Professor Emeritus of Ecology, University of Alaska Fairbanks.
I have studied climate effects on Alaskan ecosystems for the past 50 years. My research addresses the effects of changes in climate and wildfire on Alaskan ecology and rural communities. I explore ways that communities and agencies can develop options that increase sustainability of ecosystems and human communities over the long term despite rapid climatic and social changes. Through earth stewardship, I explore ways that society can proactively shape changes toward a more sustainable future through actions that enhance ecosystem resilience and human well-being.
Robin first discovered crankies as a K-12 itinerant art teacher in the Bering Strait region of Western Alaska. A musician and artist, she loved that crankies combine visual arts with music to tell stories, and that they can be made from simple recycled materials- from matchboxes, to shoeboxes, to refrigerator boxes! She used scrap wood to build big crankie boxes for each of the 15 schools she taught in, and proceeded to make crankie stories large and small with hundreds of students from Kindergardeners to adults. She has been hooked ever since!
Robin serves on the board of the Alaska Arts Education Consortium, which works to advance teaching and learning through the arts across Alaska, and is a Fairbanks Folk Fest volunteer. She loves to play music (old-time banjo, mandolin, and classical piano). She currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Elementary Education at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and is passionate about connecting learning with place and culture, and helping inspire new educators with creative ideas to enhance their own teaching practices.
Homyna Curiel is the owner / operator of Tundra Tonics . Homyna originally found a passion for health and the power of natural foods in studying mycology. Homyna believes that what we eat is fundamental to acquiring a critical agency in shaping our health both physically and mentally and that what we choose to eat is inextricably entwined with the degree of our literacy and our political / philosophical affiliations.
Gail is a long time fiber artist who has taught classes for the Folk School in knitting, seat caning, rug hooking, and rug braiding, having learned these skills as a child.
Fred DeCicco is a retired fisheries biologist and flyfishing guide with Twin Peaks Adventures. He is a Certified Casting Instructor through the International Federation of Fly Fishers and an avid fly fisher who has fished throughout Alaska and other parts of the world.
Lynn DeFilippo is an avid knitter, spinner, and fiber crafter, as well as a full time 5th grade teacher. The creator of Goldstream Knits, she enjoys creating accessory patterns designed to be simple, fun, and functional for the Alaskan knitter. She’s lived and worked all over the state for over 25 years, and has many years of experience gathering, processing, knitting, and spinning wild qiviut from the Nome area. Her knitting and spinning is inspired by nature.
Janice retired last year after 12 years of owning her own Toyo service and repair business in the greater Fairbanks area. Prior to starting her business she was a heavy equipment mechanic on the North end of the Alaska pipeline for 17 years. Often referred to as “Diesel Girl”, her strong ‘perfume’ could be detected long before she entered a room!
I’m Alaska Native, Han Athabascan from the Yukon River. I learned about plant medicine from my mother and the knowledge has been passed down through generations. It is now my turn to share the knowledge with my daughter and others who want to learn.
I’m Kristi Downing and I’ve lived in Fairbanks for . . . a long time. I love camping, hiking, reading, skiing, teaching, being with family and friends, and being surrounded by the forest. In artistic pursuits, I enjoy knitting and felting, watercolors, carving, sewing and a myriad of other random creative interests.
I’ve worked with kids as a 2nd grade teacher, as a parent, and as a tutor and mentor for high schools students here in Fairbanks. In my felting world, I have taught needle felting as an after-school enrichment activity for elementary students, as well as during an Artist-in-Residence for BEST homeschool students in 2019. I have also done a lot of needle felting with my own children, as well as with friends.
I have a love of connecting children with nature as a place to learn and grow, as well as a perfect place-based classroom. I am completing my Masters of Elementary Education with a focus on embracing the Forest School ethos in our work with raising and teaching/mentoring our children. In addition, I am a certified elementary teacher in Alaska, currently homeschooling my own children.
My 24 year residence in Alaska (Bethel to Fairbanks) has been occupied by my loving partner Nancy, nursing, farming, and being a b&b host; as well as a life long DIYer. Growing up in rural Colorado I learned it was important to learn a broad range of skills to maintain daily needs. Also, I value learning common techniques and skills used in past daily life.
It was my good fortune to meet Randy Brown many years ago and learn from his passion for bowl carving. I’ve been carving since 2015 and still learn something new in every bowl. My 2 favorite quotes are “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful” by William Morris and “If you need it, make it” found on an unauthored sign in a shearing shed in South Australia.
I am a retired middle school teacher who got involved in fiber arts through my daughters 4H project. Now we have eight Tunis X sheep and two goats who live in our back yard. I learned the drop spindle to have something to do with all the fiber they were producing and to keep my hands busy. Now I am involved in all kinds of fiber arts including weaving, dying, felting, and naalbinding. Being a social studies teacher for 25 years, teaching living history is a passion of mine. I love learning the history behind skills that have been done in in the past then teaching them to others.
Shana Eager is a life long crocheter. She has extensive experience working with children and adults and enjoys working with families. She is a local farmer who keeps a small flock of sheep and loves spinning and making things from her own wool. She has been working for over 15 years with the 4H program.
Amy Edler has been sewing since she was a child, learning to sew from her mother and her grandmothers. She started sewing her own clothes in high school and continues to sew custom clothing for herself and others. She started teaching sewing in 2017 and has enjoyed sharing her passion for sewing with others. Her teaching practice is centered on empowering people to make and mend their clothing. She feels that having clothes that fits is important for everyone and slow fashion help keeps textiles out of the landfill.
Elizabeth Eero Irving
Elizabeth Eero Irving is a lifelong Fairbanks gardener, having first learned food production from her (amazing) gardener Mom. Elizabeth went on to work for 10 years in production and retail sales greenhouses in all genres of gardening and landscape planting. She believes growing our own healthy, organic food is the utmost form of self-sufficiency (plus, it’s fun!) and it’s a skill she loves teaching anyone who will listen.
I have been a runner for 15 years. Progressing and learning over time, I have come to enjoy the barefoot and minimalist style most. I have made these hurraches for a few seasons and I thought teaching this class would be a fun way to meet more minimalist runners in Fairbanks!
Co-owner and engineer at 10th Planet Recording for over 25 years recording everything from string quartets to singer-songwriters, vocal groups, hip hop artists, & rock bands. Born in Fairbanks and musician in a variety of groups as songwriter, guitarist, drummer, vocalist, & fiddle player.
Robin Dale Ford
Robin has always made music the center of her life. She started her training on piano, but at an outdoor festival she stumbled upon musical icon Taj Mahal playing “Colored Aristocracy” in the Clawhammer banjo style and it changed her direction. She found a fine, old Tubaphone banjo and headed to Alaska where she joined an Old-Time string band called The Sidewinders. That started a five-decade career performing live on banjo and in numerous dance bands on electric bass, writing and recording original songs, teaching private lessons and co-owning 10th Planet Recording Studio with partner Pat Fitzgerald for thirty years. She has recently made a joyous return to the piano as a limitless songwriting tool. Stay tuned.
Teal Francis is an artist living and working in Fairbanks. Born in Central Oregon, she has a Master of Fine Arts in printmaking from the University of Nevada, Reno and a Bachelor of Arts from Colorado College. She has worked in printmaking studios in Seattle and Reno. She works primarily in block and screen printing (as well as some painting, ceramics, sewing, and sculpture), and her artwork is about open-endedness and play. She enjoys hiking in Interior Alaska’s fleeting autumn, dancing with abandon, and her two cats. You can find Teal online at tealfrancis.com or on Instagram at tealarrow.
I have worked with my hands my whole life. My curiosity and ADHD has led me to learn to work in multiple media: paper, wood, glass and metal, to name a few. I spent about 20 years taking metalsmithing classes at UAF from Jack Finch. In my former work life, I gained experience teaching classes in web design and HTML at UAF. I’ve taught classes at the Folk School in Pysanky Egg Decorating. I’ve also taught Suminagashi Paper Marbling at the Folk School and through UAF’s OLLI program. I discovered Straw Marquetry on Pinterest and taught myself how to make jewelry and cover wood boxes through trial and error during Covid. I’m currently playing a lot with paper weaving and cutting. And I’m always making some new jewelry in paper.
Liz and Sarah Furman
Sarah and Liz Furman are Fairbanks herbalists who wildharvest and cultivate herbs for food and healing the mind and body. They are owners of the local business, Twinflower (http://www.twinfloweralaska.com), which makes herbal salves, extracts, teas, and syrups.