Cordova is situated in the SE corner of Alaska in the Chugach National Forest next to the mouth of the Copper River, at the head of Orca Inlet on the E side of Prince William Sound. Only accessibly by boat or plane, it is one of the world's last, great natural regions, home of the world's richest waters. Not only geographically unique, Cordova has a unique story of land and human resiliency. On March 27th of 1964, a 9.2 magnitude earthquake (the second largest quake ever recorded) rocked Cordova. Lasting over four minutes, the earthquake had intense ecological impacts, altering the delta, causing most wildlife to adapt to a new way of life. Places that were once saltwater turned freshwater marshlands, the Prince William Sound has become a unique place to study for scientists & forest service alike. Exactly twenty-five years later, almost to the day, an Exxon Valdez tanker spilled 11 million gallons of oil into the Price William Sound. The oil slick covered 1,300 miles of coastline and killed a lot of wildlife. 30 years later and pockets of oil can still be found. People who live and work in Cordova are fiercely loyal to the local resources. This is where Science & Memory was born in 2014. What better place to tell stories about people adapting to climate change than Cordova? The program has grown and shifted focus to other locations the past two years.
As a small group, we returned to Cordova set on re-establishing Science & Memory's presence in the town. We became acquainted with the landscape and the culture that comes with it. We came back to follow up on stories Science & Memory has covered in previous years, catching up with what the Forest Service is studying, and what stories can we start for the future.
I fell in love with the landscape and the community and decided I will be spending 2019 spring/summer living in a great big wild.