An August farewell
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An August farewell

By Mackenzie Pope

Summer solstice post-midnight sun. Photo by Mackenzie Boyd.

I worked for Trustees for nine months in 2022 doing digital communications work. I didn’t leave because it wasn’t an amazing place to work—it absolutely is an amazing work environment—but because sometimes the right opportunities come along at the wrong time.

Let’s start with my leaving. I’ve never put in my two weeks’ notice, and I felt scared and nervous about doing it. How those conversations went only made me sadder that this new opportunity in my life had come up. Every single person was kind and congratulatory, making my departure all the more bittersweet.

I’ve grown as a person and a professional through my work at Trustees. I respect and appreciate every single person on staff. The organization emphasizes clear communication, personal/professional growth, and thoughtful work.

I learned so much about proposed projects across Alaska and how the approval process works– or doesn’t work. I gained a ton of knowledge about the history of Alaska and the efforts to protect its lands and waters. I endlessly found out new facts and stories about wildlife, mountains, and plants, and now know the names of places I’ve added to my (already too long) bucket list.

So much of what I do next will be inspired and informed by the work and people at Trustees.

Mackenzie enjoyed working with our most litigious attorneys. Photo by Mackenzie Pope.
Hatti overseeing the work. Photo by Mackenzie Pope.

Beyond the everyday work I did in translating legal-ese into something that fits into a tweet, I benefited from working with coalitions of organizations and people doing this work alongside Trustees. I’d never understood how this work gets done and now with a look behind the curtain.  I feel so grateful for how many smart, compassionate people want to make sure Alaskans get the future we deserve.

I found inspiration, too, from the staff at Trustees who took amazing adventures to all corners of Alaska and moved through terrain I didn’t even know existed. Some of these folks have or are raising Alaska kids with the same grit and passion for protecting lands from overreach and irresponsible industrialization. Taking care of a family and doing work that’s all about taking care of Alaska’s land, water, animals, and communities is hard work, but these folks made the balancing act look and feel easy.

As I head into my next adventure, I will take the skills and wisdom I gained from these fine folks with me, and I’ll do so with immense gratitude. I look forward to reading my trusty Trustees newsletter every month and cheering Trustees on, no matter where I go.

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