CALISTA LAND & NATURAL RESOURCES DEPARTMENT PRESENTS

LANDS IN FOCUS

LOCAL HIRE ON THE YUKON DELTA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

Storyknife, May/June 2022 edition

One of the most important programs at the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge is a local hire program which aims to connect the refuge to the villages throughout our region.

What’s called Resource Information Technicians, or RITs for short, are locally-hired positions similar to tribal liaisons.

“These employees bridge the gap between the agency and the people and organizations affected by our rules and regulations,” says Yukon Delta NWR Manager Boyd Blihovde.

Refuge Information Technician David Therchik holding an emperor goose. Photo credit: USFWS

“We communicate with 60 communities and want to do a good job at that,” Blihovde says.

At one time, the vast 19-million-acre refuge had 10 technicians. The number of positions dropped to three in recent years; this year, Blihovde was able to add two more positions. He would like to build the program back to 10 positions, but that would require more funding.

This summer, Blihovde completed recruitment for the two additional positions. These are year-round jobs, working a minimum of 16 hours per week. The ideal candidates have strong cultural knowledge and speak Yup’ik, Cup’ik or Athabascan.

“The RIT program was dreamed up and invented here, and it grew into a regionwide program. I think it is an example to the rest of the nation on how we should be working with tribal governments and organizations,” Blihovde says.

Calista supports the RIT program, says Calista Vice President of Land & Natural Resources Tisha Kuhns. “We strongly encourage our Shareholders who meet the job qualifications to apply for RIT positions when there are job openings,” she says.

“As Shareholders, we can serve as caretakers of our land through direct employment or by joining advisory committees.” — Tisha Kuhns, Calista Vice President of Land & Natural Resources

If you are interested in learning more about this program, or other job and training opportunities involving land and natural resource management, call the refuge at 907-543-5131 or contact Calista_Land@calistacorp.com.