Sitka Conservation Society
Jul 31 2012

Fishing for Change: a talk about Alaskan fishermen’s role in salmon enhancement and restoration

Elizabeth Cockrell, Sustainable Salmon Intern with the Sitka Conservation Society will explore the role fishermen played in the development of Alaska’s sustainable fisheries and management policies on Sunday, August 5th, 5pm at Kettleson Memorial Library.

Jul 19 2012

SCS Wilderness Boat Cruise – Sun. August 5th, 1 – 4 pm

Join us as we cruise north to the the West Chichagof Wilderness Area.  We’ll travel through Salisbury Sound to Fish Bay and Suloia Bay.  Guest speakers will include SCS Wilderness Coordinator, Adam Andis and Darrin Kelley, USFS Wilderness Ranger.

Tickets are $35 and can be purchased with cash or check at Old Harbor Books located at 201 Lincoln Street.  Boarding will begin at 12:45 pm at the Crescent Harbor Loading Dock.  Hot beverages are complimentary and binoculars are available to use.  You are welcome to bring your own snacks.

These cruises are heavily discounted due to a generous non-profit rate donated by Allen Marine.  There are no additional discounts for babies, children or seniors.

Jul 10 2012

SCS Recommends: St. Lazaria Island Talk and Reopening of Bird Cam

Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges will celebrate the reopening of the St. Lazaria live sea bird cam 7 p.m., Thursday, July 12, at Harrigan Centennial Hall. Refuge Manager Steve Delehanty and biologist Leslie Slater will speak about St. Lazaria and provide an update of the ongoing research of the more than 500,000 nesting seabirds. For further information, contact Krisanne Rice at 747-4932

Jul 10 2012

Exciting Opportunities to Piggy-back with SCS and Reach Remote Locations!

The Sitka Conservation Society field crews are doing remote field work throughout the Tongass this summer.   Our field work this summer includes salmon-habitat restoration work at Sitkoh River and Sitkoh Lake, ecosystem conservation and connectivity work in Hoonah Sound, invasive plant removal in Wilderness Areas, helping teach a visiting University course on Alaska’s Forests, Fisheries and Wilderness, and much more.   On some of the trips, there are opportunities to jump on some of our flights or transport to get out to remote locations.  We hope that SCS members can take advantage of these opportunities and  get out to know and experience our Tongass backyard!

1)  Kayak Drop Off at False Island in Peril Straits, July 13th, $150:  Have you ever wanted to paddle the coast of the infamous Deadman’s Reach, watch for bubble-net feeding whales off Povorotni Island, walk through the majestic stands of Sitka Spruce in Ushk Bay, and ride the tidal currents through Segius Narrows?    Next weekend could be your chance to do it!!!  SCS is taking an Allen Marine transport boat that will be picking up a University Class at False Island on July 13th at 9am.  We have room for a total of 9 kayaks and camping gear (can be double Kayaks).   Reserve your spot on this transport and Kayak drop-off for $150 by contacting or 747-7509 (fee helps pay for transport to the site.  You are responsible for your own expedition, gear, etc.  We will drop you off at the False Island dock)

2) Peril Strait Boat Cruise Ride-Along, July 13th, $45:  The trip from Sitka North through Peril Straits is a maze of twisting waterways, islands, mountains, treacherous tidal currents, and beautiful bays and coves.  Ride along with SCS on an Allen Marine Boat for a pick-up at False Island.  The boat will leave at 9am and will return at approximately 1pm.  Bring your charts and see if you can follow-along with the route through the passage that separates Baranof and Chichagof Islands!  There are only 2 spots available on this trip so if you are interested in this opportunity to travel through Peril Straits, get your tickets now at SCS Offices.

3)  Float Plane Drop-off at Goulding Harbor in the West Chichagof Wilderness Area July 30th or 31st ($150/person):   Goulding Harbor is one of the most spectacular nooks in the West Chichagof Wilderness Areas.  Its unique shoreline is dimpled and littered with islets and coves and the long sloping beaches make for great brown bear habitat.  Two trail-heads depart from Goulding Harbor. One leads to White Sulfur Springs and the other follows an old mining rail-road to the Goulding Lakes.  It is an amazing place for a  wild and remote Wilderness Adventure.  SCS has scheduled a float plane pick-up at Goulding Harbor for a crew that will be coming in from a Wilderness expedition.  If you would like to take advantage of a float-plane drop off to explore the Goulding Harbor Area, this is your chance.  Contact (747-7509) for more information (This is a drop-off only.  Participants are responsible for their own travel plans and arrangements after drop-off).

Keep watching for more opportunities to get out and explore the Tongass.  SCS already has boat cruises scheduled and there may be more opportunities to piggy-back for travel to remote Wilderness Areas!


Jul 05 2012

SCS Recommends: The Rise and Fall of Alaska’s Canned Salmon Industry

An “uncanned” history talk about a critical piece of Alaskan history. Nic Mink, Asst. Professor of Environmental Studies at Knox College, will explore the growth of the canned salmon industry in Alaska by examining the development of Alaska’s economy, culture and the environment.  The talk is free and open to the public and will take place at 5:00 pm on Sunday, June 15th at Kettleson Memorial Library.

Jun 11 2012

SCS Community Salmon Bake – Thursday, July 19th


Sitka Conservation Society will hold a Community Salmon Bake fundraiser on Thursday, July 19th at 6pm at Harrigan Centennial Hall. Tickets cost $20 per person ($15 for children 12 and under). Dinner will begin around 6:30 and feature local salmon, delicious sides, and local rhubarb sundaes! Door prizes will be given away. Funds raised support salmon education and outreach programming at SCS. Tickets will be on sale at Old Harbor Books at 20l Lincoln Street.

May 29 2012

Kayak Skills/Rescue & Wilderness Monitoring Training

Saturday, June 9 and Sunday, June 10, 2012, 10am-5pm

ACA instructors Adam Andis and Darrin Kelly will teach all of the skills you need to be a safe and confident paddler, so that you can get out and enjoy our coastal wilderness areas and volunteer with the Sitka Community Wilderness Stewardship Project to collect needed baseline data. The class will include kayak skills for beginning to advanced paddlers, self and assisted rescue training, and Wilderness monitoring training, including an invasive plant ID lesson from Kitty LaBounty.

This two day course is open only to current SCS members so be sure to join or renew your membership when you sign up. Space is very limited, so sign up early!

To sign up or for more information, contact SCS at 747-7509.

Cost is $75 for the 2-day course (drysuits included). Kayak rental is $35 per day through Latitude Adventures. A 10% will be offered to participants who provide their own drysuit.

Skills Course Agenda:

Day 1

1000 Introduction (15 min)

  • Intros- instructors, SCS, Wilderness Project
  • Itinerary
  • Site logistics- food, water, hot drinks, bathroom, changing area
  • ACA
  • outline course expectations
  • safety briefing- PFD always on in water, helmets, hypothermia risk & mitigation, paying attention to each other and instructors)
  • liability release

1015 On Shore Presentations (55 min)

  • Equipment orientation – drysuits later
  • Personal clothing and gear
  • PFD’s, wetsuits, spray skirts
  • Safety equipment
  • Basic boat design and kayak terminology
  • Boat fit and adjustment
  • Boat/body weld
  • Foot brace adjustment
  • Spray skirt attachment/release
  • Dry land “wet exit” drill
  • Paddle orientation and use
  • basic paddle technique

1110 Break (5 min)

1115 Launching & Landing (30min)

  • The paddling environment: wind, waves, weather, water (overview)
  • Carrying kayak to and from water
  • Entry/exit of kayak from shore or dock
  • Boat stability, “hip wiggle,”
  • Allow students a few minutes to paddle around and get oriented with their kayak

1145 Basic Strokes & Skills (60 min)

  • Rafting up
  • Sweep stroke (forward/reverse/pivot in place)
  • Forward Stroke
  • Reverse stroke and stopping
  • Draw stroke

High and low braces (hip snap/boat lean/lower body control) – discussion, not practice

1245 Lunch (30 min)

  • risk management triangle

1315 Rescues (3 hr 15 min)

  • hi and low brace
  • t-rescue demo (2 instructors)
  • stirrup demonstration
  • assisted rescue variations (stirrup, swamping the kayak)
  • students practice
  • paddle-float demo
  • students practice
  • paddle-float re-entry and roll (if time available)
  • advanced bracing- sculling
  • all-in practice

1630 Wrap up (20 min)

  • get out of dry suits

1650 Debrief (10 min)

  • tomorrow’s itinerary


Day 2

1000 Monitoring Training (1hr 50 min)

  • Plant ID Training (Kitty LaBounty) (40 min)
  • Solitude Monitoring (20 min)
  • History of Wilderness/Wilderness Character (10 min)
  • LNT and Rec. Site (40)

1150 Paddling Environment (extended) (50 min)

  • Tides- theory and practice
  • Charts
  • Weather
  • Basic navigation

1240 Lunch (45 min)

  • Expectations for the day
  • Prepare to get on the water- get dressed, personal gear and snacks, fill water bottles

1325 Practice and tour (3 hr 5 min)

  • Skills and limitations (next steps)
  • staying together
  • emergencies
  • boat traffic
  • skills- stroke refinement, edging, running draws
  • continued LNT training and practice
  • Communication- equipment and protocol
    • Signaling
    • Boat traffic/Rules of the Road
    • “What’s in my PFD?” and “What’s in my cockpit?”

1630 Return and Debrief (30 min)

  • Return gear
  • Thanks and continue to stay involved in SCS Wilderness Project
Apr 27 2012

May is National Bike to Work Month!

All of us here at SCS hope that you will join us in riding our bikes to work during the month of May in honor of National Bike Month!  Our friends at SEARHC, Yellow Jersey Cycles, UAS, Rotary, and Sitka Community Hospital have a load of events that will knock your sprockets off!  Be sure to check out the event schedule and don’t miss out!

Learn more at the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition website.

Happy riding!

Apr 17 2012

Fish to Schools to be Honored at Benefit Dinner on Wednesday 4/25

When people from the lower 48 think of Alaska, images of the Deadliest Catch, the debate around drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the open tundra of the north often come to mind. But, there is a lot more to Alaska.

Despite the long winters and short summers Alaska is joining the nation’s growing farm to school movement. There are only a few farm to school programs in the Last Frontier recognized by the Alaska Farm to School Program. One of those programs is Fish to School.

Sitka’s Fish to School program is coordinated by the Sitka conservation Society, but it relies on the entire community to make it happen. It is a stellar program that interweaves a stream to plate curriculum, hands-on learning, tours of local processors and fish options on the cafeteria menus. This is the second year running and it is getting better with age. Even Alaska’s First Lady Parnell had a Fish to School lunch with the students on April 11th.

The Alaska Farm to School Program also thinks it is an A-plus project. On April 25th, SCS’s Fish to School program will be honored with the award of best farm to school program in Alaska for the 2011-2012 school year. Johanna Heron from the state’s Department of Natural Resources will present the award during a special Benefit dinner that will raise funds to cover the cost of next year’s school fish lunches.

The Benefit dinner will be prepared by Chef Colette Nelson, proprietor of Ludvig’s Bistro, and Pacific High School students. Chef Nelson, has been creating recipes for students at Pacific High School throughout the winter. Students rotate the responsibility of preparing lunch for the rest of the small alternative school as part of their food handler’s license job training. And then, they voted on their favorite recipe.

Crispy Oven Baked Rockfish won overwhelmingly. That entrée will be featured at the Benefit dinner and will be a model for future school lunches. The menu also includes salad with Alaska grown beets, sweet potato fries, blackened broccoli, home made bread, and carrot cake with Alaska grown carrots.

This is a community wide award ceremony and Benefit. Sitka proves that it defiantly takes a village to feed local, healthy seafood to the children and teach them about the wonders of fishing. Volunteer coordinators, the school food management service, fishermen, Tlingit elders all make the Fish to School program the best in Alaska, and possibly the best in the nation.

If you are in Sitka on April 25th, Sitka Conservation Society invites you to celebrate Fish to Schools. Eat some fish, support this local initiative, have fun, and help keep local fish in the schools! It will take place at Sweetland Hall on the historic Sheldon Jackson Campus. Doors open at 5:30pm and dinner begins at 6:00pm. Pricing structure: $20.00 adults, $15 seniors/students, and $5.00 for children. Tickets are available at Old Harbor Books.

To learn more about the Fish to School program visit and for information about the event, contact Tracy Gagnon at (907) 747-7509 or

Apr 05 2012

Backwoods: “Gardening for Alaska’s Pollinators- the birds, bees and beetles!”

Speaker, Deborah Rudis is a Wildlife

Biologist and the Environmental Contaminants Specialist
for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Ecological Services
Offi ce in Juneau, where she has worked since January
1989. She is the FWS Alaska Region – Pollinator
Coordinator and is encouraging the National Wildlife
Refuges in Alaska to initiate bee surveys. She is
particularly interested in the promotion of fl owering plants,
especially in their importance to native pollinator species.

Tuesday, April 17


UAS Room 106



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  • Hungry for Huckleberry Pie, Venison Stew, or Fresh Greens? Come to the Wild Foods Potluck Nov. 2!
  • Stand Up to Corporate Influence!
  • Kayaking Kootznoowoo: Report on SCS’s Final Wilderness Trip
  • Encouraging Local Natural Resource Stewardship on the Tongass: Kennel Creek
  • Teaching the Alaska way of Life: 4-H in Sitka
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