Sitka Conservation Society
May 03 2012

Weatherization 101: Programming You Heater

Weatherization 101 is a six part series produced by the Sitka Conservation Society and the City and Borough of Sitka Electric Department to help Sitkans increase their energy awareness, conserve electricity, and save money.  Links to all six videos are below.

The State of Alaska has set a goal of achieving a 15% increase in energy efficiency per capita by 2020.  This effort is especially important in Sitka because the demand for electricity exceeds supply.  This effort is also important because the community has set goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  In an effort to help Sitkans take steps to reducing their energy use and save money on energy costs, SCS has teamed up with local partners to create a series of “how-to” videos.  The partners in the project include the City of Sitka Electric Department, Sitka Girl Scout Troop 4140, and local contractor Marcel LaPerriere.

Weatherization 101:  Programming your Heater

You can save up to 10% of your space heating bill by turning your heater 3 degrees lower for only 8 hours a day.  This video demonstrate how to use a programmable thermostat on a Toyo Heater.


Weatherization 101: Lightbulbs

Weatherization 101: Hot Water Heater

Weatherization 101: Choosing the Right Type of Caulking for SE Alaska

Weatherization 101: Caulking with Troop 4140

Weatherization 101: Home Breaker Panels

Video by Andre Lewis.


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



Mar 30 2012

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Classes in Sitka, April 25-29

Attention aspiring outdoors-women!

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) courses are coming to Sitka, April 25-29. Register today for bowhunting, firearm safety, rifle, shotgun and muzzleloading classes. Space is limited, so sign up today! Classes will be held at the Sitka Sportsman’s Association indoor range. Call Holley at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for more information – 747-5449. We’ll see you there!

Class information and forms: (click here for the full class schedule)

Archery: $30 online exam fee. This is a two-part class: register and take part one online at At the end of the online test, you will receive a “Field Day Qualifier Certificate” that will qualify you to participate in the field day on April 25, 6-10 p.m.

Rifle: April 27, 6-9 p.m. Cost is $40. Make checks payable to Outdoor Heritage Foundation. Maximum 8 students. Requires completion of the Basic Firearm Safety course (included in registration) on April 26, 6-9p.m. Rifle workshop flier and registration form.

Muzzleloader: April 28, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Cost is $20, checks payable to State of Alaska. Maximum 12 students. Participants must complete a study packet (available at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game office) before class begins. Muzzleloading flier.

Shotgun: April 29, 12-4 p.m. Cost is $40, checks payable to Outdoor Heritage Foundation. Maximum 8 students. Requires completion of the Basic Firearm Safety course (included in registration) on April 26, 6-9p.m. Shotgun workshop flier and registration form.


All registrations and payments (except archery) are accepted at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game office, 304 Lake St. #103, 747-5449

Mar 29 2012

Weatherization 101: Caulking with Troop 4140

Girl Scout Troop 4140 has been learning all about energy during their Get Moving Energy Journey project as they work towards completing the requirements for their badge.  Part of their project was to share what they learn with the community.  In this video, join Girl Scouts from troop 4140 as they demonstrate the proper techniques for chalking your home.

Weatherization 101: Caulking from Sitka Conservation Society on Vimeo.

Weatherization 101 is a six part series produced by the Sitka Conservation Society and the City and Borough of Sitka Electric Department to help Sitkans increase their energy awareness, conserve electricity, and save money.

Video by Andre Lewis.

Mar 28 2012

Parade of Species 2012!

The 11th Annual Parade of Species, hosted by the Sitka Conservation Society will be held on Earth Day, April 22nd.

Parade participants are invited to dress as their favorite animal or plant and join us at Totem Square at 2pm.  The parade will begin at 2:15pm when we will gallop, slither, swim, or fly down Lincoln Street to the Rasmusen Center on Sheldon Jackson Campus where a number of community organization will be hosting games and activities for the whole family!

Prizes will be awarded for: Best Use of Recycled Material, Most Creative, Most Realistic, and Best Local Animal.

Also, be sure to check out the SCS online event calendar to see all of the earth-related events going on around town in April.


Thanks everyone for making the 2012 Parade of Species so much FUN!  Check out the photos from the event on Facebook HERE.

Earth Day Timeline:

2:00pm – Gather at Totem Square
2:15pm – Announcements and line-up for the Parade
2:30pm – March down Lincoln Street to SJ Campus
3:00pm – Activities and games at Rasmusen Center, awards will be given for best costumes
4:30pm – Wrap up, head home for dinner,  and start planning next year’s costume!

Organizations Hosting Activities After the Parade:

US Forest Service

Big Brothers/Big Sisters

Sitka Global Warming Group

Sitka Tribe of Alaska

National Park Service

Raptor Center


Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Alaska-Way-of-Life 4H

Girl Scouts of Sitka

Sitka Conservation Society


Mar 22 2012

Weatherization 101: Lightbulbs

Girl Scout Troop 4140 has been learning all about energy during their Get Moving Journey, which focuses on energy. The journey consists of three prestigious Girl Scout awards, each containing several projects within itself. In addition to the regular Journey requirements, Junior troop 4140 took an additional task of recording weatherization videos to promote energy efficiency.  Join Girl Scouts from troop 4140 in this video to learn about light(two word)bulbs and how to choose more efficient lighting..

Weatherization 101 is a six part series produced by the Sitka Conservation Society and the City and Borough of Sitka Electric Department to help Sitkans increase their energy awareness, conserve electricity, and save money.

Video by Andre Lewis.

Mar 14 2012

Sharing Nature with Keet Gooshi Heen

This is a guest post by Kavin O'Mally

      While teaching a Discovery Southeast introduction to eco-systems at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School a student blurts out…”Aren’t you supposed to be teaching us this stuff”? I stop writing on the board, thrilled to hear this. I think she just gave me away.

Our educational system tends toward rote memorization by having the student repeat an answer over and over. This is unexciting and exclusive to students who have the knowledge. This particular student figured out an educational method called the art of questioning. This teaching technique opens up space for thoughts, giving the class time to think about an answer. Sometimes, weeks go by and students will stop me in the hallway and present me with an answer to an old question or mystery.

I ask the fourth grade class a few questions. What plants and animals live outside your school? This builds confidence in the class and hands start going up. Many of the students know the answers.  What is an eco-system? What do you know about Alaska’s eco-systems?  The students are ignited by the questions. This is their opportunity to be creative by developing original answers. I continually ask more questions, building on the students answers.

Eco-systems are a big and difficult concept for fourth graders to understand. First, you have a population of plant or

Sitka 4H group smells the language of the deer.

animal such as salmonberry or deer. Then, add these individuals living in communities and interacting with the environment. Then, tack on the earth as a giant biosphere. Nature based educators make connections that help the classroom teachers explain this complex subject.

The school is seven minutes from one of Alaska’s eight eco-systems, the coastal temperate rainforest. Naturalists at Discovery Southeast use this proximity to teach hands on nature based education and connect students with real science experiences. There is not a computer, T.V. program, or book that can connect those students with the science subjects better than the forest itself.

When the students leave the heated box of the school they are energized by being outside. Calming the students down and focusing their attention is a very effective way to prepare the class for a fun learning experience. Our journey begins down a road. We are ready to discover mysteries about our flora and fauna. There is an important step we must not forget. It is what Discovery Southeast naturalists call “Opening the Gate.” Opening the Gate involves crossing your right hand over your left hand, interlocking your fingers, and then bringing that into your chest. Next cross your right leg over your left leg holding that stance for a minute. Changing the hands and feet to the reverse position completes this procedure. This is an exercise that gets kids to focus their attention on their body and senses, a meditation of sorts.  A silent moment at the end of the exercise helps us make the transition from the pavement to our natural surroundings.

The fourth grade class is ready and soon discovers a set of deer tracks. As they quiet down, I start asking the students questions about the relationships between the deer, plants and the other animals around this place. They do not seem to realize that they are explaining to each other the make-up of our eco-system. The class starts listing individual plants and animals such as red alder, salmonberry, Sitka spruce, Sitka black-tailed deer, raven and even a northern goshawk. One student adds another important piece about the abiotic components and asks me if a rock is alive or dead.

We step outside for forty minutes and our experience equates to just a fragment of the life around those children. The class accomplishes a few really important ideas. We ask questions, share each others’ nature intelligence and slow down enough to pay attention to the natural world. This inquisitive and inclusive approach to learning makes us all feel part of our outdoor science class.

There is much meaning in inquiring deeper into a subject. By asking questions the class creates unique layers of understanding probing into the life of a deer, alder or goshawk. New ideas, questions, and perspectives become part of our learning experience. In Dennie Wolf’s article” The Art of Questioning” she points out a range of questions, inference, interpretation, transfer, reflective questions, and questions about hypotheses. How educators ask the questions will bring us closer to a mystery, make a subject more exciting and keep us pondering for weeks.

Kevin O’Mally Kevin has spent six years with Discovery Southeast and is currently acting as lead naturalist for the Auke Bay elementary Nature Studies program. He leads Early Dismissal Mondays at Glacier Valley and is the assistant naturalist for the Nature Studies program there. He’s coordinated a variety of special projects such as GPS-mapping classes and winter shelter-building field trips to bring outdoor and nature education to local homeschool students. Kevin has a degree in Cultural Anthropology and recently graduated from the Kamana 4 Naturalist Training Program. He has also completed a nine-month residential naturalist training program through the Anake Outdoor School at the Wilderness Awareness School. He grew up within walking distance of Lake Erie and the Cleveland Metroparks, which helped spark his connection to nature. Even when he isn’t outside, you may catch him reading nature field guides.

Mar 05 2012

4H Alaska way-of-life: Following wild game from forest to stew.

The much anticipated deer stew has been put up, 37 pints worth! After months of patience, 4H members got to see their skinned and butchered deer turn into a shelf-stable food. And a delicious one at that! 4H members gathered around a large table full of ingredients that needed prepping. We rotated through different stations of washing and skinning potatoes, chopping garlic and onions, dicing carrots and celery, and slicing up deer and moose meat. We all commented on how together, as a community, we could accomplish so much. It brought me so much joy to be working alongside my new friends (young and younger..) putting up food until hunting season begins again next August.

After our raw ingredients were prepped we filled our jars with a little of this and a little of that. Potatoes, meat, carrot, onion, garlic and celery were layered in each jar and topped with salt, pepper, spices, and a little bit of a stock mix before carefully cleaning each jar rim and capping with a top and ring. The jars were then placed in two large pressure canners and once they reached a pressure of 10#s were cooked for 110 minutes. Once the timer alerted us that they were done, we turned off the heat letting the pressure and temperature come down naturally. Once it was safe to open, we removed the jars and delighted in the popping sound that comes with a finished product!

I have to say that this was an activity that I was really looking forward to. I feel more empowered when I can put up food for myself, knowing every ingredient and its source. I have learned that hunters are very close to the land, know its subtleties and patterns, and have a deep respect for the lives that they are taking for food. That respect is carried through the entire process from the hunt, to processing, and cooking. These 37 pints of deer stew carry with them stories of community and the gratitude of a life for a life. We will share these delicious jars with 4H volunteers, mentors, and elders to continue the story…

A big thank you to 4H Parent and Subsistence Biologist for the Forest Service, Jack Lorrigan for sharing this important skill with the 4H Alaska way-of-life Club!


Mar 05 2012

Fishermen Travel to Washington, DC to Advocate for Tongass Management that Prioritizes Wild Alaska Salmon

Salmon are the lifeblood of Sitka’s economy, culture, and way-of-life and are a keystone species in the temperate rainforest ecosystems of the Tongass.  Management of the Tongass has long focused on timber and historic logging practices were done in ways that severely damaged salmon runs.  The Forest Service has since learned that stream beds shouldn’t be used as logging roads and that there needs to be buffers between logging and salmon streams.  However, Forest Service management priorities and spending still overwhelmingly focus on timber harvest—even though salmon are really the drivers of the SE Alaska economy and the most valuable resource from the Tongass.

A group of fishermen are traveling to Washington, DC this week to lay out the facts for decision makers in Washington, DC.  They will be delivering a stack of letters from hundreds of people who use and depend on Salmon from the Tongass and ask for a shift in budget priorities in Tongass management.

To take action to help us protect Tongass Salmon, click here.


Read the Press Release Below on their visit below:

Fishermen to Forest Service: Grow Jobs, Protect Fish in America’s Salmon ForestGroup Asks Obama Administration, Congress to Strengthen Conservation and Restoration of Salmon and Trout Watersheds in Tongass National Forest

Juneau, A.K. — A group of Alaska commercial fishermen, anglers, guides, naturalists and tour operators are in Washington,
 D.C., this week to advocate for more conservation and restoration of fish habitat in the Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska. The group, together with Trout Unlimited, Alaska Program, and Sitka Conservation Society, is meeting with key lawmakers and agency leaders to seek critical changes in the management of America’s largest national forest, a top producer of wild salmon. They want conservation of critical salmon habitat and watershed restoration to become higher priorities for the U.S. Forest Service in Southeast Alaska. The group is also delivering dozens of letters from individual fishermen asking the Forest Service to make salmon a priority in the Tongass.

“Salmon and trout alone are a billion-dollar industry in Southeast Alaska that sustains more than 7,000 jo
The U.S. Forest Service is the lead agency that manages the 17-million-acre Tongass National Forest, part of the world’s largest coastal temperate rain forest that covers most of Southeast Alaska and produces tens of millions of salmon every year. Southeast Alaska commercial salmon fishermen landed nearly 74 million fish during the 2011 season, a harvest worth more than $203 million—the most valuable in the either directly or indirectly. And yet the Forest Service budget remains squarely focused on timber and road building. It doesn’t make sense given the enormous value of fish

eries in the region,” said Sheila Peterson, a Juneau commercial fisherman and co-owner of a direct marketing seafood business.

Sport fishing is also big business. Salmon and trout anglers in Southeast Alaska spent an estimated $174 million on trips, gear, and related expenses in 2007, according to economic research commissioned by Trout Unlimited. The


total economic output related to their purchases that year is estimated at $358.7 million. Salmon and trout angling also supported 2,334 jobs and generated $84.7 million in personal income in 2007. On average, sport anglers catch 900,000 salmon each year in Southeast Alaska. They also catch halibut, steelhead, trout, char, rockfish, lingcod, and other species.

Because of its stunning beauty, the Tongass draws more than 1 million tourists to Southeast Alaska every summer. Many come aboard cruise ships to view the forest’s snowcapped mountains, tidewater glaciers, pristine fjords and abundant marine and terrestrial wildlife, including brown bears, wolves and humpback whales.

Despite the bounty fishing and tourism provide to Southeast Alaska, the Forest Service budget fails to reflect this

economic reality.

The agency spends more than $25 million annually on timber sales and road building in the Tongass – an industry that supports about 200 private-sector jobs, according to the Alaska Department of Labor. At the same time, the Forest Service only invests about $1.5 million each year on watershed restoration. And yet, by the Forest Service’s own estimate, it will cost some $100 million and take 50 years at current investment rates to restore salmon-producing watersheds damaged by past logging. This funding shortfall and backlog needs to be addressed. Salmon watershed restoration will create new jobs and increase salmon productivity. More salmon will provide greater opportunity for commercial, sport, and subsistence harvest as well as additional jobs in the fishing industry.

“We hope the Forest Service will move funding in a new direction. It’s time to change the Forest

Service budget so that more money goes toward

managing the Tongass as the salmon forest it is,” said Jev Shelton, a longtime Juneau commercial fisherman who has served on many fishery boards, including the Pacific Salmon Commission.

For more than four decades, the Forest Service managed the Tongass primarily for old-growth timber produ
“There are fe

w places left in the world where wild salmon still thrive. The Tongass National Forest is one of them but we need to ensure watersheds that were damaged by past timber harvest and road building are restored to their natural conditions. The only way that’s apt to happen in a timely manner is through shifts in the Forest Service budget,” said Mark Kaelke, Trout Unlimited, Southeast Alaska Project Director.ction. But with the closure of the region’s two large pulp mills in the 1990s, the agency has begun to shift toward second-growth timber management, restoring fish-producing watersheds damaged by logging, and supporting other industries such as fishing and tourism. Trout Unlimited, Alaska P
rogram, supports the Forest Service’s transition and would like to see this policy shift reflected in a new Tongass National Forest budget that emphasizes fisheries, watershed protection and h
abitat conservation.

For more information, visit, and

Follow Us
Get Updates
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Newsletter and updates

Take Action Now
Take Action

Keep up to date on all of the issues. Check out "The Southeaster" Blog.

  • 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
Get Involved
Get Involved