Bethany Goodrich: Nature is Not Just a Place You Visit

This year’s cover artist was born and grew up outside Boston – interestingly, she notes, at the one-mile mark of the Boston Marathon.

Bethany Goodrich’s photo is striking to some because of its tranquility and the feeling of respect and connectedness between the salmon in the foreground, and the hand and mussels in the background. The hand, says Goodrich, is hers and the photo was “taken impromptu (as she) washed a salmon while dip-netting at Redoubt.”

Goodrich first came to Sitka in 2012 for an internship at the Sitka Conservation Society (SCS), before leaving to do a Masters in Biodiversity, Conservation & Management at Oxford University in England. She did her undergraduate work at the University of San Francisco in Biology and Fine Arts. Her mother had been a professional wedding photographer, but the daughter wanted to do something “a bit different.”

In 2011, Goodrich spent five months in Antarctica (under a National Science Foundation grant) – helping collect plankton for a study of “how diatoms adapted to changing seasons, in order to predict how they might react to climate change.” Simultaneously, she worked on a project that brought science and life on a remote field station to middle school classrooms in the US and honed her storytelling skills.

While Goodrich was drawn to Alaska because of “a romanticized idea of the natural splendor of wilderness,” she now spends time thinking “how not to lock people and places away from one another.” The best stewards of the natural world “are those who live, work, hunt and play in local lands and waters.” These values align with those of SCS, where Goodrich works as the Communications Director for the Sustainable Southeast Partnership (SSP).

SSP is dedicated to empowering cultural, ecological and economic prosperity across Southeast Alaska. The artist has spent “time in remote communities across Southeast from Yakutat to Hydaburg, coming to understand what stewardship looks like to a lot of people.”

Not just taking photographs, but “living a life worth photographing” was a phrase Goodrich used – actually, a kind of meme among today’s photographers – but it reflects her belief in interconnectedness.

You can see more Goodrich photographs on the walls at the Beak Restaurant, on her website and on Instagram @bethanysgoodrich , @sitkawild and @sustainablesoutheast