Meet the Team
Have you ever wondered who's behind the posts we share on Alaska National Park Service's social media? Meet our social media team and the people who bring Alaska National Parks to you.
This interdisciplinary team shares updates, stories, images, videos and more on the Alaska NPS Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and Flickr accounts. Follow along for a daily dose of beauty and an inside look into your Alaska National Parks!
Alaska National Parks Social Media Team
Judy Kesler, an anthropologist turned web and social media manager, joined the Park Service nearly 20 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 halfway there…
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).
Nina Chambers is new to the National Park Service, though she has spent her career working for the conservation of protected lands. Most recently, she was a science writer/editor for several NPS Inventory and Monitoring Networks in the Intermountain Region. Now she communicates science for the Alaska Regional Office and the Alaska Inventory and Monitoring Networks. Nina has a background in wildlife ecology, environmental communication, and a fascination with science. In her free time, Nina loves to explore beautiful places with her favorite companions, husband Stuart and Colter the dog.
Michael Downs works as park planner to help guide informed and insightful decision making for the future of the National Parks in Alaska. Mike brings experience from the Forest Service as a recreation manager, the BLM as an interpretive park ranger, and the US Fish and Wildlife as a fisheries bio-tech. His role on the social media team is to encourage public involvement in planning and NEPA, but he loves landscape pictures of parks on social media so keep a look out for those. When not working he enjoys traveling to National Parks around the country and doing junior ranger programs with his son.
(dk)Born and raised in Alaska, Dev Dharm loves exploring all sorts of wild places in Alaska and beyond. His Park Service career began in 2013 with a multimedia development internship in Nome, where he produced his first video on the Seward Peninsula's annual bird migration. Since then, he has sought stories in parks and public lands across Alaska, including Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, Gates of the Arctic National Park, Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, White Mountain National Recreational Area, and the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. While he agrees that all of these places are majestic in their own right, the Cook Inlet tidal flats will always hold a special place in his heart as his childhood stomping grounds and the source of his passion for connecting people with wild places.
(dc)Deborah Coble is a United States Army veteran who grew up in the Midwest along the Mississippi River spending the warmer months boating, camping and swimming. In the winters you’d find her alpine skiing down the moderate slopes within the rock palisades. Fulfilling a lifelong dream, she moved to Alaska in 2006 where she served as the Public Affairs Officer at U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Greely near Delta Junction. It was during this time that her love for Alaska solidified. Leaving the military behind in 2013, she moved on to working with rural Alaskan communities with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Subsistence Management. From there she was actively recruited, in 2016, by the National Park Service Alaska Region Subsistence Management Team as the subsistence outreach coordinator. Looking to expand her experiences within the National Park Service in Alaska, she moved into the fire communication and education specialist position. When she isn’t working, or commuting to work, she enjoys spending time with her family, dogs, and all that Alaska has to offer.
(kl)Kara Lewandowski first came to Alaska in 2009 as a cave guide for the Tongass National Forest. Since then, she has worked as a seasonal park ranger at remote posts throughout Alaska including Katmai NP, Denali NP, Lake Clark NP, and Western Arctic NPS. Kara’s finally settled down with a permanent position at Lake Clark NP where she works as a park ranger both in the field at backcountry cabins and online as the digital media coordinator. Her favorite animal is the North American porcupine. When she’s not at work, she enjoys photography, backpacking and traveling to other national parks or flying to Wisconsin to eat squeaky cheese curds.
(do)Deanna Ochs has worked for the National Park Service for nearly 20 years. As an Interpretive Ranger in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore she discovered a passion for writing about the natural world for the general public. Her experiences at the dunes earned her two separate details with the Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division where she gained experience writing about scientific research in the parks. She is excited to join the dedicated team of park scientists and staff in the Alaska Region as the Communications Specialist for the Ocean Alaska Science and Learning Center.
(mk)M.K. Reeder started as a student Pathways intern with National Park Service in 2015. After completing her Masters in Environmental Science she landed a sweet permanent gig as a Park Ranger in Alaska. When she isn't hiking in the Chugach Mountains or scaring off bears, you can find her at the Anchorage Alaska Public Lands Information Center (AAPLIC) swearing in Junior Rangers and talking about all her favorite Alaska things.
Last updated: March 7, 2018