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Alyeska Community Connections: Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

Whether it's through a classroom session at the soon-to-be-completed Bison Hall, a hands-on experience feeding a moose, or the always popular cruise around its 200-acre habitat, the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC) in Portage offers visitors numerous, and creative ways to engage with and learn about Alaska's wildlife. 

With more than 250,000 visitors each year and a multitude of adopted animals to care for, AWCC is always busy and focused on quality – for its animals, guests and partners. That includes Alyeska, a longtime supporter that shares AWCC's dedication to respecting and protecting Alaska's environment and wildlife. 

Patti Altom, Alyeska's Senior Communications Assistant, said Alyeska appreciates the impact that supporting organizations like AWCC can have on the state, its wildlife and environment.

"If you love animals, AWCC is a great place to visit," Altom said. "Not only do you get to see most animals found in Alaska, but the center provides a vast amount of information to better educate visitors about the different species."

Altom added, "And the work AWCC and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game did to bring back the wood bison population, which had disappeared from Alaska and feared extinct, was outstanding."

AWCC's conservation program takes care of various animals, each with a unique story of how they ended up at the center. For example, Snickers and Kit are two porcupines that were abandoned and injured; Kobuk the black bear cub was brought to the center after he was found near Valdez, apart from its mother and relying on food from the dumpsters.

AWCC has even reached out to animals in need from other states: Storm the fox was born illegally in captivity in Montana and arrived at AWCC with help from the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. The center is committed to helping animals recover from a variety of situations, whether it's from being trapped and frostbitten in a trap or abandoned at an early age – endless rescue stories can be found at AWCC. 

Eileen Floyd, Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center's Director of Development, shares what the partnership between Alyeska and the conservation center has accomplished since 2011. 

The partnership between Alyeska and AWCC accomplished has been very successful. Please share some of the highlights of that collaboration. 
"Our animal adoption program is vital to our work at AWCC because it helps offset the costs associated with caring and feeding the animals that we take care of. Alyeska took part in the program in 2013 and 2014 by adopting two owls. … When Alyeska first got involved, we had a lot of mouths to feed due to the wood bison release program. We were responsible for more than 200 animals with expenses that included hay, feed and veterinary costs. Support through animal adoption from Alyeska and others helped AWCC's joint effort with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in 2015 release 130 wood bison in Western Alaska, where today the herd is thriving and establishing itself once again into the area."

Tell us about the Bison Hall project that AWCC is currently working on. 
"The Bison Hall is the new education center currently being constructed at AWCC. At nearly 6,000 square feet, the facility will help educate visitors on the wood bison reintroduction project and provide our education department with dedicated classroom space. The hall will provide the ability to teach year-round, which is a huge step forward for our programs considering the location of the center and the diverse weather we face in Alaska."

Is there anything you’d like to add as Alyeska celebrates 40 years of operations and strong partnerships with the community? 
"We are grateful to the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company for their investments in the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. When we work together, we are able to accomplish so much more! Thank you and congratulations on your 40th anniversary."

Pipeline Partners: Maritime Helicopters

TAPS at 40 in the news: 40 years at Prudhoe Bay/on the North Slope

Can't get enough 40th anniversary of TAPS and Prudhoe Bay operations storytelling? Check out this wide-ranging package of stories produced by Alaska Journal of Commerce in its special section, "40 Years at Prudhoe Bay."

BP commemorates "40 years on Alaska’s North Slope" with a series of stories in the newest edition of its e-magazine. Check it out here.

Pipeline Partners: Chugach Alaska Services

TAPS at 40 in the news: Still going strong, Arctic Energy Center

This week, the Arctic Energy Center offered commentary on the history and future of TAPS, as well is its continued importance to Alaska, in its post, "Still Going Strong: TAPS at 40."

In the piece, the writer opens …

Four decades ago the revolutionary Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) became operational. Today, the pipeline is still playing a pivotal role in Alaska's economy. Despite the fact that many doubted the plausibility of such a project when it was first proposed, TAPS was completed June 20, 1977. The pipeline is among the world's largest and has had a critical role in cementing Alaska's status as an energy powerhouse.

Read the entire column here or on Facebook here.

TAPS throwback: Alyeska Pipeline Service Company: A 30-Year Journey

Ten years ago, TAPS reached another important milestone: 30 years of operations. Part of the celebration included Alyeska staff sharing their unique experiences and perspectives on TAPS history. As we celebrate 40 years of operations today, some of those in the video have retired or moved on while others still work at Alyeska -- but their messages of how TAPS has changed Alaska, and their lives, still ring true.

#mypipelinestory: “How I got the key to TAPS,” by Mike Jens

A few of the characters in attendance at the golden weld ceremony near PS 3 in May 31, 1977, were captured in this photo. They included, from left to right, Lon McDermott (AIC General Manager), Kay Eliason (Alyeska Senior Construction Manager), Frank Moolin (Alyeska Senior Project Manager), Peter Demay (Alyeska Vice President), Bernie Dorman (Associated-Green General Manager), and yours truly, Mike Jens (Alyeska Northern District Superintendent).

"A week or so before the golden weld ceremony, I got a call from Frank Moolin inviting me to attend. It was happening in the Northern District, near Pump Station 3, where I had recently been appointed superintendent after working with the construction team during the previous three years. Frank invited me with the understanding that other senior Pipeline Operations personnel would also be in attendance. I kidded Frank and said, in passing, 'Since this was the final weld, wasn't it time to turn over the keys to the pipeline to the top dogs in Operations, like Bill Dartch (President), Henry Mowell (Vice President), or my boss, Bob Halpert (Pipeline Superintendent).' I never gave it another thought and Frank didn’t say anything either."

"Ultimately, on the day of the event, I travelled from PS1 to the final weld site just north of PS3. When I arrived, I saw Frank walking around with a gold key that had been cut from a piece of the pipe. When Frank saw me, he asked where Dartch, Mowell and Halpert were. I told him I had invited them and they indicated they would attend, but apparently, they could not make it. As a result, Frank decided that the Northern District Superintendent, me, was going to be given the key to the pipeline because I was the most senior representative from Operations on the site. The end result is what you see in the photo."

"I was more than a little embarrassed to be the recipient of the key that was intended for others, but I was proud to have been a part of the team that helped build TAPS and was even more proud to be on the northern end of the pipeline during startup. The Northern District team, in 1977, had more than a few notable pipeliners, including my good friend Bill Howitt, who later became Senior Vice President and served Alyeska for many years until his recent retirement. The original photo and the golden key were donated to the Anchorage Museum and were part of the TAPS exhibit that existed there for many years."

"The epilogue to the story is that the senior Operations management team, having missed out on the golden weld ceremony, decided to host a 'platinum weld' ceremony in Valdez a few weeks later. The Operations group was not going to let those rough and tumble construction guys outdo them. The platinum weld ceremony was not widely attended and seems to have been lost in history, but the golden weld ceremony endures."

Mike Jens has more than 40 years of experience working on TAPS, beginning as an Alyeska Project Engineer during the construction era from late 1974 through the end of 1977. He worked out of Fairbanks and Glennallen before finishing up the construction effort as Assistant Project Manager reporting directly to Frank Moolin out of Galbraith Lake. In mid-1977, he was appointed to the position of Northern District Superintendent working out of PS 1 during oil-in and startup.

After Alyeska, he joined Frank Moolin and Associates, then was general manager of Anchorage's Management Analysis Company before ultimately becoming a partner in Hawk Consultants, LLC, where he current works. Management Analysis Company and Hawk Consultants have provided professional staffing services to Alyeska, and other oil companies, for the past 35 years.

#mypipelinestory: Senator Dan Sullivan's TAPS video salute

On June 20, the 40th anniversary of TAPS startup, Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan offered a very cool video tribute to TAPS and Alaska’s pipeline people on his Facebook page. He also wrote, "Forty years ago today, Alaska’s steel artery – the Trans Alaska Pipeline System – pumped its first barrel of oil, and 17 billion more have followed since. It is impossible to overstate the importance of TAPS to Alaska: supporting our schools and public services, building a strong economy, and bringing countless opportunities to Alaskans. Looking forward to many more years of a full and functional pipeline. Happy Birthday, TAPS!"

#TAPSPride: PS1 celebrates 40th anniversary

The crew at Pump Station 1 showed their #TAPSPride and celebratory side when they commemorated the 40th anniversary of TAPS operations on June 20. Photo by Alyeska's Erin Orchard. #40More

Alyeska Community Connection: KVAK, Valdez

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