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Mary Glaves - Tern Festival Coordinator, YNS Secretary

Mary grew up in upstate New York, has a BA in psychology from SUNY Binghamton and is completing her Master's in Public Administration from the University of Alaska Southeast. Mary first came to Alaska at age seven on a trip with her grandmother. In the fall of 2016, over 20 years later, she returned to work in Yakutat as an SCA intern with the U.S. Forest Service. Since then, Mary has made Alaska her home. She took on the role as the Yakutat Tern Festival Coordinator in 2017 and is growing in her knowledge of birding and building a nonprofit. Being able to remain a part of the Yakutat community in this role has been immensely rewarding. Mary visits Yakutat as often as she can from Juneau, where she currently resides. 

Susan Oehlers - YNS President and one of the founders of the Yakutat Tern Festival

Susan grew up in Minnesota, and has a bachelor’s of science degree from the University of Minnesota and a Master’s Degree in wildlife biology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Susan has worked with a wide variety of animals and birds, including wolves, moose, brown bears, small mammals, spotted owls, songbirds, Canada geese, and terns.  Susan is currently the wildlife biologist for the Yakutat Ranger District of the Tongass National Forest, and is involved in the Yakutat-based Aleutian tern research.  Susan enjoys learning more about birds and sharing her knowledge with local students.

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Sarah Israelson - Youth Program Lead and YNS Board Member

Sarah is the 5th and 6th grades teacher at Yakutat Elementary School. She is originally from South Florida and attended Florida State University to earn her degree in Elementary Education. She came to Yakutat in 2009 as an AmeriCorps volunteer for the school. After 2 years of service, she found a full time job at the school and met her future husband. She has been a part of the Yakutat Tern Festival since the first year when she designed the festival's program and was a tour driver. She has helped out in many different areas ever since.

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Nicole Hebel - Tern Fest Volunteer

Nicole grew up in Illinois before obtaining degrees in Environmental Studies, Creative Writing, and Journalism at Beloit College in Wisconsin. Following her college education, a love of all things outdoors led her to AmeriCorps internships with the Student Conservation Association. Nicole spent two incredible summers in Wyoming, working at Fort Laramie National Historic Site (2020), and at Medicine Wheel National Historic Site in Bighorn National Forest (2021). In the fall of 2021, Nicole accepted a third internship in Yakutat, Alaska, where she spent a year working with the U.S. Forest Service on the Yakutat Ranger District. At the end of her service, finding herself with unfulfilled Yakutat adventures and an increasing interest in Natural Resources, Nicole accepted a position with the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe as an Environmental Technician. Nicole enjoys volunteering her time with Tern Fest, where she designs the Wildman Route, contributes to website design and maintenance, and formulates ideas for activities and events.


Teresa Swanson - YNS Vice President and past youth activity coordinator

Teresa has lived in Alaska most of her life, but grad school and a fisheries biology career drew her away to study fish in the Grand Canyon and Yellow Stone National Park.  While her earliest jobs were associated with the commercial salmon industry, most of her work experience has been studying fish in Wyoming, Arizona, and Alaska. Teresa’s outdoor experiences and growing up in Alaska, have shaped her recreational and biological points of views. She has worked for the U.S. Forest Service as a Fisheries Technician on the Chugach National Forest, and currently she works for the Tongass National Forest as a Resource Assistant on the Yakutat Ranger District.  Teresa is busily expanding her skills and interests to include birding!

Krista Mahan - Tern Festival Assistant Coordinator

Krista has been working in Yakutat with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) since 2019 and is passionate about wildlife and the outdoors. She volunteered her time during the Yakutat Tern Festival in 2022 and fell in love with terns. Krista has a Bachelor's degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Management and is excited to join the Tern Festival team as the Assistant Coordinator and apply her skills and knowledge to the planning and growth of the festival. Krista conducts outreach in and beyond the community of Yakutat.

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