The Sitka Community Wilderness Stewardship Project seeks to connect communities with their local Wilderness areas by facilitating volunteer stewardship and monitoring. Over the past three years, the project has been an overwhelming success and will be continuing in to 2012 and 2013.
This is the Final Report for the 2011 Community Wilderness Stewardship Project. Components of the Data Report for the 2011 project can be found below.
Can’t see the report? Down load the pdf here: Wilderness Project 2011 Final Report
2011 Data Report
* Data is primarily for Sitka Ranger District. Data for other ranger districts can be found in the in reports specific to each Wilderness Area in thefull project file below.
Wilderness Stewardship Project 2011 – Full Project File- The full project file contains all photos, reports, data, radio interviews, videos, and products from the 2011 project. (This is a large file–3.5 Gb)
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
Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Girl Scouts of Sitka
Sitka Conservation Society
The Sitka Conservation Society is seeking an applicant to support the Sitka Community Wilderness Stewardship Project. The Wilderness Intern will assist SCS’s Wilderness Project manager to coordinate and lead monitoring expeditions during the 2012 summer field season.
If interested, please review the position description below and submit a resume and cover letter to Adam Andis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This position is now closed.
Position Title: SCS Wilderness Project Internship
Host Organizations: Sitka Conservation Society
Location: Sitka, Alaska
Duration: 14 weeks, starting in May 2013. Specific start and end dates to be determined by intern and SCS
Compensation: $ 4664 plus travel
Benefits: Intern will receive no health or dental benefits. Intern is responsible for housing (SCS will try to assist in finding low-cost housing options). SCS will provide appropriate training for fieldwork in Southeast Alaska.
Organization: The Sitka Conservation Society (SCS) is a grassroots, membership-based organization dedicated to the conservation of the Tongass Temperate Rainforest and the protection of Sitka’s quality of life. We have been active in Sitka, Alaska for over 45 years as a dynamic and concerned group of citizens who have an invested interest in their surrounding natural environment and the future well-being of their community. We are based in the small coastal town of Sitka, Alaska, located on the rugged outer west coast of Baranof Island. Surrounded by the towering trees of the Tongass National Rainforest, the community has successfully transformed from an industrial past and the closure of a local pulp mill to a new economy featuring a diversity of employers and small businesses.
Background: The Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska is the nation’s largest National Forest totaling 17 million acres with almost 6 million acres of designated Wilderness Area (also the largest total Wilderness area of any National Forest). The Sitka Ranger District alone encompasses over 1.6 million acres of countless islands, glaciated peaks and old growth forests. In 2009, SCS partnered with the Sitka Ranger District (SRD) to ensure the two Wilderness areas near Sitka (the West Chichagof Yakobi and South Baranof Wilderness Areas) meet a minimum management standard by conducting stewardship and monitoring activities and recruiting volunteers. We will be continuing this project into its fifth year and extending the project to ranger districts throughout the Tongass National Forest.
Direction and Purpose:
In this position you will be expected to assist in organizing the logistics of field trips. Trips can range from just a few nights to three weeks. Backcountry field logistics include float plane and boat transport to and from field sites; kayaking, backpacking, and packrafting on location; camping and living in bear country; field communications via satellite phone, VHF radio, and SPOT transmitters. You will be co-leading trips with SCS Staff. Depending on experience, you may have the opportunity to lead short trips of volunteers on your own.
Working with SCS Staff, this intern position will assist in the following duties:
- · collection of field data
- · coordinating logistics and volunteers for field surveys
- · plan and conduct outreach activities including preparing presentation and sharing materials on Wilderness and Leave No Trace with outfitters/guides and other Forest users.
- prepare and submit an intern summary report and portfolio of all produced materials, and other compiled outputs to the Forest Service and SCS before conclusion of the residency, including digital photos of your work experience and recreational activities in Alaska. Reports are crucial means for SCS to report on the project’s success.
- · Graduate or currently enrolled in Recreation Management, Outdoor Education, Environmental Studies or other related environmental field
- · Current Wilderness First Responder certification (by start date of position)
- · Outdoor skills including Leave-no-Trace camping, sea kayaking, multi-day backpacking
- · Ability to work in a team while also independently problem-solve in sometimes difficult field conditions.
- · Ability to communicate effectively and present issues to the lay-public in a way that is educational, inspirational, and lasting
The ideal candidate will also have:
- · Experience living or working in Southeast Alaska
- · Pertinent work experience
- · Outdoor leadership experience such as NOLS or Outward Bound
- · Ability to work under challenging field conditions that require flexibility and a positive attitude
- · Proven attention to detail including field data collection
- · Experience camping in bear country
- · Advanced sea-kayaking skills including surf zone and ability to perform rolls and rescues
Fiscal Support: SCS will provide a stipend of $4,664 for this 14 week position. SCS will also provide up to $1,000 to cover the lowest cost airfare from the resident’s current location to Sitka. Airfare will be reimbursed upon submittal of receipts to SCS.
With respect to agency/organization policy and safety, intern agrees to:
- · Adhere to the policies and direction of SCS, including safety-related requirements and training, including those related to remote travel and field work.
- · Work closely with the SCS Wilderness Project Coordinator to update him/her on accomplishments and ensure that any questions, concerns or needs are addressed.
- · Be a good representative of SCS at all times during your internship.
- · Arrange course credits with your university if applicable.
With respect to general logistics, resident agrees to:
- Seek lowest possible round trip airfare or ferry trip and book as soon as possible and before May 1st, working in conjunction with SCS whenever possible;
- Provide SCS with travel itinerary as soon as flight is booked and before arriving in Alaska. Please email itinerary to Adam Andis at email@example.com..
- Reimburse SCS for the cost of travel if you leave the intern position before the end of your assignment.
- Have fun and enjoy the experience in Sitka!
May 20-June 1: SCS and Forest Service trainings; get oriented and set up in offices; begin researching and getting up-to-speed on background info (Outfitter/Guide Use Areas, patterns of use on the Tongass National Forest (subsistence, commercial fishing, guided, recreation), Wilderness Character monitoring, Wilderness issues).
June 4 – August 17: Participate in field trips and assist in coordinating future trips, contact Outfitter and Guides to distribute educational materials, assist SCS in other Wilderness stewardship activities.
By August 20-24: Prepare final report including any outreach or media products, trip reports, and written summary of experience to SCS. Work with Wilderness Project Coordinator on final reports.
To apply please submit a cover letter and resume that includes relevant skills and experiences including documentation of trips in remote settings to Adam Andis: firstname.lastname@example.org
Application will close March 31, 2013.
Alaska Ocean Film Festival
Sheet’ ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi Community House
Thursday, March 15th
Tickets available March 2nd at Old harbor Bookstore or at the door
Brought to the good people of Sitka by the The Alaska Center for the Environment in conjunction with the Sitka Conservation Society
2012 Alaska Ocean Film Festival Program
Click the link below for previews.
Monsterboards, Holland, Matthew McGregor-Mento, 8 mins
Combine a crack up sense of deadpan humor, small waves, eco art surfboards, and a horrific fear of sharks … what do you get? Monsterboards, of course. Surf’s up, enjoy the ride!
Into the Deep with Elephant Seals, USA, Sedva Eris, 11 mins
Meet the UC Santa Cruz marine biologists using high-tech tools to track elephant seals along the San Mateo coast. Some of these marine mammals weigh 4,500 pounds, can dive for a mile, and hold their breath for an hour. The elephant seals incredible come back from near extinction is a testament to the power of protected areas.
Capture: A Waves Documentary, Peru, Dave Aabo, 22mins
This piece dives deep into the impoverished community of Lobitus, Peru and the experience of surf travelers who share their passion with the youth. Witness the opportunity for empowerment as kids learn about creativity and self-expression from international surfers turned humanitarians.
The Coral Gardener, United Kingdom, Emma Robens, 10 mins
Coral reefs are like underwater gardens, but who would have thought you can garden them in just the same way? Austin Bowden-Kerby is a coral gardener. He has brought together his love of gardening, and passion for the underwater world, to do something very special that just might save the coral reefs of Fiji. Directed by Emma Robens.
Landscapes at the World’s Ends, New Zealand, Richard Sidey, 15 mins
A non-verbal, visual journey to the polar regions of our planet portrayed through a triptych montage of photography and video. This piece is a multi-dimensional canvas of imagery recorded either above the Arctic Circle or below the Antarctic Convergence.
Eating the Ocean, USA, Jennifer Galvin, 21 mins
Narrated by Celine Cousteau, this film is a journey to the heart of Oceania where an international team of researchers studies the rapidly changing diet of French Polynesians. Through the scientists’ investigation and by spending time with families, fishermen and school children we discover a public health crisis brought on by western influences.
Birdathlon, USA, Rachel Price and Karen Lewis, 4 mins
Who will win a race that involves both air and sea? Find out when our intrepid Rhinoceros Auklet is pitted against an Arctic Tern in an Olympic-caliber spoof that demonstrates the unique physiology and biology of the Alcid species.
Team Clark Goes Canoeing: Valdez to Whittier, USA, Dan Clark, 9 mins
Simply mesmerizing. This is the story of six weeks solitude and simplicity, the rewards of submersing children in the wilderness, and the challenges that make it memorable. A dream trip for many of us, no doubt, but does that dream include diaper swap outs at the re-supply? You’re not gonna believe this one!
The Majestic Plastic Bag, USA, 4 mins.
A brilliant mockumentary about the miraculous migration of “The Majestic Plastic Bag” narrated by Jeremy Irons. It was produced by Heal The Bay as promo in support of California bill AB 1998 to help put an end to plastic pollution.
Sitka Community Wilderness Stewardship Project
Expedition Grant Program
Description: The Community Wilderness Stewardship Project monitors the two Wilderness areas that the Sitka Conservation Society helped to create, the West Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness and the South Baranof Wilderness. We conduct research expeditions to collect data ranging from botanical surveys to small mammal genetic mapping to glacial change research. These remote study areas are difficult and expensive to access. For this reason, we seek research partners to broaden the scope of the project and ensure that the trips are as effective as possible.
Ideal candidates for Expedition Grants would include partnerships with other institutions, organizations, or agencies; focus on priority sites within Wilderness areas; incorporate an outreach component; and include additional outside funding.
Location: Based out of Sitka, Alaska. Research must occur within West Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness Area or South Baranof Wilderness Area.
Dates: May – December 2012
Proposals due by: May 1, 2012
Compensation: SCS may fund up to $1000
To Apply: Submit proposal* and cover letter to Adam Andis- email@example.com
* Research in Forest Service Wilderness Areas requires a special permitting process. SCS staff will help facilitate the research permit application, but it is the responsibility of the applicant to complete all necessary forms and work with the Sitka Ranger District to receive a temporary research permit for the project. See useful resources below.
Scientific Activities Evaluation Framework- Use this evaluation framework to apply for research permits. The actual application begins on page 54.
Guidelines for Scientists- The following guidelines are written for scientists who want to conduct scientific activities in
wilderness. These are only brief guidelines intended to help scientists understand and
communicate with local managers, thereby expediting the process of evaluating a proposal for
Expedition Grant Proposal 2011- Establishing Baseline and Groundtruthing Data within the West Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness, Chichagof Island, Alaska
Project Proposal 2010- Glacial Change on Baranof Island: Quantifying Local-level Impact of Climate Change
In June of 2012, members of Wrangell’s Boy Scout Troop 40 joined forces with the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC), the Sitka Conservation Society (SCS), the United States Forest Service and local volunteers to help remove invasive plants from the Stikine-LeConte Wilderness Area. The objective of the trip was to remove the aggressive reed cannery grass from the banks of the Twin Lakes by hand pulling the plants as well as covering areas with sheets of black plastic. The group also helped remove an enormous amount of buttercups and dandelions from the lakes’ shoreline.
However, the ultimate goal of the trip was to teach the Boy Scouts what it means to be good stewards of the land and the value of Wilderness areas like the Stikine. What better way is there to teach this lesson then to spend five days in the Wilderness learning these lessons first hand from the land and from each other?
After five days in the field, Troop 40 decided to adopt the Twin Lakes area as their ongoing stewardship project. They plan to return in the coming years to continue the work that they’ve started. It is community dedication like this that the Stikine and other wilderness areas require in order to remain pristine for future generations.
Background: Earlier this month, the head of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Wildlife Conservation Division, Corey Rossi, resigned after being charged with 12 violations related to illegal bear hunting. Rossi was controversial and divisive in his position in the agency, marring ADF&G’s respectability as a science-based organization.
Take Action: Rossi’s resignation opens up a new opportunity for Governor Parnell to learn from past mistakes and appoint a new candidate for the position who is honest, experienced, respected, and above all, qualified.
Please consider emailing the Governor to encourage him to select a qualified candidate. Click here to go to the Governor’s contact page.
Sitka Conservation Society’s letter is posted below. Feel free to use the points addressed to develop your own message to Gov. Parnell.
Dear Governor Parnell,
We were disappointed to hear about the charges brought against former head of the Division of Wildlife Conservation, Corey Rossi. Rossi, who resigned after he was charged with wildlife violations, was obviously not fit to hold authority over laws he himself could not abide by. This case points out how the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has lost credibility as a science based wildlife organization, and was instead headed by a big game guiding business owner who used his position to perpetuate the profits of himself and his colleagues, apparently sometimes illegally.
The Sitka Conservation Society would like to ask you to appoint a new leader for Rossi’s position that will not make the same mistakes.
Specifically, we encourage you to appoint someone who:
- Is honest, respected and, above all, qualified
- At minimum, holds a Master’s degree in wildlife biology or a closely related field
- Has at least 10-15 years of experience in wildlife management
- Has a proven track record of basing decisions from science and not personal agenda.
Our members of the Sitka Conservation Society hunt, fish, and trap for subsistence and to maintain their livelihood. We hope that you will recognize the importance of appointing a leader who will take Alaska’s people and wildlife into account over his or her own agenda
We look forward to the qualified candidate you appoint to make needed changes to the Alaska Department of Fish and Wildlife.
In the summer of 2011, the SCS Wilderness crew traveled north to Russell Fjord Wilderness to assist the Yakutat ranger district in Wilderness monitoring. Check out the video, report, and photos to learn more about the project and this uniquely rugged Wilderness.
From Disenchantment Bay, at the upper end of Yakutat Bay, heavily glaciated Russell Fjord penetrates about 35 miles inland, but the advance of Hubbard Glacier is slowly squeezing it off from the sea… Within the area, which lies between the Fairweather and Brabazon Ranges, you’ll find forested river valleys rising to alpine meadows and snowcapped peaks… At the northwest boundary of Russell Fjord, the Hubbard Glacier, one of the largest and most active tidewater glaciers in North America, is advancing to Gilbert Point. Twice in the last 40 years, the Hubbard has closed against the Puget Peninsula. Eventually, this unique event will become a long term situation converting Russell and Nunatak Fjords to immense freshwater lakes. –from Wilderness.net
Photos by Ben Hamilton
The land enclosed in the borders of South Baranof Wilderness Area is steep, remote, and difficult to travel. Other than the intrepid mountain goat hunters, this area of the Wilderness receives almost no foot traffic.
In August of 2011, as part of the Sitka Community Wilderness Stewardship Project, as expedition was organized to collect baseline plant and recreational use data. Thanks to packrafts donated by Alpacka Raft Company the Sitka Conservation Society Wilderness crew completed a pioneering transect along the southern boarder of the Wilderness Area. See the slideshow and read the full report below.
Report: Tongass Wilderness Stewardship: Packrafting across Baranof Island
Check out the pictures from the talk below.
5:00pm (note time change)
Kettleson Memorial Library, Sitka
Adam Andis from the Sitka Conservation Society leads the Sitka Community Wilderness Stewardship Project. The project seeks to involve the community to monitor on-the-ground conditions in local Wilderness Areas. In the summer of 2011, the SCS Wilderness Crew spent countless hours bushwhacking in the field, including pioneering a new route across Baranof Island.
The route paralleled the southern boundary of South Baranof Wilderness Area and followed two watersheds from sea to source. To cover the terrain, the team used packrafts, lightweight backpacking techniques, and lots of chocolate.
Come learn a little bit more about your local Wilderness areas and join in the expedition Across the Island!