Beth Nordlund is a 3rd generation Alaskan, born in Anchorage and raised in Juneau. Raised to appreciate parks, Beth lost her first tooth sledding at Russian Jack Springs Park – a 300 acre Anchorage urban green space. Beth attended Baylor University, where she earned an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies and Political Science after watching the Exxon Valdez oil spill devastate her home state. After college, Beth moved to Washington DC and completed her Master's Degree in Public Administration from The George Washington University – developing her understanding of public policy and commitment to civil service.
Upon graduation, Beth began working for the Department of the Interior, where she served on the Secretary of Interior's advance travel team. In 1996, Beth returned to Alaska to work on Alaska Native leader Georgianna Lincoln's congressional campaign. After the election, she accepted a post in the Tony Knowles administration as Legislative Liaison to the Department of Education. Beth developed rich experience working with Alaskan legislators and civil servants to develop policies and advocate for Governor Knowles' priorities. After six years in the Knowles administration, Beth rejoined the world of political campaigns, first as a volunteer fundraiser for Fran Ulmer's gubernatorial campaign in 2002, and later as the Deputy Finance Director on Governor Knowles' 2004 US Senate race. After her election work, Beth joined the Municipality of Anchorage in 2004 as the founding director of the Anchorage Park Foundation, a nonprofit organization raising funds and public support for Anchorage's parks and recreation programs. Under Beth's leadership, the Anchorage Park Foundation grew rapidly, creating groundbreaking public private partnerships to improve parks through restored ecosystems and enhanced recreation opportunities.In just seven years, the APF has raised more than $18 million dollars for Anchorage parks, trails and recreation opportunities. Beth's work with the foundation has been instrumental in shaping this charity into the thriving organization it is today, inspiring community members, public and private partners and volunteers to invest in their community through a commitment to healthy, safe and vital parks.
Since joining the Anchorage Park Foundation, Beth's proudest achievement is the creation and expansion of the Youth Employment in Parks program (YEP). Each summer, YEP employs hard-working urban teens to offer free recreation programs and complete park improvement projects throughout the community. Teens develop job skills and experience while improving public lands and offering free recreation programs to inspire kids to spend their summers the old-fashioned way: active, outdoors and immersed in creative play. YEP parks crews complete park improvement projects focused on restoring and protecting the natural environment and promoting recreation opportunities by building trails, protecting forests and restoring waterways in Anchorage parks. The YEP program is recognized nation-wide for its approach to connecting youth to job skills development while building engagement in public lands and restoring green space.
Beth lives with her husband Jim and daughter Ella next to a great sledding hill at Balto Seppala Park in Anchorage, Alaska.