Special Project – Inian Islands Institute

Inian Islands Institute Special Project

Inian Island Institute



Brief Description: We are raising funds to purchase a beautiful and remote 5-acre homestead in the heart of the Southeast Alaskan Wilderness, the permanent home of Inian Islands Institute. Locally known as the Hobbit Hole, this place was a major Tlingit summer camp, and more recently a fishermen’s haven of deep importance to the local communities. We are turning this place into an institute for education, research, and community.

Who is raising funds: Zach Brown (Executive Director) and the rest of the Inian Islands Institute team.

How much needs to be raised: The overall project to purchase the Hobbit Hole homestead is a $1 million deal. In this special project, the Institute team is working to raise $20K to match a generous gift from Juneau Emergency Medical Associates (JEMA).

JEMA is committed to helping the communities of S.E. Alaska and the place we are fortunate to share. In helping the Inian Islands Institute we hope to foster good stewardship through education that will benefit generations to come.

The Juneau Community Foundation joins the Inian Island Institute in thanking our local business partner JEMA!

Timeline: December 31, 2017


Inian Island Institute



Inian Islands Institute Special Project

Join us in building a one-of-a-kind field school, deep in the heart of Southeast Alaska’s wild lands and rich waters.

Far west of Juneau, perched in the powerful ocean passes connecting Alaska’s Inside Passage to the Gulf of Alaska, lie the Inian Islands. This isolated archipelago is part of the largest contiguous expanse of protected land in the world. On a protected cove in this maze of islands is a remarkable 5-acre homestead locally known as the Hobbit Hole. Originally a major Tlingit summer camp, this place has most recently been the home of fishermen Jane, Greg, and Fred Howe – and a gathering place for members of nearby communities who are forever drawn to its beauty, isolation, and strategic location.

Growing up in Gustavus, Zach Brown knew the Hobbit Hole as a boy, having traveled there with his family many times. He was in the middle of his PhD studies at Stanford University when the property came up for sale – which he immediately recognized as an opportunity to be seized. He gathered a team and began honing a vision for a field school like no other.

Inian Islands Institute is dedicated to education, research, and community. In our field-based courses, our students undertake wilderness exploration, subsistence living, and a rigorous scientific curriculum and research projects, thus honing tangible scientific skills, field savvy, and deep connection to the natural world. At the same time, we provide basic scientific laboratory facilities, hosting visiting researchers doing scientific work in the region – to help establish key baselines and inform management decisions about our local natural resources. Finally, we protect and maintain this beloved homestead as a public space for use by local communities. We invite you to watch this video to learn more about the Inian Islands Institute story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXvq26m7jRw

We are now underway in our capital campaign to raise the funds to purchase this amazing property. This Special Project is the result of a generous gift from Juneau Emergency Medical Associates that we intend to match in partnership with Juneau Community Foundation.

We hope you will consider giving, and join us on this adventure in the heart of Wilderness!