Alaska National Parks Social Media Team
Meet the Team
Have you ever wondered who's behind the initials in parenthesis after each and every post we share? Meet our social media team and the people who bring Alaska National Parks to you.
John Quinley has been with the National Park Service since 1988, all in the regional office public affairs post in Anchorage, Alaska. That may suggest a certain inability to move up in the organization, but in fact John loves Alaska and working with all of its NPS areas. A former newspaper journalist (sadly, a job description that would fill a large sports arena these days), he spends many of his hours writing about national parks, talking with journalists, analyzing legislation, and working with the tourism industry. Outside the office, you'll find him on trails in Anchorage with skis or a bike or a dog, or -- far too infrequently -- heading off for a national park visit.
Judy Kesler, an anthropologist turned web manager, joined the Park Service nearly 16 years ago. Judy‘s work supports the parks in Alaska so they may bring our stories to you. Her goal is move the NPS closer to the idea that your experiences on our websites are second only to actually being there in person.When Judy is not exploring the National Parks in this country, she is riding her motorcycle, hiking, cycling, or anything that lends itself to the adventure outdoors. She enjoys learning a new hobby every year (this year it‘s photography) and is slowly working towards the goal of visiting every park service unit in the country. She is not quite half way there…
Flying towards Gates of the Arctic NP a few summers ago, Morgan Warthin looked for a tiny blob of orange (a wildfire) amidst an unimaginably wide green and brown landscape. She wanted to share with local residents and park employees information about the wildfire however while searching she realized that she had no idea, not a clue, which way was north or south. The Alaskan landscape is so big and daunting it can fool with you, make you gulp, and beguile you into describing it. Morgan uses social media to paint an up close or high in the sky picture of Alaska national parks for those who love these places. Via social media she listens to and chats with others about all things Alaska. Coupled with being a member of the sassy social media team, she also is the Regional Wildland Fire Communication and Education Specialist.
Tonyua Abrom has lived in Alaska since 1964. Having survived the "Big '64 Earthquake", she describes making the most of life's experiences. "...There's always something to be learned from all experiences, both the good and the bad..." Tonyua began working for the DOI by way of the Alaska BLM, first as a staff assistant and then as their student intern program manager. Tonyua moved to the Alaska NPS as the regional EEO & diversity program manager. With 50+ years of Alaskan winters, it's no surprise to find out her hobby is exploring warm, sunny beach destinations. However, she says it still takes her breath away when visiting Alaska's beautiful mountain landscapes and "...the blue green water of the Kenai River still makes me speechless..." Working for the NPS, she's discovered a lot of great places to visit right here in the US. Her new hobby is to visit parks that help her learn more about her cultural history and heritage.
Darrell Lewis has lived in Alaska since 1978 and been with the National Park Service since 2001. As a Historian with the Cultural Resources Team Darrell coordinates Alaska's National History Day program and, as a member of the National Register Team, provides historic preservation technical assistance to the state's National Historic Landmark owners. A long term project has been providing support to an Anchorage friends group spearheading the restoration of Nike Site Summit, the Cold War era Nike Hercules missile site, east of Anchorage. His work on this project earned him the title of "Outdoor Historian" from a local media organization. Outside the office Darrell enjoys fishing and camping, snorkeling in tropical locations, travelling, brewing beer and wine, and cooking with his wife.
Stacia Backensto came to Alaska 12 years ago to work on her graduate degree at University of Alaska Fairbanks- Common Ravens on Alaska's North Slope. After chasing ravens around the Prudhoe Bay and Kuparuk oil fields for 4 years, she seized a professional opportunity with NPS to experience Alaska's "undeveloped" places and continue learning about arctic ecology in our northernmost national parks. As a wildlife biologist and outreach specialist for the Arctic Network Inventory and Monitoring Program (ARCN), she currently works on waterbird projects in Western Arctic Parklands and communicates science for ARCN to a wide-range of audiences. Outside of NPS, she enjoys zipping around on the trails riding her bike chasing Frida, her husky from Huslia.
Josh Spice came to Alaska to band & study gyrfalcons on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in southwest Alaska. Three years later he found himself in the Yukon River, surveying and boating past the peregrine falcon eyries, while working for Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. After boating, hiking, floating, mushing, flying, and working under the spell of the Yukon, he found an adventure base in Fairbanks, promoting recreation and enjoyment on all of Alaska's public lands for the Fairbanks Alaska Public Lands Information Center (FAPLIC). The Yukon has never let go of its grasp, however, as Josh still works double-duty for the preserve and FAPLIC. In the office, Josh aims to put the power of adventure in your hands and help instill the desire to explore through his photography of Alaska's wild places and sharing how to enjoy your own wild adventures in The Last Frontier. When he's not in the office, good luck finding him adventuring somewhere in Alaska's over 300 million acres of public lands!
Valerie Gomez moved up to Alaska from New Orleans in 2009 in an attempt to escape the heat. She is now permanently bundled up in knitwear. She is new to the National Park Service and is an Architectural Historian with the Cultural Resources Team. Valerie hopes to share her love of historic preservation and educate folks on the rich and diverse cultural resources in Alaska through social media. When not at work, she enjoys exploring, photography, crafting and snuggling with her four fur balls (2 dogs and 2 cats).
After working for the National Park Service for four years, Erin started her Alaskan adventures in 2006 working for the National Marine Mammal Laboratory. She spent many an hour living on remote, uninhabited islands in the Gulf of Alaska or zooming around the Aleutians in a Twin Otter looking for Steller sea lions. She continued her penchant for remote islands and completed a Master's degree in Wildlife Science studying northern fur seal females in the Pribilof Islands. Erin is a marine science communication specialist for the Ocean Alaska Science and Learning Center with the National Park Service. This center is one of many Research and Learning centers in the country, whose mission is to promote scientific research in the parks and to make these results available and understandable to multiple audiences. Outside of the office, Erin can be found chasing the sun wherever she can find it.