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AARP Alaska Grant Helps Dillingham Residents Manage Fish Waste

DILLINGHAM, AK - Using funds from a 2021 AARP Community Challenge Grant, the Dillingham Friends of the Landfill committee are working to improve landfill management and access to the fish waste disposal area.  These practices reduce human-bear interaction around the landfill, keeping both residents and animals safe. Friends of the Landfill is a volunteer group that works advocates for practices supporting the community solid waste program.

Paul Liedberg, founder of Dillingham Friends of the Landfill, discussed what the AARP grant has meant to the organization and the broader community. “As the community has transitioned to an improved system for fish waste disposal, the AARP grant has greatly aided residents and landfill managers alike. This dovetails with other elements intended to reduce bear activity at the landfill.” 

The grant was essential in distributing 300 AARP-branded five-gallon buckets to Dillingham’s 50+ population and their families for fish waste disposal. Furthermore, the grant supported the installation of an all-weather plywood walkway to the fish waste bin created in 2018, increasing ease of access and the use of the structure. 

“Our goal at AARP Alaska is to support the efforts of our communities to be great places for people of all backgrounds, ages, and abilities,” said AARP Alaska State Director Teresa Holt. “While Alaskans may face some unique livability challenges – including finding balance with nearby wildlife – it’s critical that we continue to tackle those issues to keep our elders healthy and safe.”

The AARP Community Challenge Grant helps cities and non-profit organizations make immediate improvements that spark long-term progress in creating more livable communities nationwide. In 2021, the AARP Community Challenge distributed nearly $3.2 million among 244 grant winners.

The Community Challenge grant program is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative, which helps communities become great places to live for residents of all ages. View the complete list of grantees and their project descriptions at and view an interactive map of all of the Community Challenge projects and AARP Alaska’s livable communities work at

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