Suki Patterson: Coastal Clean-up Crusader

Suki Patterson: Coastal Clean-up Crusader

Maintenance Manager Patterson embodies Coastal CODE spirit

Decades ago, the Patterson kids would be dropped off at the end of the road with bags, left to walk home, picking up trash on the way.

It turns out, this is a pretty effective way to teach stewardship.IMG_1237

Suki Patterson picks up any litter or marine debris she comes across to this day. Her parents have kept up the habit as well. Suki always carries a few small bags in her pack on dog walks or hikes, and has augmented her routine with a trash-picker pole, which makes picking up tiny objects, like cigarette butts, easier.

“It’s actually kind of a hobby,” she said. “Or more of an obsession — hobby makes it sound fun.”

Picking up trash isn’t what one would call fun, but removing what is at best a blight and at worst a danger to the ecosystem and environment makes it a worthy habit.

Growing up a “Coast Guard brat” and serving in the Coast Guard herself, Suki has cleaned up trash along the much of the U.S. and territorial coastline, including Alabama and Puerto Rico, though having settled down, it’s mostly Alaska that benefits from her tenacity now.

For the last 11 ½ years, since starting as Maintenance Manager at Alaskan Brewing Co., Suki has been active in the Coastal CODE, the charitable arm of the Brewery, which derives funding from 1 percent of Icy Bay IPA sales. The CODE predominantly provides grants to organizations for cleanups and coastal health, but also includes some hands-on coastal cleanup efforts.

Suki’s organizing this year’s crew of volunteers for a wetlands cleanup on April 23 this year.

“I’m not an activist, but I’m fairly good at motivation,” Suki said.

She estimates about 25 to 30 employees participate in the city-wide or wetlands cleanup each year. On top of the regular grants and local involvement, Alaskan Brewing Co. has partnered with Washington CoastSavers this year to raise funds, rally volunteers and get out on the beaches to clean up.

“It’s important,” Suki said. “If people really think about what it means — Clean Oceans Depend on Everyone — it’s really putting ownership and the onus on all of us. It really does depend on everyone.”

Learn more about Coastal CODE at