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

Former Democratic state Rep. Beth Kerttula holds up a sign reading "Vot No Con Con," during a Saturday rally at the Dimond Courthouse Plaza in Juneau. Opposition to a constitutional convention, which could alter the Alaska State Constitution to allow for banning abortions was a frequent topic during the protest. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Constitutional convention ballot question in November becomes focus in Alaska’s abortion fight

Abortion rights supporters urge ‘no’ votes on question, while abortion opponents seek changes to constitution

Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, arrives to testify as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Aide: Trump dismissed Jan. 6 threats, wanted to join crowd

Cassidy Hutchinson, a little-known former White House aide, described an angry, defiant president that day

Gov. Mike Dunleavy signs Alaska’s fiscal year 2023 operating and capital budgets into law on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s office)
Dunleavy signs budget

$3,200 in payments to Alaskans, money for local projects included

In this April 11, 2018 photo state Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau, walks out of the Senate chambers and to a reception to honor him and Sen. Berta Gardner, D-Anchorage, at the Capitol. Both were retiring from the legislature. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Dennis Egan, former state lawmaker and Juneau mayor, dies

He fought hard to keep the capital in Juneau

Haze can be seen on the horizon from North Kenai Beach on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. An air quality advisory was issued for Southcentral Alaska on Tuesday, triggered by ongoing wildfires in the southwest that have produced increased levels of smoke in the region. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Air quality advisory issued for Southcentral

The advisory was triggered by ongoing wildfires in the southwest that have produced increased levels of smoke

Bradley Walters leads the pack up Angle Hill on Wednesday, July 18, 2018, at the Salmon Run Series at Tsalteshi Trails. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Summer races kick off at Tsalteshi

The annual Salmon Run Series 5K races start on July 6 and continue every Wednesday through Aug. 3

Central Emergency Services staff wait to receive doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly mulls bond for new CES fire station

Replacement of the current station is estimated to cost $16.5 million

Buldozers sit outside of the former Kenai Bowling Alley on Thursday, June 23, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Old Kenai bowling alley comes down

The business closed in 2015

Most Read