Stephanie Quinn-Davidson |Anchorage
Fisheries Scientist, Director of the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission
“I like that systems change (as an approach to Alaska’s salmon issues) acknowledges the complexity, rather than run away from it. I believe that, in appreciating the complexities, we afford ourselves the whole picture that helps lead to innovation. I also am really interested in the idea that you need to bring people together from all sectors and have them work together to find the connections that bind them, no matter how disparate they may seem on the surface. If we can find those interconnections, we can build from it and use them as our starting point for the conversation. I believe these two components, especially, can have a positive influence on Alaska's salmon and people. We have a complex system of regulations, environments and geographies, life histories, users, and political boundaries at play with our salmon systems in Alaska, and as a result, have a very diverse group of salmon people. I do not believe we can tackle Alaska's salmon issues without embracing both.”
Stephanie Quinn-Davidson’s western education and training includes a Ph.D. in Limnology from UW-Madison, three years of teaching at St. Olaf College in Minnesota in the Environmental Studies and Biology Departments, four years working for Alaska Department of Fish and Game as a research biologist and then fishery manager on the Yukon River, and her current role as the Director of the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission.
Quinn-Davidson’s traditional education and training comes from growing up hunting and fishing with her family in rural Wisconsin, three summers of interviewing Menominee Indian elders and hunters for an anthropology project, and time spent with Alaska Native fishermen on the river and in their communities learning about salmon and their salmon lives.
In her role as a primary sponsor for the Stand for Salmon ballot initiative, Quinn-Davidson has been having some difficult conversations regarding Alaska's habitat laws and protections for salmon systems. She represents rural tribes that need economic security and infrastructure improvements in their areas, which has led to discussions of how to balance much needed development projects with long-term sustainability of their salmon resources.
While she has worked on the Yukon River her entire career in Alaska and could certainly bring a Yukon-focused perspective to the cohort, Quinn-Davidson believes she has more to offer beyond the Yukon. She has built a career more broadly on bridging groups: state and tribes, upriver and downriver, tribes and conservation groups, academia and government agencies, U.S. and Canada, traditional knowledge and western knowledge, commercial and subsistence. She strives to approach the issues by trying to see all sides and is excited to share that bridging perspective and experience with the Fellows cohort.