Honoring Decades of Contributions to Alaska’s Oceans & Coasts

From her childhood in Savoonga on St. Lawrence Island to a career bursting with advocacy and marine management, Vera Kingeekuk Metcalf’s life has been dedicated to Alaska’s oceans and coasts. Earlier this year, that dedication was recognized when the Alaska SeaLife Center presented Vera with the Walter J. and Ermalee Hickel Lifetime Achievement Award. Awarded to individuals who have made exceptional contributions across decades to the management of Alaska’s coastal and ocean resources, this honor is one among Vera’s many. She received an award from the Bering Straits Foundation in 1997 and a WINGS Women of Discovery Sea Award in 2008 before her induction into the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame in 2019. Vera’s tireless contributions to the awareness and sustainability of Alaska’s marine resources are as bountiful and brimming as a healthy, thriving sea. Since 2002 she has headed up the Eskimo Walrus Commission as its executive director, representing 19 coastal communities in the co-management of Pacific walrus. And it does not stop there. When she isn’t facilitating travel between the Indigenous people of Chukotka and the Bering Strait regions of Alaska for the U.S. Department of State, engaging with the North Pacific Research Board’s Advisory Panel, or serving as the Marine Mammal Commission’s Special Advisor on Native Affairs, Vera co-chairs our Drivers & Ecological Consequences of Arctic Environmental Change co-production team and contributes extensively as part of SEARCH’s Executive Committee. SEARCH celebrates Vera and offers the most heartfelt of congratulations!