Unalaska students Cade Terada and Carter Price are working towards protecting the Alaskan environment for future generations.
The two juniors are members of the Arctic Youth Ambassadors program, which brings together high schoolers from around the state to discuss and learn about environmental issues.
Arctic Youth Ambassadors is a program run by the U.S. State Department, the federal Fish and Wildlife Service, and Alaska Geographic, a non-profit that partners with the state's parks, refuges and forests.
"I decided to join because my family is essentially based on the fishing community here, and I wanted to speak on behalf of them, and speak on behalf of my state," Terada said.
The first meeting of the program's participants occurred in January, with young ambassadors from around the state meeting up in Anchorage. That first gathering was focused on discussing issues from each of the students’ hometowns to gain perspective on the state’s situation. They also began to outline their goals for the year.
"What we hope to do in the future is raise awareness for issues in the arctic, and all across our state, which is why there is 22 of us, coming from 16 different communities," Terada said.
Both Unalaska students said they enjoyed their first taste of being part of the program.
"I'm really glad I met these people, I met people from Kaktovik, Barrow, Toksook Bay... all across the state. I feel cultured because they'd sing and play their drums and it's really inspiring, I liked it a lot," Price said.
"I found it really inspiring to meet people from all across the state and see how large and diverse we are as a state," Terada said.
This week Terada is attending another Arctic Youth Ambassadors' meeting in Fairbanks to raise more awareness about their goals. He's there alongside over 1000 Arctic scientists, policymakers and officials - from 30 different countries - for Arctic Science Summit Week. The Arctic Council, a multinational governmental forum created to address the Arctic’s pressing issues, will meet during the summit week. The United States is current serving as the chairman of the Council, which paved the way for the creation of the Arctic Youth Ambassadors program in which Terada and Price are participating.
Eventually, the ambassadors hope to travel to Washington, D.C. to learn more about they can more effectively serve their causes. Price says that they’re willing to highlight and pass along ideas and suggestions from Unalaska residents.
"If you see one of us anywhere around town, just stop by, holler at us, let us know your opinion on the community or anything, just let us know," Price said.