‘Preserving Alaska’s Wilderness’ March 22

Kim Novick, Great Lakes organizer for the Alaska Coalition, will be the special guest at the Sierra Club Blackhawk public meeting at 7:30 p.m., Monday, March 22, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4848 Turner St., Rockford.

The topic will be “Preserving Alaska’s Wilderness.” Novick works with the Alaska Coalition, consisting of more than 800 environmental, service and religious groups across the country committed to protecting the wild places in Alaska. Alaska has the world’s largest temperate rainforest, most lying within the 22 million acres of the Tongass and Chugach National Forests.

The Tongass is home to the world’s largest concentration of bald eagles, plus Sitka spruce and Western hemlock trees. The Chugach has the Copper River Delta, where 16 million shorebirds stop annually during migration. The Chugach is more than 98 percent roadless, yet not one acre has been designated wilderness. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is home to more than 180 species of birds, plus polar bears, musk oxen, wolves, moose, Arctic fox and caribou. America’s last wild lands are being threatened by recent administration policies focused on commercial logging of old-growth trees and oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge.

Novick will present a slide show as part of her program. The program takes place two days before the anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and she will have a review of the long-term consequences. A question and answer period will follow Novick’s presentation.

The program is free and open to the public. Info: 964-7111.

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