Hecla Greens Creek Endows UAS Environmental Science Program
The owner-operator of the Greens Creek silver mine on Admiralty Island is donating $300,000 to create an endowment in support of the UAS environmental science program in Juneau.
Outlasting the Mine
“Safeguarding the environment through responsible mining is a fundamental principle of how we operate,” says Brian Erickson, Hecla Vice President and General Manager of the Greens Creek Mine. “Hecla Greens Creek is proud to support the University of Alaska Southeast’s environmental science program, and by creating this fund as an endowment, it means that the support will last in perpetuity—long past the life of the mine. We consider this gift as an investment in Juneau and all of Southeast Alaska.”
The endowment fund will provide money for research by faculty and undergraduates, paid summer internships, field courses, and other experiential learning opportunities.
“This is an unqualified demonstration of Hecla Greens Creek’s commitment to understanding and protecting the environment of Southeast Alaska,” says UAS Chancellor Karen Carey. “UAS’ environmental science program provides vital research that helps inform today’s decision making while working to train Alaska’s next generation of scientists, researchers, and field technicians.”
The UAS environmental science program offers three degree tracks: a bachelor of science in environmental science, a bachelor of science in environmental resources, and a bachelor of arts in environmental studies, which has an optional emphasis in outdoor studies. All three are centered on the Juneau campus, where lab and field components can take advantage of the proximity to ocean, glacier, mountain, and forest environments.
Students in all three tracks start together with centralized courses in physical sciences, earth sciences, social sciences, and humanities. The environmental resources degree is geared more toward science-based careers in environmental research, management, and consulting as well as graduate studies in the related fields of geography and environmental science. The environmental sciences degree provides more opportunities for undergraduate research.
Idaho-based Hecla Mining Company has operated Greens Creek since 1989. It has 107 million ounces of proven and probable silver reserves, and lately has been producing up to 10 million ounces per year.