Ever dreamed of being a polar bear? Join Alaska Wilderness League and the feisty nonprofit will fulfill your wish with one of its eight "Ice-P" costumes. You'll be covered in white fur from the top of your head to the bottom of your shoes.
These costumes regularly travel the country as "Ice-P" to appear at elementary schools, presidential town halls or on roller skates in a Fourth of July parade. One is oftentimes spied in New England riding in the passenger seat of a staff member's car. Ice-P also has his own Facebook page and column in the organization's newsletter. He is quite the verbose bear.
If polar bears aren't your thing, you can also take on the persona of a brown bear, sandpiper, white-fronted goose or walrus. This Washington-based, fun-loving organization boasts a full Alaskan menagerie.
Alaska Wilderness League's costumes say a lot about the organization – where the goal is to work hard, but have fun while pursuing its ultimate mission: "to lead the effort to preserve Alaska's wild lands and waters by engaging citizens and decision makers with a courageous, constant, victorious voice for Alaska."
The League, founded in 1993 by wilderness champion Mike Matz, has been led by Cindy Shogan for the past 13 years. The Alaska Wilderness League is the only environmental organization based in D.C. devoted full-time to protecting Alaska's wild places and has a reputation for being nimble, strategic and forward-thinking.
"We pride ourselves on being a grassroots organization, meaning that we do our best work by engaging people from all over the country who care about Alaska," Shogan said. "My favorite part of every year is our Wilderness Week, when we bring activists to Washington and let them loose on Congress. After all, the places we are working to protect are public land-we all own them."
The League is constantly striving to be creative and innovative – to help bring Alaska to people who may never actually go there themselves. As part of their current campaign to stop Shell Oil from drilling in the Arctic Ocean this summer, they are hosting "Polar Bear Uprisings" across the country – together with Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, Oceana, Endangered Species Coalition, and other partners. These events will bring people together, dressed as polar bears, of course, to dance to "Ice Ice Baby" and chant "President Obama: Put Shell on Ice!"
In addition to grassroots, the League has an extensive online program – from comprehensive email alerts to frequent Twitter storms and an active Facebook page. Follow @AlaskaWild on Twitter and you'll be invited to this week's Twitter storm that will mark the anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and implore President Obama to stop the next disaster from happening in America's Arctic Ocean.
Alaska Wilderness League staff and members have one thing in common – they love Alaska for the mystical beauty and spiritual stillness of its wild places. They've got stiff competition – from the state of Alaska itself to Big Oil – but so far, the League has proved that the mighty can come in all sizes and iterations.
Join The Conservation Alliance, The North Face, and Alaska Wilderness League to protect the Arctic Ocean today by visiting the Conservation Alliance Facebook page and sending a message to President Obama.