Alaska bids farwell to Dirty D

Alaska bids farwell to Dirty D

It seemed as though even Mother Nature was shedding tears of farewell to Dan “Dirty D” Pascucci at his farewell picnic at Soldotna Creek Park. The rain continued as several dozen of Dan’s most ardent fans and co-workers gathered to give the Kenai Watershed Forums educational specialist a fitting send off to his new adventure in Kentucky. The endearing talent of Dan Pascucci has taught life and environmental lessons to hundreds of kids who went to school in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. Whether in rhyme or song kids on the Kenai have learned that a sea star is not a “starfish,” and that you may be ruining the dunes while you think you are enjoying the dunes.

Pascucci first came to Alaska on an internship with the Student Conservation Assoc. working with Fish & Wildlife Service, “It was supposed to be a one year internship but I stuck around for two and left for a couple of years, but then realized that nowhere else in the world is like Soldotna, Alaska so I returned as fast as I could and in 2006 I started with the Watershed Forum and took over the Adopt-A-Stream program and grew that by leaps and bounds, working with thousands of students across the Kenai Peninsula on a yearly basis. It was a great opportunity to open people’s eyes to the amazing place where we live and every year it grew and became more magical,” Dan told the Dispatch. The programs Pascucci brought to the Kenai Peninsula will make a lasting change for the kids who went through them, said Terri Carter at the farewell roast. Carter a teacher at Soldotna Montessori Charter School said many of the kids who have gone through programs with him are learning how to take ownership of their environment, whether they go on to careers in environmental work or not. “He just has this gift. The kids who have gone through his programs have already been doing work and developed winning Caring for the Kenai ideas for improving the environment,” she said. Pascucci tried but couldn’t help becoming chocked up as he concluded his final Alaskan performance. “I’m going to be moving on with my wife and baby girl Elana down to Kentucky and I’ll be working at a arboretum and research forest down there doing environmental and nature based education with school kids. Somewhat similar to what we’ve been doing here with a lot less salmon and moose. But the theme of my teaching here in Alaska has always been not to tell people what to think, but to teach people what to think about. And no matter where you go there’s always a lot to think about and learn about and questions to be asked and answers to be questioned and lots of work to do anywhere you go,” he said. Pascucci feels his work in Alaska evolved as he personally evolved, “There is just so many changes that occur in a person and in a place that if you stay in a place long enough and really pay attention you can’t help getting involved and evolving with that place.”

Soldotna Mayor Pete Sprague honored Pascucci with a proclamation that he read to those assembled. He also may have achieved a bit of immortality when water quality specialist Branden Bornemann of KWF came to the microphone and said he used to joke with Pascucci that people probably have to die to have something named for them like an airport of sporting field, “We don’t want Dan to die, so instead, the future attendees to the Kenai Watershed Forum’s summer camp will know the organization’s yurt as the “Dirty D” Yurt,” proclaimed Bornemann with official plaque that will heretofore adorn the KWF summer camp yurt.

Alaska bids farwell to Dirty D
Alaska bids farwell to Dirty D
Alaska bids farwell to Dirty D
Alaska bids farwell to Dirty D
Alaska bids farwell to Dirty D
Alaska bids farwell to Dirty D

More in News

A sign warning of a June 28, 2021, bear attack is placed at the head of the Kenai River Trail on Skilak Loop Road in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on June 30, 2021. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Federal wildlife officers seek information about early-May black bear poaching

Officials think the poaching happened near the east entrance of Skilak Loop roughly 2 miles from Jims’ Landing

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Ninilchik woman dead after Tuesday collision

The woman was attempting to cross the Sterling Highway from Oil Well Road when she was struck by a pickup truck

Graduates listen to Connections Homeschool Principal Doug Hayman speak during the school’s commencement ceremony on Thursday in Soldotna. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Graduates listen to Connections Homeschool Principal Doug Hayman speak during the school’s commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 16, 2024 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Expect a lot from yourself and from others’

Connections Homeschool students accept diplomas at commencement ceremony

Graduates of Seward High School leave the gym at the end of their graduation ceremony on Wednesday.
‘Give people something to talk about’

Seward High School graduates 30

Kenai Police Chief David Ross speaks to Kenai City Council members about an ordinance that would repeal sections of city code that prohibit public sleeping and loitering and the city’s curfew on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai OKs repeal of loitering laws, curfew for minors

The policies, first enacted in 1978, are difficult to enforce and potentially violate citizens’ rights, according to the Kenai Police Department

Nikiski Middle/High School graduates throw their caps into the air at the conclusion of a graduation ceremony in the school’s gym in Nikiski, Alaska, on Wednesday, May 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Nikiski graduates ‘will always be a part of each other’s stories’

The graduates celebrated their time together and took a moment to anticipate the bright futures that lie ahead

A seal pup rescued from near Kenai beach is treated by the Alaska SeaLife Center’s Wildlife Response Program on May 9, 2024. (Photo courtesy Kaiti Grant/Alaska SeaLife Center)
SeaLife Center admits abandoned harbor seal pups

Both seals were found abandoned and malnourished, and both were born prematurely

Caitlin Babcock, left, and other graduates enter Soldotna High School’s commencement ceremony on Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna sends off more than 140 graduates at Tuesday commencement

More than 140 students stepped off the Soldotna High School graduation stage… Continue reading

Most Read