The Iron Mountain Future Farmers of America (FFA) received a $1,000 mini-grant in October 2022 to support the team as they competed in the 95th National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. The team presented on climate change and the effects of ocean acidification on Alaska’s fishing and tourism economies. The team won first place at the Alaska State FFA Convention in April 2022 and was excited to represent Alaska at the national competition.
The team comprises five members: seniors Teak Barhaug and Aly Guernsey, junior Trevor Guernsey, and sophomores Katie VanBuskirk and Jordan Hartman.
Missing the finals by one place, the team finished 17th out of 34 teams (the top 16 teams ranked in the finals). “One of the biggest challenges of taking this presentation to Nationals was making sure that people in landlocked states understand the issue,” said Iron Mountain FFA member Aly Guernsey. “The changes happening in Alaska due to climate change directly affect the lower 48.”
As seniors, both Teak Barhaug and Aly Guernsey are making the most of their final year as Iron Mountain FFA members. Teak was nominated as the 2022-2023 Alaska State FFA President and represented Alaska at the National Convention on the National Delegate Committee. While preparing for the presentation on climate change, Aly Guernsey was offered an internship at the Alutiiq Pride Marine Institute in Seward. “These opportunities have meshed community contacts with lead individuals, professors, and government agencies whom the members would not have had if not for participating in this event,” said Kim Barhaug, Iron Mountain FFA Advisor. “It has been wonderful to watch them grow and gain valuable knowledge and relationships that will advance them in future education and careers.” This grant was funded by the Seward Community Foundation Unrestricted Fund.