Fellow spotlight: Karen Grosskreutz

woman wearing a ball cap smiling with sunset and coastal wetland in background
Photo courtesy of Karen Grosskreutz

Karen Grosskreutz is an Alaska Sea Grant State Fellow working with the cross-Pacific Indigenous Aquaculture Collaborative Network (IAC). Grosskreutz is helping support Indigenous knowledge-holders and culture-bearers to connect with members of other Tribes. She convened an IAC panel to discuss securing safe, local shellfish harvest, and facilitated Alaskan participation at a gathering in Washington of Sea Grant programs, Tribes, and Indigenous leaders across the Pacific. 

“I am interested in collaborating with community members to address locally identified priorities,” Grosskreutz said, reflecting on her decision to apply for the fellowship. “Alaska Sea Grant has a strong record of cooperative extension projects, outreach and education in rural communities, and partnerships with agencies, academics, and Tribes. I am excited to support Indigenous-led initiatives and knowledge-sharing by engaging with IAC.”

IAC comprises Pacific-region Sea Grant programs, Northwest Tribes, First Nations in Canada, Native Hawaiian organizations, Indigenous communities and practitioners, and other organizations and universities. The network supports place-based biocultural relationships and advances Indigenous aquaculture, with a focus on community engagement, knowledge-sharing across cultures and traditions, restoration, and applied research.

Grosskreutz is working with IAC to raise awareness about sea gardens—areas cultivated for enhanced production of clams and other seafood—as well as other traditional harvest technologies in Alaska. Participants at the Washington gathering, Salish Summit, supported Swinomish Tribe efforts to build a clam garden and other restoration and aquaculture projects in the Salish Sea.

“Indigenous sciences and traditional technologies have been the foundation of food sovereignty and security for millenia,” said Grosskreutz. “By strengthening networks and promoting successful sea garden projects, processes, and applied methods, I aim to support Indigenous-led projects and processes that are consistent with Tribal goals of self-determination and food sovereignty.”

Grosskreutz holds a master’s degree in sustainable resource management from the Technical University of Munich, Germany. Based in Juneau, she has worked as a research assistant, lighthouse keeper, and wilderness expedition guide in Southeast Alaska. She is pursuing a fisheries Ph.D. at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and is interested in knowledge co-production and community-based resource management.