Dillingham's Heidi Kritz wins Brower Youth Award

Oct 19, 2016

Dillingham youth wins award for environmental leadership presented by the Earth Island Institute

Heidi Kritz, 21

Heidi Kritz, a 21-year old Dillingham resident, has won the Brower Youth Award. The Earth Island Institute gives this award to six people who have demonstrated environmental leadership and who are under 22 years old

For the past 10 years Kritz has worked to oppose Pebble Mine. She explains why she is passionate about her advocacy.

“The proposed Pebble Mine would be the largest mine in North America, and it’s right at the headwaters of Bristol Bay,” says Kritz. “So there’s a lot of threats since we’re connected through rivers and streams, and the tundra is very absorbent. It wouldn’t be a good environment for the salmon or other animals.”

She has collected signatures, worked to educate the community, written letters to leaders and encouraged others to do the same. Kritz is Yupik, and she says that the environmental impact of such a mine could impact Native Alaskans’ way of life.

“It is a big threat to the way I live in the different seasons. In the summer we pick berries and fish and go hunting in the fall. In the winters we do more ice fishing, and people are hunting. This is the only way I know how to live. If the Pebble Mine went through, I don’t think I would be able to live like this anymore.”

Kritz accepted the award last night in San Francisco.

Contact the author, avery@kdlg.org