The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC), Alaska’s premier wildlife sanctuary, announces that Sarah Howard has been promoted to Executive Director. Howard has been working for the sanctuary since 2010, most recently serving as Curator.

As Executive Director, Sarah is responsible for managing the day to day operations as well as the financial goals, strategic plans, capital improvement projects and the long term vision of the sanctuary.

“I’m overwhelmed with appreciation that our Board of Directors has given me this opportunity to grow within the organization, as well as having the support of this awesome team we have here at the AWCC” says Howard. “We’re a team first and foremost, and we all have the same aspirations for the animals and wildlife center as a whole. I am excited to get to work!”

Get to know Sarah (Howie) Howard:

As a born and raised Alaskan, Sarah spent her first 10 years in Palmer, where she learned to love the state and its wildlife residents. She can personally attest to trading mountains for corn fields is a tough ask for a wild Alaskan kid—but she and her brothers managed when the family translocated to Packer Nation (Wisconsin) right before third grade. Sarah decided then that her mission was to get back to Alaska and work with wildlife in any way that she possibly could—vet, biologist, zookeeper—whatever it would take. She was determined to make it work.

Sarah earned a B.S. in both wildlife management ecology and biology with a minor in captive wildlife management from the University of Wisconsin. In 2010 Sarah’s goal came to fruition when the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center hired her as an intern for the summer. In 2012 Sarah was hired as a fulltime animal keeper and in 2017 she was promoted to curator.

“Her 11 years of experience working at the sanctuary made her the perfect choice to lead the center as Executive Director,” said Jason Graham , AWCC’s Board President.

You may have seen Sarah palling around with Dr. Oakley on Nat Geo Wild’s: Yukon Vet, or Alaska Animal Rescue.

AWCC would like to extend a warm welcome to Becky Chambless as she joins the team as the Development Director. 

As Development Director, Becky is responsible for spearheading all aspects of the fund development efforts as AWCC continues to grow by establishing and sustaining relationships with stakeholders, as well as developing and executing AWCC’s fundraising strategy.

Becky is a lifelong Alaskan – born and raised – and has a deep love for Alaska. “I see this as a valuable opportunity to positively and powerfully contribute to a state and community that I love,” said Becky.

Becky comes to AWCC from her philanthropy consulting firm, Ember Consulting LLC, where she works with nonprofit partners in Alaska to help create sustainable, long-term fundraising plans, philanthropy best practices, as well as corporate social responsibility strategies, communications, and public relations.

She developed her nonprofit knowledge and skillset as the Development Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters Alaska, a Gift Officer for Alaska Pacific University, and the Development Director and Capital Campaign Advisor for AWAIC.

Becky obtained her Bachelors in Business Administration and Management with a Nonprofit Management Emphasis from Alaska Pacific University, then went on to receive her Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) credential. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Alaska Chapter and has served on the AFP Alaska Chapter board since 2015.

Discover the WILD of Alaska and come meet the locals! Walk on the Wild Side Tours are available year-round and include an animal encounter. Summer Moose Encounters & Bear Encounters are available for online booking. Book early to ensure your spot!