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.
Subsistence in Southeast Alaska: The Tongass National Forest Service’s Fisheries Resource Monitoring Program
Subsistence in Southeast Alaska from Sitka Conservation Society on Vimeo. Although we often associate our National Forests with trees and silviculturalists, BY FAR, the most valuable resource that the Tongass National Forest provides is in the production of all 5 species of wild Pacific salmon. Managing salmon habitat and the fish populations within the forest [...]
One of the things that struck me instantly when I moved to Sitka was the number of jarred foods I saw on people’s shelves. I moved up from Oregon where canning foods was either considered “trendy” or outdated–it was a lost art. But here, it’s an art that is practiced every year. In fact, according [...]
On October 24, all across the nation, people were participating in Food Day, a national celebration of affordable, healthy, and sustainable food. The Sitka Conservation Society joined with a Fish to Schools local coho salmon lunch at KGH, BMS, SHS, and PHS. SCS partnered with the Sitka School District’s Live Well Physical Activity and Nutrition [...]
The Alaska Way-of-Life 4H wrapped up a fall foraging and wild edibles series in October. 4H is a positive youth development program throughout the nation that challenges youth to engage their head, heart, hands, and health for themselves and the community in which they live. We spent the month learning, gathering, and working with wild [...]
Richard Nelsonand Hank Lentfer will be featured at the next Natural History Seminar series presentation titled “Chasing Wild Sounds” December 5th, 7:30pm at UAS. Nelson and Lentfer will discuss their project “Voices of Glacier Bay National Park”, an effort to create a library documenting natural sounds from the park, including everything from the subtle scratches of a [...]