska Regional Office is fortunate to have benefited from the skills and talents of Joan Frankevich for over 15 years. Her work primarily focuses on resource protection issues facing Denali, Gates of the Arctic, Katmai, and Glacier Bay National Parks. Additionally, she is an active member of the Denali Aircraft Overflights Advisory Council working to restore natural quiet to Denali. Joan brings over 20 years experience working in environmental advocacy, outdoor education, and the Alaska tourism industry.  Prior to joining NPCA, she was a park ranger in Denali and Sequoia National Parks, a naturalist for the Chugach and Tongass National Forests, and an educator at children’s science museums in Anchorage and California. Joan first came to Alaska in 1983 for a summer job in Denali National Park, only to return for the next five summers, eventually making Alaska her permanent home in 1991.  Her first winter in Alaska was spent helping care for 30 sled dogs at the kennel in Denali.  She learned to mush that winter and had the unique opportunity to travel hundreds of miles through Denali via dogsled. Growing up, Joan’s summer vacations were spent visiting and camping in national parks throughout the country with her family.  These experiences undoubtedly inspired her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Conservation from the University of Colorado, as well as further graduate work in Natural Resource Management at the University of Idaho.  The family trips also motivated her to keep the tradition alive: her daughter, Emma, first visited Denali National Park when she was three years old, the same age Joan visited her first national park!  Joan currently lives in Girdwood, Alaska with her family and two sled dogs.


Melissa Blair, Associate Director
Melissa Blair joined NPCA in Spring 2007. A native Texan, Melissa considers herself extremely fortunate to have enjoyed working, playing and traveling throughout Alaska since 2001. Katmai, Kenai Fjords, Wrangell-St. Elias, and Lake Clark national parks are some of her favorite destinations. While pursuing a degree in Geography (specializing in Natural Resource Management) at the University of Texas at Austin, Melissa spent breaks backpacking throughout Big Bend National Park and along the Padre Island National Seashore. Following graduation, Melissa completed a yearlong internship with the National Park Service at the Mojave National Preserve in the California desert where she investigated hazardous material and safety concerns at 25 abandoned mines within the preserve. Thanks to a long-term internship with the Bureau of Land Management in Alaska, Melissa explored millions of acres of public lands in search of unique and remarkable rivers worthy of being designated into the National Wild and Scenic River System. She also assisted in projects managing commercial recreation on the Iditarod National Historic Trail, including the famous Iditarod Sled Dog Race. In 2005, Melissa joined the Alaska Coalition where she engaged with Alaska Natives, sporting groups, and commercial fishermen in a strong campaign to raise awareness about potential threats to the pristine fisheries and headwaters of southwest Alaska's Bristol Bay from large-scale hard rock mining proposals which, if permitted, could create an industrial mining district only miles from the borders of Lake Clark and Katmai National Parks and Preserves.


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