From left to right, Club Baby Seal is: Allison Holtkamp, Grace Lee, Alicia Hughes-Skandijs, Brady Ingledue, Nate Williams, Hali Duran and Corin Hughes-Skandijs. (Photo by Scott Burton/KTOO)It’s awful out in Juneau on a Saturday night. After a bunch of snow, it’s raining, and moat-like ponds of water fill the streets, the sidewalks, everywhere.Bad conditions however, have not affected attendance at a Club Baby Seal show, a new comedy troupe in Juneau.Listen nowThe group of four comedians, two managers, a volunteer bartender and security guard are set up at the Gold Town Nickelodeon. It’s their second show of the night and it’s well attended — the first show sold out.Corin Hughes-Skandijs emcees Club Baby Seal. In this photo he emulates playing a little girl in an acting class. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)After a welcome from manager Grace Lee, emcee Corin Hughes-Skandijs warms up the crowd. Part of his open includes a self-deprecating realization that he has the look of a movie extra.“I’m the kind of guy that you would see stuck at the top of roller coaster, the hero has to come up and save me,” Hughes-Skandijs said. “I’m sitting there with like, a Mickey ears hat.”The audience gives the bit a healthy laugh.Next up is one of the group’s founders, Brady Ingledue. After taking a stand-up workshop, he started gathering long-time friends to write jokes and perform at home.One of his jokes takes place in the bedroom.Brady Ingledue (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)“I do like to experiment in the sack, though,” Ingledue said. “What I like to do is get, like, a girl. I’m coming in, I’ll get you all set up in the bedroom right there, doing your thing. And then I’ll be over here kind of making a baking soda volcano. You know, getting the elements going, there’s test tubes.”Alicia Hughes-Skandijs is the other group founder who wrote and practiced with Ingledue in the beginning. Her bit is about role-playing — but in a decidedly unsexy setting, the produce section of Fred Meyer.“So I start in the organic section, and I just, like, grab it, like I know what I’m doing,” Hughes Skandijs said in a suggestive voice. “Ohh, this recipe calls for two kinds of kale. I know what’s going to happen with it.”She snaps back to her regular voice.“I do know what’s going to happen to the kale. The kale is going to get really, really slimy, like in my produce drawer.”Allison Holtkamp. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)After the show she said, “It is the best feeling in the world when people are laughing because it feels like through their laughter they’re like, ‘Oh yeah I get it. Like, I’m with you on that point.’”Alicia and Brady eventually met Nate Williams at a party. They started doing house shows in his living room in front of a brick-patterned curtain they ordered from Amazon.Williams also is the one who suggested the name — Club Baby Seal — an irreverent play on words he conceived as a fifth-grader for the name of a snow fort he made.“I don’t listen to self-help directly, but I listen to people who listen to self-help,” Williams said. “It’s too powerful straight from the source, like, uncut Tony Robbins is more than anyone can really handle. And I really don’t want to improve too rapidly.”For those first house shows they brought on Alicia’s brother, actor Corin Hughes-Skandijs as emcee, and eventually actor and long-time friend Allison Holtkamp started performing too.Audience members laugh during the stand-up comedy show, Club Baby Seal, on Saturday, Dec. 18, in Juneau. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)Whether being an extra, role-playing, self-help or self-image, Alicia said material works “because there is something universal in there that everyone can relate to.”And what does it feel like when it’s working and everyone is laughing?“It’s like getting done with a 10-mile run and you get all of those endorphins in that one big laugh,” Holtkamp said.Corin said, “It’d be like if your whole family was gathered in the living room when you came home from work and they all give you a standing ovation. And you were like, ‘What’s it for?’ ‘For you, and by the way, here is your favorite dinner that you’ve always wanted.’”Williams said, “It’s like a hug from father or something. It’s a huge acceptance that what you say, what you think — yeah, it’s actually a really neat connection.”The comedians are quick to thank their managers Hali Duran and Grace Lee, and they’re proud of providing a new artistic outlet in Juneau.Club Baby Seal has shows scheduled in Petersburg in January, and they hope to make it to Anchorage and beyond in the spring.
Alaska was invited to participate in the California cap-and-trade market in 2015 after lobbying from the Chugach Alaska Corporation. Chugach is also working on developing its own carbon offset credits. (Creative Commons photo by Xa’at)Big greenhouse gas emitters in California are now able to buy carbon offset credits based in Alaska. The Southeast regional Native corporation Sealaska is using some of its lands for carbon sequestration. Thousands of acres of old growth trees will stay intact for over 100 years. It’s the first carbon bank in the state to be approved for the market.Listen nowSealaska says its another way of securing a future for shareholders.On the fourth floor of Sealaska Plaza, there’s a board room with an amazing view. A long glass window overlooks the Gastineau Channel. Beyond that, you can see a canopy of evergreens.Anthony Mallott gestures to the landscape.“We think we live in a very protected, amazing sacred place on this Earth,” Mallott said. “But there’s room for economic activity.”Anthony Mallott in his Juneau office. (Photo by Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska News)Mallott is Sealaska Corporation’s President and CEO. At 42 years old, he’s one of the younger leaders. This morning he went skiing. But he jokes he doesn’t always feel so youthful with a bad knee.Mallott began working at Sealaska over a decade ago.“I started in a time period where we could see effectively the end of our timber harvests without getting additional new lands,” Mallott said.The corporation manages around 360,000 acres in Southeast Alaska, and Mallott says developing the natural resources, like timber, was an important part of creating the first dividends for its shareholders.But Mallott says the original land allocation Sealaska received only represents a small part of the region.“It wasn’t the be all and end all,” Mallott said. “It was something that allowed us to move forward. But it hasn’t fulfilled all the expectations.”The corporation is expected to make money for its shareholders. But it’s already cut close to a third of its trees, and not all of the sites left are ideal for logging, like old growth stands next to salmon streams.So, Mallott says the corporation faced a challenge. How do you protect those sensitive areas and still make money for shareholders?“It was really the need to stretch our harvest and diminish our harvest from a higher level that put us in this framework thinking, ‘OK, what really is sustainability for Sealaska?” Mallott said.Enter the California cap-and-trade program.Basically, big polluters in the Golden State receive an allowance to release a planned amount of carbon each year. For anything over that cap, companies need to buy additional permits. They can also purchase carbon credits to help negate harmful emissions, and those credits represents an actual, tangible thing: carbon stored in trees — in this case, trees belonging to Sealaska.Mallott says carbon sequestration looked like the right opportunity. The money generated would help shareholders and nearly half of the trees on Sealaska land could stay in the ground.Mallott is quick to point out this land isn’t locked up. The corporation can can still develop parcels for tourism or mineral exploration.Mallott says the project has already attracted a buyer. It’s too early to put a dollar figure on the deal. But he thinks the amount could be huge.“Multiple millions,” Mallott said. “The financial benefit of this is very significant for Sealaska.”In the past, conservation groups have been critical of the rate Sealaska has clear cut its forests.Buck Lindekugel is a grass roots attorney for the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, and he says that old model of logging doesn’t make sense for the region’s economy today. He welcomes the corporation’s new venture.“We’re excited that Sealaska is seizing this opportunity to explore those options,” Lindekugel said. “We think it’s good for their shareholders, and it’s certainly good for all of us who care about the forest.”But Mallot says Sealaska has always cared about sustainability and the bottom line.“The carbon project. Is it a shift? It’s a recognition in the way we’ve always thought,” Mallott said.Mallott says the corporation isn’t going to stop logging on its remaining land. But it’s also planning to allocate more acreage to carbon sequestration in the near future.As for what happens to the trees after the 110 years is up, Mallot says that’s up to a younger generation to decide.