The Sitka Conservation Society provides diverse environmental education programs, which reach hundreds of people from preschool age through retirement age every year. Some of these programs are actually done in the classrooms of local schools, while other programs include public lectures, field classes, and even boat trips for the community at large.
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 home and abroad.
The Sitka Conservation Society is engaging in an ambitious project to spread the word about the importance of salmon and wild salmon habitat 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 workshops in 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.
The richness of the Tongass National Forest and the waters of the Outer Coast make Sitka unlike any place. The dense forests, towering mountains, and waterways make this environment a unique classroom for youth to learn skills and respect for the land. It is our hope that students connect to this incredible environment through hands-on learning and leadership opportunities in the community.
As the ninth largest seafood port in the country, Sitka is swimming with fish. Students should have access to this nutritious, local food that drives our economy and represents the interconnectedness of our community. Local fish lunches are served twice a month at local schools. The lunch program is served with a “Stream to Plate” curriculum, taking students through the cycle in which fish mature in our waterways, are harvested by local fishermen, undergo processing by our town’s thriving seafood processors, and finally grace our dinner table.
Each May in Starrigavan Valley, nearly 100 7th Graders from Blatchley Middle School in Sitka spend a couple days doing hands-on stream restoration and monitoring. In the classroom, the students learn about watershed ecology and salmon habitat. Then they hit the field and help professional watershed managers actually install in-stream wood structures to rebuild fish habitat.
Educating young people about 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 energy. Lessons in the classroom visits include Sitka’s energy situation and conservation, fossil fuels in Alaska, home weatherization, and home and building energy audits.
Students in the Science Mentor Program gain valuable knowledge of the local environment by conducting ecological research studies with professional scientists. This program also prepares students for post-secondary studies and gives them a glimpse into careers in the ecological sciences. Individual students will gain valuable real-world experience by working one-on-one with professional mentors to develop, implement, and report on a research study that addresses a pertinent ecological question in the local Sitka area.
Baranof Island has one of the highest concentrations of brown bears in the world, and the Sitka Conservation Society is interested in seeing that bears and people coexist safely. The Bear Aware campaign strives to remind the public how to avoid unwanted bear encounters.
Do you have some extra huckleberries lying around? Or perhaps a bit of venison you’re not quite sure what to do with? Well, we’ve got a solution for you: Prepare a dish for the Sitka Conservation Society’s Wild Foods Potluck! What is the Wild Foods Potluck? The Wild Foods Potluck is an annual event that [...]
As the kids helped load the kayaks and safety equipment into the car, they complained the day’s activities had not been long enough. Their grumbles continued in the van all the way back to town as they begged Alaska Way-of-Life 4-H leader, Mary Wood, for more time on the water the next day. They only [...]
Almost three months have already gone by since I started my internship with the Sitka Conservation Society, under the supervision of Scott Harris, the Conservation Science Director at SCS. It is now the start of September and I cannot believe how fast time flies by when I am truly enjoying my eye-opening opportunity. It still feels [...]
The Alaska Way of Life 4-H project had a fun summer of gardening, exploring the forest and beach, listening to birds, kayaking in the Sitka Sound, and learning how to sew; all while creating a sense of belonging among new friends in Sitka! This fall we will get dirty harvesting Sitka’s Wild Edibles and learning [...]
My internship has also taken me to Redoubt Lake, a unique meromictic lake, where the top layer is freshwater with several hundred feet of saltwater on the bottom layer of the lake. Located about 12 miles from the city of Sitka, Redoubt Lake plays an important role in the subsistence fisheries for the people of Sitka. [...]