The following press release is courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska:
Anne Marie LaRosa, Manager at Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, will retire in early December after 34 years of public service with the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S Fish and Wildlife Service.
LaRosa’s career in resource management and conservation has traversed some of America’s most iconic public lands, from the rich wildlife of the Florida Everglades to the unique and fragile ecosystems of Hawaii. Of all the amazing places she has worked, she feels a special connection with Alaska’s wild landscapes and is thankful for her time on Kodiak. “What a beautiful and remarkable place Kodiak is: the richness of the marine ecosystem never fails to amaze me, or the wonder of seeing a Kodiak brown bear sow with her cubs.”
As she prepares to leave the management of nearly two million acres of wildlife refuge, LaRosa recognizes that a changing climate poses future challenges for Kodiak’s fish and wildlife. She also feels hopeful. “In my experience, islands are special places and the people who choose island life are resilient and resourceful. And that brings me confidence that people will continue to work together for the future of wildlife.”
LaRosa especially enjoyed working with dedicated citizens and partners on the successful “Rebuild the Bear” team led by the Kodiak Brown Bear Trust to replace a crumbling community statue. She notes that the tremendous effort has been “typical of Kodiak’s pulling-together spirit.” She thanks the island communities for all of their support of Kodiak Refuge, and especially for joining in the celebration of the Refuge’s 75th anniversary this year.
Anne Marie LaRosa will say aloha to one island and head to another, joining her son and husband at their home in Hawaii. She looks forward to spending more time with family, but knows that a piece of her heart will always belong in Alaska.
Current Deputy Manager Tevis Underwood will fill LaRosa’s position as Acting Manager for the next few months until a new manager is hired. The Underwood family moved from Dillingham to Kodiak in 2014, excited to join the community after hearing many great things from former residents. Underwood has over 26 years of experience in Alaska as a Fisheries Biologist and Deputy Refuge Manager for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.