By Emmy ​Luenemann
ASC Freshwater Microplastics Adventurer

Denali, Denali National Park, Alaska (Photo by Emmy Luenemann)

​Denali National Park is one of the most fantastic, awe-inspiring places in the whole world. Every turn, whether it’s on the road, the trail or the riverbed, is more spectacular than the last. 

I ventured to the park with my brother, Brian Luenemann, a photographer in Anchorage, Alaska, in September 2015 to observe and photograph the Denali wolves. During our last visit there in 2010, we were fortunate to view four adults and three pups for a few hours near the Toklat River. Just thinking about their haunting howls gives me chills to this day. Their population has been in decline over the past few years, and all we saw on this trip were some tracks on the East Fork of the Toklat River.


Raven, Denali National Park, Alaska (Photo by Brian Luenemann)

While we were there, I also participated in the ASC Global Microplastics Initiative, taking water samples at the Teklanika River and Savage River deep in the heart of Denali. The Tek is a braided, glacier-fed river that quietly meanders around the Alaska Range, while the Savage, which lives up to its name, is a wild thundering beast. After sampling, we had a blast throwing sticks into it and watching them splinter into oblivion.

The experience of working with this project gave me a better understanding of the effect that microplastics have on our environment, and I’m and honored to have contributed to the conservation efforts of ASC.


Taking samples for the ASC Global Microplastics Initiative on the Savage River, Denali National Park, Alaska. (Photo by Brian Luenemann)


Bull moose and fall foliage, Denali National Park, Alaska. (Photo by Brian Luenemann)


Aurora borealis, Teklanika River, Denali National Park, Alaska. (Photo by Brian Luenemann)

Learn more about ASC on our website, the Field Notes blog, and our FacebookTwitterInstagram and Google+ pages. ​Find more of Brian Luenemann’s photography at