Dave Aplin

Dave’s love affair with Alaska began in 1985 when he became an interpretive naturalist in Portage Valley and aboard the Alaska Marine Highway ferries that plied Prince William Sound. After two seasons with the U.S. Forest Service, he wandered off for new opportunities outside the state. But it was apparent he’d found his happy place. Twenty years later, the star aligned, and Dave found his way home to direct outreach and education activities with World Wildlife Fund's U.S. Arctic Program. He invested 15 years exploring Alaska and the Arctic while tackling critical conservation issues. Raised amid the rolling farmland and small towns of Wisconsin, Dave and his six siblings spend the 1960s and 70s rambling through woods and fields, birdwatching with favorite aunts, stalking the elusive morel mushroom, and arguing about whose turn it was to operate the rototiller on his family’s sizable vegetable garden. He worked through college at his hometown Green Giant cannery and earned a history degree at the University of Wisconsin—Stevens Point. Somewhere along that path, Dave realized he could find a vocation doing what he loved most: spending time outdoors learning about and sharing the natural world with others.

After completing his master's degree in natural resource management, Dave’s zig-zag career has taken him to Maywood Environmental Park in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Lake Malawi National Park in East Africa with the U.S. Peace Corps, the Central Wisconsin Environmental Station and to Iowa's Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge. He was then off to Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge on Kauai. After five years of fun in the sun, Dave joined Sea Studios in Monterey, California, to become the Outreach Director for the PBS/National Geographic series Strange Days on Planet Earth before returning home to Homer, Alaska. Dave retired from WWF in 2021, and eager to continue to showcase Alaska's wonders to travelers, became a Nat Hab Expedition Leader in 2022. He continues to explore Alaska’s remarkable land and seascapes, wildlife and cultures by foot, canoe and rowing kayak. He can carry a tune and plays several musical instruments (generally quite poorly). He keeps his ears open for great stories while tending to the needs of the dogs, domestic fowl, honeybees and neighborhood wildlife who inhabit his world.
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