Marinell Chandler

SCA '13, Sitka Ranger District, '14 Denali National Park

Stay up to date on Denali’s sled dog puppy situation with Marinell’s latest blog post.

Growing up on a busy thoroughfare in Baton Rouge, Marinell Chandler preferred indoors and air-conditioning to the “grossly moist” heat of her hometown. Her perceptions of the great outdoors began to change when she learned more about the workings of nature in a high school environmental science class. College in the Blue Ridge Mountains further shifted her view, and an SCA internship in Alaska left her utterly smitten with wildlife and wide open spaces. Now back in Alaska as a Sled Dog Kennels Intern at Denali National Park, Marinell is chronicling her second SCA experience on the Follow Me Field Blog.”

“It continues to amaze me that everything I experience in Denali – the views, the wildlife, everything – is what others have seen and experienced for centuries. How humbling it is to know that the wilderness of this park has remained largely unchanged for no other reason than to preserve it for the sake of its wilderness character and everything it entails. I celebrate knowing that Denali’s wilderness will continue to remain as beautiful and grand as I have seen, and as others have seen for generations before me. But this isn’t going to happen without us. Like the next generation of Canine Rangers expected this week [ed.’s note: Puppies!], wilderness protectors continue to be born and inspired every day.” Get the whole story in Marinell’s words here.

Name: Marinell Chandler

Position Title: Sled Dog Kennels Intern

Site Name: Denali National Park and Preserve

Hometown: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

School: Appalachian State University (Boone, NC)

Major: Sustainable Development, Environmental Studies concentration (graduated 2013)

Dream Job: National Park Service

Current favorite song: “Dirty Paws” by Of Monsters and Men

The person who inspires me most is… John Muir

If I could pass a law… Federally mandated nature time

If I was a shape shifter I’d turn into… A bear! Or a sled dog…

My motto: ”I am hopelessly and forever a mountaineer… . Civilization and fever, and all the morbidness that has been hooted at me, have not dimmed my glacial eyes, and I care to live only to entice people to look at Nature’s loveliness.”  John Muir, Travels in Alaska

My most memorable outdoor moment: Boating in Redoubt Bay, 12 miles south of Sitka, AK where I spent my first summer working with the SCA. There had been a humpback whale feeding nearby, and we shut the boat off to see if it was still there. Sure enough, we saw a fluke, a fin, bubbles, and the smooth back of the humpback as he surfaced to breathe. For several minutes he returned to the surface time after time, seemingly showing off for us, until he disappeared. We waited five, ten minutes, convinced that it was the end of our encounter, until all of a sudden, our friend launched above the still water at least twenty yards from the boat. We gave a shout – I ducked – and the humpback spun in the air, landing on his back. What an incredible moment! I never thought I would see such a beautiful creature from so close up, in such a remarkable way.

What forces, events, or influences in your life inspired you to become a conservationist? Growing up in Louisiana and being exposed to the issue of coastal wetland loss inspired me to follow a path of conservation that was nurtured by my studies at App State, with the Blue Ridge Parkway right in my backyard. Now, I’ve fallen in love with the natural beauty of Alaska, and never want to go back!

Keep up with Marinell this month on the Follow Me Field Blog!