This month, we meet Carla Stanley. Carla was first appointed to the CIRCAC Board of Directors in 2004 representing the city of Homer.
As a retired science teacher, Carla takes particular interest in the environmental science work we do and has, among other roles, been a member of our scholarship selection committee since its inception in 2015.
“We need to do everything we can to help kids,” Carla says. She remembers her first teaching job in Colorado, where many of her students were immigrants from working class families. It was a diversity she was new to and embraced. “I wanted to help them see a brighter future beyond what they knew that could build on what they loved about the environment.”
Getting herself and her students outside has always been a priority for Carla, who earned an undergraduate degree in geography and earth sciences at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania. As an educator, she went on to develop and teach earth science courses – and many others including art, P.E. and anatomy and physiology. After moving with her husband, Wayne, to Soldotna in 1970 she taught at Soldotna Junior High. She soon secured a grant with help from another teacher to begin a marine sciences program on the Peninsula that put kids in the field learn about the sensitive and diverse environment of Cook Inlet. Those experiences and memories, Carla says, helped “make me who I am and are why I care about Cook Inlet.”
Following the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989, Carla volunteered through the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to help with cleanup efforts in Cook Inlet. Working from drift boats that were unable to fish, they would map and retrieve oil off the water. She also helped analyze caught salmon going through the canneries to look for signs of oil. She would continue seasonal work with Fish and Game for nine years.
Carla retired from teaching full time in 1998, at which point she and Wayne moved to Homer. There, she says she learned to love the ocean, making frequent trips to family property in Jakolof Bay.
Her service on the CIRCAC board began with being nominated by Daisy Lee Bitter to serve on the then-new Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve board of directors. However, founding CIRCAC board member Jim Hornaday, then the mayor of Homer, encouraged her to fill his spot with CIRCAC in 2004. “Being member of the board is a pretty big commitment,” Carla says. “But there is a great sense of camaraderie in working together.” She lists former board member Bob Shavelson and past board president Molly McCammon as mentors in the group.
Carla serves on the Environmental Monitoring and PROPS committees and, since its inception in 2015, she has served on CIRCAC’s Scholarship Selection committee. After the closure of oil storage and tanker facilities at the base of Mt. Redoubt, she says the scholarship program tops the list of accomplishments she’s been involved with as a board member.
She’s proud of the growth of the program and particularly in interest in the Barry Eldridge Memorial Scholarship for Maritime Studies. This scholarship is for students interested studying more trade-oriented programs like welding.
“We have to look at individual people, understand where they’re coming from,” Carla says. “Let us know what you care about and why you care about it.”
Thank you, Carla, for you continued support of Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council.