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The Inian Islands Institute has passed the halfway mark of its $1,000,000 campaign to purchase what’s known as “The Hobbit Hole,” a five-acre former homestead on the Inian Islands.
Halfway to the Hobbit Hole 042617 AE 1 Mackenzie Fisher, Capital City Weekly The Inian Islands Institute has passed the halfway mark of its $1,000,000 campaign to purchase what’s known as “The Hobbit Hole,” a five-acre former homestead on the Inian Islands.

The second annual Inian Islands Institute volunteer work party celebrates after cleaning up in the spring of 2016. Photo courtesy of Zachary Brown.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Story last updated at 4/25/2017 - 3:40 pm

Halfway to the Hobbit Hole

The Inian Islands Institute has passed the halfway mark of its $1,000,000 campaign to purchase what’s known as “The Hobbit Hole,” a five-acre former homestead on the Inian Islands.

They have the rest of 2017 to get the rest of the way.

The Inian Islands Institute is the brainchild of Gustavus-grown Zachary Brown, who’s working towards making the institute “a field school dedicated to educating the next generation of environmental leaders.”

A recent Juneau Community Foundation press release adds that the purchase of the homestead will solidify a permanent home for the institute that will operate as a place to execute its mission of education, research, and community within “a protected cove in (a) maze of islands.”

Brown, who is the institute’s executive director, raised awareness of and money for the dream by walking north and then paddling to The Hobbit Hole in April 2014, after graduating from Stanford University.

“Things have been moving quickly here — we had several great student courses out here last summer, and we have several more on the docket this summer,” Brown wrote in an email.

Some of those courses are through a partnership between The University of Alaska Southeast and the institute, which have come together to offer environmentally conscious courses, like one last summer on environmental rhetoric.

Videos of classes and activities from summer 2016 are available at youtube.com/watch?v=XXvq26m7jRw.

“When you educate, it’s like blowing seeds in the wind. You never know where they are going to land, where they’re going to take root, or what beauty is going to come of that, all you know is that you’re creating a bigger difference than you could possibly ever do on your own,” Brown said in the video.

The Juneau Community Foundation is involved in the institute’s effort to purchase The Hobbit Hole through its offer of $20,000 in matching donations. Those who wish to donate and have their donation matched can visit http://juneaucf.org/index.php/special-project-inian-islands-institute/.

This summer, July 6-10, the Institute will be hosting its annual volunteer work party, an effort to get supporters together to work on maintenance and construction projects around the property. Brown described the process in an email as “building this field school with our hands, while we build it through our fundraising efforts.”