The Sitka Conservation Society facilitates diverse environmental education programs, reaching hundreds of people from preschool age through retirement. Some programs take place in the classrooms of local schools. Other programs include public lectures, field classes, and even community boat trips! Long term conservation is only possible with education, so we are eager to work with people of all ages to show them what they can do for the Tongass.
Be sure to check out our Events page for more information!
The richness of the Tongass National Forest and the waters of the outer coast make Sitka unlike any other. The dense forests, towering mountains, and waterways create a unique classroom for youth to learn outdoor skills and respect for the land. It is our goal to connect students to this incredible local environment through hands-on projects and leadership opportunities.
Each May in Starrigavan Valley, nearly 100 7th Graders from Blatchley Middle School spend a few days learning about stream restoration and monitoring. In the classroom, the students learn about watershed ecology and salmon habitat. Next, they hit the field and help professional watershed managers install in-stream wood structures to rebuild fish habitat.
As the ninth largest seafood port in the country, Sitka is swimming with fish. Our students should have access to this nutritious, local food that drives our economy and supports our community. Fish lunches are served twice a month at Sitka's schools along with "stream to plate" lessons in fish life cycles, commercial harvesting, and the processing and distribution that ultimately bring the fish to our dinner tables.
Students in the Science Mentor Program gain valuable knowledge of the local environment by conducting ecological research studies one-on-one with professional scientists. This program prepares students for post-secondary studies and gives them a glimpse of careers in the ecological sciences. Students work with their mentor to develop, implement, and report on a research study that addresses a pertinent ecological question in the local Sitka area.
The Backwoods and Waters series is a mix of wintertime lectures and summer boat trips to some of the most ecologically interesting and important places on the Tongass. It is an opportunity for Sitkans to learn about the natural history of their own homes and surrounding environment.
The Sitka Conservation Society is engaging in an ambitious project to spread the word about the importance of wild salmon to the environment and our way of life in Southeast Alaska. With funding from the Alaska Sustainable Salmon Fund, we are developing curriculum materials for educators, conducting teacher training about monitoring stream health and water quality, developing a university-level course in watershed ecology, and airing hundreds of public service announcements on local radio stations.
Educating young people about our energy issues is the best way to ensure an energy independent future for Sitka. The Sitka Conservation Society has begun visiting school classes to talk about our sustainable options. Lessons in those classroom visits include Sitka’s energy situation, plans for conservation, fossil fuels use in Alaska, home weatherization, and home and building energy audits.
Baranof Island has one of the highest concentrations of brown bears in the world. The Sitka Conservation Society is interested in seeing those bears and Sitka's people coexist safely. The Bear Aware campaign strives to educate the public on how to avoid unwanted bear encounters.