Organizer Academy

2016 Organizer Academy – Mat-Su

Are you ready to lead? 

iStock_000009676229_crop for webThen the Organizer Academy is for you! If you’re ready to take your involvement to the next level and work on a pressing conservation issue in your community, we can give you the skills to make a difference.

Alaska Center for the Environment’s Mat-Su Organizer Academy combines workshops with on the ground action opportunities to practice your new skills and advocate for conservation issues in the Mat Su borough and beyond. Throughout the 4 week academy participants will learn through a combination of role-playing, small group exercises and skill sessions.


When & Where:

Classroom sessions will take lace at the community room in the downstairs of the at the Annex (247 S. Alaska Street in Palmer). Some activities will be held at other locations, full schedule to be shared once program begins.

April 10:  Kick Off — What is organizing and how to build power

April 17:  Event planning and phone banking

April 24:  Participants host Telluride Mountain Film Festival

May 1:  Developing relationships and team building

May 8:  Wrap Up — Skills training and debrief

May 15:  Final Event and Graduation

Who should apply?

  • DSC_0141 Trainees should be passionate about a local or statewide conservation issue that impacts them in the Mat-Su Valley and willing to apply the principles and skills learned through the academy back to their local community.
  • Trainees must commit to participating every week for the 4 week series.  Childcare will be provided on-site if needed.  Due to the variable winter weather during this time and long driving distance within the Mat-Su we are happy to offer this training via a live web streaming option as well.
  • We hope to have a mixed group, with people from different areas of the Matanuska Susitna Borough, different backgrounds, students, young professionals, stay-at-home parents, mid-career adults, and retirees.
  • Information will be provided for you to learn more about ACE’s priority issues in the Mat-Su and statewide. However, you must be committed to advocating for Alaska’s wild salmon, healthy sustainable communities, and clean energy – and interested and willing to learn more about these issues.


What will we learn?

Training will cover topics such as: recruiting volunteers, tabling, canvassing (phone and door), communicating with people who disagree, event planning, and more!

How much does it cost?

$50 registration fee to cover supplies, payable after you are accepted to the program.


If unable to pay fee, scholarships are available. Scholarship recipients are required to volunteer three additional hours throughout the program.

Contact Mat Su Organizer Amy O’Connor at or (907) 793-8640.



2014 Anchorage Organizer Academy Recap

Back: Andrew Steinkruger, Guthrie Worthington, Brittany Hales, Kat Ousley, Mike Cox; Front: Kelsi Swenson (coordinator), Matt McGimsey, Maia Wen, Enetta Walker, Paula Sayler; Not Pictured: Gretchyn O’Donnell

Back: Andrew Steinkruger, Guthrie Worthington, Brittany Hales, Kat Ousley, Mike Cox; Front: Kelsi Swenson (coordinator), Matt McGimsey, Maia Wen, Enetta Walker, Paula Sayler; Not Pictured: Gretchyn O’Donnell

Even with the critically important environmental issues we work on, it takes a heavy lift to make change. ACE relies on volunteers to make the difference, and we are lucky to have talented organizers stepping up to the plate. To provide training and support, and recognize the hard work of our emerging leaders, we implemented our first ever ACE Organizer Academy in June. This six week program is built on taking volunteer engagement to the next level. The diverse group of participants met once a week for hands on training to learn the skills needed to lead a campaign, and then took their new skills into the field to advocate for wild salmon.

kelsi volunteer

ACE Organizer Kelsi and Organizer Academy graduate Enetta Walker at the Fairview Block Party

Each participant was required to complete 12 volunteer hours throughout the session – and many had doubled the amount of required time by the end of the program – which is a combined 280+ hours of volunteer and training time over six weeks! For the end of academy culminating project, participants planned and coordinated a private DamNation film screening for friends and families. At the event they shared their work and collected Susitna Salmon Pledges and Pebble Postcards.

The program wrapped up in late July with 10 graduates! These new ACE-certified organizers are already putting their new skills to use. Several are working with ACE to drive comments to the EPA in support of protecting Bristol Bay, and others are bringing their new tools back to their organizations. The success of this pilot program and the valuable feedback from the participants will help us shape the next session, stay tuned for more information on the 2015 ACE Organizer Academy.