Sitka Conservation Society
Aug 21 2013

The Meaning of Wild

If you were not redirected to the Official Site for The Meaning of Wild, click here: www.meaningofwild.com

Aug 05 2013

Summer Boat Tour Series: Sitka’s Salmon

The Summer Boat Tour Series continues on Tuesday August 13th, from 5:30 to 8pm, exploring Sitka’s Salmon.  Come learn about their life cycle, how hatcheries influence salmon populations, and how there are salmon in the trees!

 TIckets can be purchased with cash or checks from Old Harbor Books 201 Lincoln Street for $35 or (if available) at the Crescent Harbor loading dock at time of the cruise.  It is suggested that tickets be purchased in advance to assure participation. Boarding begins at 5:15 pm. at Crescent Harbor. Due to the discounted rate of this trip, we are unable to offer additionally  reduced rates for seniors or children.

This cruise is great for locals who want to get out on the water, for visitors to Sitka who want to learn more about our surrounding natural environment, or for family members visiting Sitka. Complimentary hot drinks are available on board and you may bring your own snacks. Binoculars are available on board for your use. Allen Marine generously offers this boat trip at a reduced rate for non-profits.

Questions? email erin@sitkawild.org

May 31 2013

Entrepreneurial Capacity Catalyst position deadline extended

SCS has extended the application deadline for an exciting opportunity, the Entrepreneurial Capacity Development and Local Business Catalyst position. We are seeking a highly motivated, self-starter to work as a local business catalyst in Sitka, Alaska.  This catalyst will work with community partners and identify local entrepreneurial needs and opportunities. The candidate’s main focus will be to develop programs that stimulate and empower the community and establish projects that focus on living and buying locally. Click here for a full position description and details on how to apply!

May 29 2013

Young Growth Timber at Allen Auditorium

SCS was recently awarded another Community Capacity and Land Stewardship (CCLS) Grant from the National Forest Foundation.  The CCLS grant focuses on the use of local, young growth timber and habitat restoration. This grant will sustain and further develop the capacity-building momentum generated from last year’s grant.  One of the components of the previous grant was to provide local, young growth timber to the Sitka High School industrial arts classes.  Students were provided with red alder for building bed side tables, as well as Sitka spruce to construct a bike shelter.  The bike shelter will be finalized this summer and placed at the Sitka Sound Science Center.

Wood drying at a local kiln

Through the current grant, SCS will continue to promote regional young growth markets, incentivize forest restoration and further the Transition Framework by creating an educational opportunity for local youth that focuses on young growth timber for structural and building applications. Currently, SCS will work with a local miller to process local red alder. Red alder has been historically considered a ‘weed species’, however due to its abundance it is quickly becoming valued for use in specialty wood products, cabinetry, furniture and architectural millwork such as wainscoting or molding. SCS is encouraging regional industry integration by building relationships between producers and users. The red alder will become part of the Allen Auditorium renovation project on the Sheldon Jackson campus.  This partnership will also allow for SCS to sponsor several local high school students to work under the supervision of local builder Pete Weiland on the renovation project this summer. Students will be given the opportunity to spend approximately one month working on the Auditorium renovation project and will be partnered with a college mentor. The wood will be provided to the renovation project to produce an installation and demonstration project that highlights red alder as a viable material.  SCS is now accepting applications from local high school students who are interested in participating in this project. Applications are due by July 1 and can be emailed to info@sitkawild.org .

May 20 2013

Sitka Girl Scouts Learn Tongass Forest Food Web, Ecological Relationships

Within the University of Alaska Southeast, classrooms were teeming with young women eager to deepen their understanding in the field of science. On April 13th, 2013, Girls Scouts of Alaska organized a one-day science symposium in Sitka for its young members and asked Sitka women working in various scientific fields to teach a class that covered information of their choosing.

The Sitka Conservation Society’s community organizer Ray Friedlander participated in the event and chose to discuss and recreate the ecological relationships commonly found throughout the Tongass National Forest from the perspective of Coho salmon.

For the activity, girls ranging from ages 5 to 10 embodied a particular role in the web. Roles included fishermen, aquatic insects, old growth forest, eagles, bears, ocean, and rivers, which were represented by photographs that the girls wore around their necks. The most popular role however was the Coho salmon, which was represented by a stuffed animal toted around by one of the girls as she made her way from Girl Scout to Girl Scout with a red ribbon. As the salmon “swam” its way to each critter or habitat in the web, questions were posed to the group about the significance of that relationship.

What relationship do you think this salmon has to the old growth forest?” Friedlander asked the group.

The shade from the trees helps keep the salmon from getting too hot,” said one Girl Scout. “The roots stop the soil from going into the river and making it dirty,” said another.

Each Girl Scout was then asked to loosely hold on to the ribbon, and help answer the questions posed to the other roles of the ecological web. After every role of the web was discussed, the Girl Scouts looked around to see that in fact they were all connected by a ribbon that represented the relationships formed through their species and habitat interactions with the salmon.

Embodying the ecological relationships that exist between different species and habitats of the Tongass allowed Sitka Girl Scouts to see how important it is to view these relationships as interconnected rather than separate. For the Sitka Consevation Society and Girl Scouts of Alaska, inspiring our youth to become stewards of the environment promotes the leadership skills and knowledge needed to ensure a healthy, protected Tongass and sustainable community.

Apr 26 2013

Summer Boat Tours – Back by Popular Demand

See new places, new perspectives and learn more about this wild place we live in!

Whether you are a born and bred Sitkan, or a recent transplant to the Tongass, the SCS Summer Boat Tour series offers an excellent opportunity to get out to explore and learn more about Sitka Sound and the Tongass. There will be six tours  throughout the summer, each about 2.5 hours.

These tours are for you! And we want to hear your ideas on topics and tours you would like see as a part of our Boat Tours this summer.  Visit our Facebook page, call our office (747-7509) or email Erin with your ideas.

Check back soon for updates on tour topics and tickets!

Apr 25 2013

Parade of Species 2013

 

Thanks to everyone who participated in the 2013 Parade of Species!  The costumes were creative, the activities were fun, and march was a truly WILD time!

We hope that you will remember to celebrate Earth Day every day and help us here at the Sitka Conservation Society to protect the natural environment of the Tongass and promote sustainable communities in Southeast!

 

Best Costume Winners:

Best Use of Recycled Materials

Silas Ferguson

 

 

 

Most Realistic Costume

Grace Clifton

 

 

 

Most Creative Costume

Finnan Kelly

 

 

 

Best Local Animal

Lena Keilman

 

 

 

Photos from the 2013 Parade of Species

We would especially like to thanks the following folks for helping to make this year’s parade such a huge success:

Costume Contest Judges

Judges: Steve Ash, Rita Mounayar, Heather Riggs, Pat Kehoe

Activities and booths by: The US Forest Service, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, The National Park Service, Sitka Global Warming Group, Sitka Local Food Network, the Science Center, The Kayaani Commission, Jud Kirkness, Fish to Schools, 4H Alaska way-of-life, and Community Schools

Prizes and donations from: Harry Race, Ben Franklin, Lakeside, True Value, Botanikaand Allen Marine

Volunteers: Coral Pendell, Garrett Bauer, Josh Houston, Wendy Alderson

And everyone who made costumes, cheered on the marchers, and celebrated Earth Day with the Parade of Species!

Mar 21 2013

Mapping Tongass Forest Assets

The Tongass National Forest is valuable for more than old growth timber clear-cutting: it’s the source of near limitless value to both residents and visitors, if used sustainably.

Energy production, recreation, tourism, hunting, fishing, education and subsistence resources all rely on the continued health of the Tongass in order to continue bringing thousands of dollars and hundreds of jobs to Sitka.  As Sitka continues to grow, physically and economically, it’s essential that we recognize the wide swath of valuable assets present in and around Sitka.  

Southeast Alaska offers a cornucopia of possibilities for making a living from (and living off of) the land, rivers and sea.  Wilderness areas offer adventure and solitude rarely matched elsewhere in the US, large tracts of remote and robust ecosystems provide habitat for large populations of deer, bear, mountain goat, and more, world class salmon fisheries provides the best wild salmon and some of the best sport-fishing,  

The Tongass National Forest, and Sitka, are more than just tourist destinations, more than just timber value, more than just salmon fishing: the sum is greater than its parts.  If we plan future expansion and development with all these invaluable assets in mind, Sitka has the potential to grow more prosperous, and more sustainable.

Learn more about the myriad values throughout Sitka by visiting our map of the Sitka Community Use Area (SCUA), or check out the briefing sheets.

Feb 22 2013

Trans-Boundary Mines: How will they effect Sitka’s fishing industry?

Wednesday, February 27th, 7:00 pm, UAS

In Northwest British Columbia there are currently 21 projects either active or in the later stages of exploration. Some of these projects are open pit mines that rival the size of the proposed Pebble Mine.  The fisheries on the Stikine, Unuk, and Taku Rivers are threatened.  Guy Archibald from Southeast Alaska Conservation Council will talk about the proposed mines and their widespread implications for Southeast Alaska’s fishing industry.

There will also be a casual meet and greet with Guy Archibald at the Brewery February 28th from 5-6pm to discuss these issues.

Learn more here

For visual inspiration, watch Sacred Headwaters:

Feb 18 2013

America’s Salmon Forest at the AK Forum Film Fest

SCS’s short documentary Restoring America’s Salmon Forest was selected to show at the Alaska Forum on the Environment Film Festival on Friday, February 8, 2013 in Anchorage.  The film focuses on a multi-agency effort to increase salmon returns on the Sitkoh River in Southeast Alaska’s Chichagof Island, by improving the spawning and rearing habitat and redirecting a river that was heavily damaged by logging operations in the 1970s.

In the heyday of the Southeast Alaska timber industry, little regard was paid to the needs of salmon. Streams were frequently blocked and diverted, with streams in 70 major watersheds remaining that way decades later. Salmon surpassed timber in economic importance in Southeast Alaska more than two decades ago, but only in the last few years has the Forest Service finally made a serious effort to repair damaged streams. Currently over 7,000 jobs in Southeast Alaska are tied to the fishing industry, compared to about 200 in the timber industry. The Forest Service spends about three times as much on timber related projects as fisheries and restoration projects each year on the Tongass.

While salmon are responsible for 10 times as many jobs in Southeast Alaska as timber, and are also an important food source and a critical part of our cultural identity, the Forest Service still puts timber over salmon in its budget priorities. Recent Forest Service budgets have dedicated in the range of $22 million a year to timber and road building, compared to less than $2 million a year to restoring salmon streams damaged by past logging, despite a $100 million backlog of restoration projects.

Logging damages watersheds by diverting streams, blocking fish passage, and eliminating crucial spawning and rearing habitat structures. Restoration increases salmon returns by removing debris, redirecting streams, stabilizing banks to prevent erosion, and even thinning dense second-growth forest. We believe it simply makes sense to go back and repair habitat if you are responsible for its damage.

TAKE ACTION:

Please contact your representatives in Washington to tell them the ways you depend on Tongass salmon, and tell them you support managing the Tongass for salmon and permanently protecting important salmon producing watersheds. Tell them it is time to redirect funds from the bloated timber budget to the salmon restoration budget, and finally transitioning away from the culture of old-growth timber to sustainable practices recognizing all resources and opportunities.

What to say:

Check out the talking points in this post for some ideas of what you might include in your letters or calls.

Contact:

Undersecretary Robert Bonnie
Department of Natural Resources and the Environment
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20250

Email: robert.bonnie@osec.usda.gov

Senator Lisa Murkowski
709 Hart Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510

Email: karen_billups@energy.senate.gov

Senator Mark Begich
825C Hart Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510

Email: bob_weinstein@begich.senate.gov
If you have questions, contact the Sitka Conservation Society at 747-7509 or info@sitkawild.org

Produced by Bethany Goodrich, a summer staffer at the Sitka Conservation Society, “Restoring Alaska’s Salmon Forest” provides a brief look at how a restoration project looks on the ground and what such a project can accomplish in terms of salmon returns.
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Keep up to date on all of the issues. Check out "The Southeaster" Blog.

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  • Encouraging Local Natural Resource Stewardship on the Tongass: Kennel Creek
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