Elisa Russ has lived in Alaska since 1992 and in Homer since 1996, give or take a few forays to other parts of the state for job opportunities. During that time Elisa has volunteered for many non-profit organizations including KBCS, Cook Inletkeeper, and Friends of Kachemak Bay State Park. Environmental advocacy has long been an important part of Elisa's life, beginning with her days at the Citizens for Social Responsibility in Northern California, fighting to phase out chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and advocating for the development of technologies utilizing sustainable energy, before moving to Alaska. In 1997 she co-founded KARE, Kachemak Advocates for REcycling, and in 1998 she held the first Earth Day celebration at Big E's Eatery, her Homer business at the time. Most recently she served on the Board of Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges (Friends) for 5 years where she was the Outreach Coordinator and coordinated several large photography exhibits of Refuge lands in Homer, Anchorage, Juneau, and Cold Bay. Elisa enjoys exploring the connections between art and nature and nurturing those relationships through partnerships, including several collaborative events with Friends and Bunnell Street Arts Center.
Currently, Elisa is employed as a fisheries biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) working with commercial groundfish and shellfish fisheries in Cook Inlet, the North Gulf Coast, and Prince William Sound. Ensuring that Alaska's renewable fish and wildlife resources and their habitats are conserved and managed on the sustained yield principle is a tenet of ADF&G's mission statement that Elisa holds dear and advocates for in her work.
In Elisa's free time she enjoys skiing, hiking, biking, yoga, dancing to live music including attending Salmonfest (every year since its inception as Salmonstock) and simply appreciating the natural beauty of this great state, particularly the landscape of Kachemak Bay.