Geoff's farewell means "see you around"
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Geoff’s farewell means “see you around”

By Geoff Toy

When I accepted the fellow position at Trustees, it was November in Atlanta and still 75 degrees. I remember thinking I’m not sure if I’m cut out for Alaska, but it’ll at least be a two-year adventure. I was prepared for the winter to be cold, but I wasn’t prepared for how beautiful it would be.

Geoff riding the ferry to Alaska, courtesy of Geoff

The first time we saw the Northern Lights, my wife and I said “well, we can’t move away from this.” Now, two years since moving to Alaska, I’m moving on from Trustees, but staying in Anchorage. I didn’t know how much coming to Trustees would change my life, but I’ll always be thankful for giving Alaska a chance.

Food, health, justice and the land

When I arrived, I wasn’t very informed about Alaskan issues, but after working at Trustees I firmly believe that Alaska is the best place to be an environmental lawyer. The issues Trustees works on are on the front lines of environmental justice, public health, subsistence, wildlife and wilderness conservation, and the struggle against climate change. Moreover, the environmental issues Trustees works on show how in Alaska, perhaps more than anywhere else, these issues are interconnected.

Aurora and big dipper, captured by Geoff

It can be easy to feel pigeonholed as a lawyer, where you work on one issue without considering the bigger picture. Trustees’ attorneys do an amazing job at situating the issues we work on in a larger context. It helps that Trustees has been working on these issues for decades and has a wealth of experience and institutional knowledge to draw on.

As I transition to a new role with the Alaska Federation of Natives, I will be bringing so much from Trustees—not just improved legal research and writing skills, but also team- and coalition-based work skills, and so much more knowledge of and appreciation for the ecological and cultural landscapes that make Alaska unique.

Geoff and family in Denali NP&P, September 2023