All of us here at SCS hope that you will join us in riding our bikes to work during the month of May in honor of National Bike Month! Our friends at SEARHC, Yellow Jersey Cycles, UAS, Rotary, and Sitka Community Hospital have a load of events that will knock your sprockets off! Be sure to check out the event schedule and don't miss out!
Learn more at the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition website.
When people from the lower 48 think of Alaska, images of the Deadliest Catch, the debate around drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the open tundra of the north often come to mind. But, there is a lot more to Alaska.
Despite the long winters and short summers Alaska is joining the nation's growing farm to school movement. There are only a few farm to school programs in the Last Frontier recognized by the Alaska Farm to School Program. One of those programs is Fish to School.
Sitka's Fish to School program is coordinated by the Sitka conservation Society, but it relies on the entire community to make it happen. It is a stellar program that interweaves a stream to plate curriculum, hands-on learning, tours of local processors and fish options on the cafeteria menus. This is the second year running and it is getting better with age. Even Alaska's First Lady Parnell had a Fish to School lunch with the students on April 11th.
The Alaska Farm to School Program also thinks it is an A-plus project. On April 25th, SCS's Fish to School program will be honored with the award of best farm to school program in Alaska for the 2011-2012 school year. Johanna Heron from the state's Department of Natural Resources will present the award during a special Benefit dinner that will raise funds to cover the cost of next year's school fish lunches.
The Benefit dinner will be prepared by Chef Colette Nelson, proprietor of Ludvig's Bistro, and Pacific High School students. Chef Nelson, has been creating recipes for students at Pacific High School throughout the winter. Students rotate the responsibility of preparing lunch for the rest of the small alternative school as part of their food handler's license job training. And then, they voted on their favorite recipe.
Crispy Oven Baked Rockfish won overwhelmingly. That entrée will be featured at the Benefit dinner and will be a model for future school lunches. The menu also includes salad with Alaska grown beets, sweet potato fries, blackened broccoli, home made bread, and carrot cake with Alaska grown carrots.
This is a community wide award ceremony and Benefit. Sitka proves that it defiantly takes a village to feed local, healthy seafood to the children and teach them about the wonders of fishing. Volunteer coordinators, the school food management service, fishermen, Tlingit elders all make the Fish to School program the best in Alaska, and possibly the best in the nation.
If you are in Sitka on April 25th, Sitka Conservation Society invites you to celebrate Fish to Schools. Eat some fish, support this local initiative, have fun, and help keep local fish in the schools! It will take place at Sweetland Hall on the historic Sheldon Jackson Campus. Doors open at 5:30pm and dinner begins at 6:00pm. Pricing structure: $20.00 adults, $15 seniors/students, and $5.00 for children. Tickets are available at Old Harbor Books.
Speaker, Deborah Rudis is a Wildlife
Biologist and the Environmental Contaminants Specialist for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Ecological Services Offi ce in Juneau, where she has worked since January 1989. She is the FWS Alaska Region - Pollinator Coordinator and is encouraging the National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska to initiate bee surveys. She is particularly interested in the promotion of fl owering plants, especially in their importance to native pollinator species.
Tuesday, April 17
UAS Room 106NatHistSeminar_Pollinators
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.[/box]
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
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The Tongass is a place of patterns that repeat at different scales. Branching patterns are found at all scales on the Tongass. On a grand scale, these patterns are seen in bays and fjords on a map, in the rivers that flow through watersheds, and in the glaciers plowing down through the mountains. At a medium scale, these are the dendritic patterns seen in the networks of stream in estuaries, in the branches and roots of trees, and the trails of wildlife through the forest. At a micro-scale, these patterns repeat in the mycelial web of fungi that feed the living trees and in the decay of the logs on the ground. in the veins of leaves, and in the filter feeding organs of intertidal creatures. To see photos of some of our favorite dendritic patterns, check out the SCS web gallery below.
The dendritic patterns we see on the Tongass are all pathways for wildlife and nutrients. Salmon travel up the branches of the bays to the river mouths. They travel up the rivers and its streams to reach their spawning grounds. Bears pick up dying salmon and carry it through the trails of the forest. The nutrients of the decaying salmon are picked up by fungal networks and are delivered to tree roots. The tree roots carry the nutrients up the trunk and then into the tree branches and to the needles. The pattern of interconnectedness repeats itself over and over again.
The patterns seen across the Tongass are visible manifestations of the web of life that connects the oceans with the land with all the creatures of the Forest and Waters. They are beautiful in both their infinite fineness and in their grand majesty. And they are intriguing and inspirational to many who live in and visit the Tongass.
We need help illustrating this pattern and telling the story through art! Help us with a design and your art could be featured in the next SCS t-shirt design or web graphic.
"Your submission must be two dimensional, no larger than 12in. by 12in., and must be ready for a scanner (mixed media is okay, but please keep in mind that we will use a high-quality scanner to make the submission digital). We encourage you to incorporate Rhonda Reany's Coho Salmon Design to represent the journey of salmon from the forest to the ocean and back to the trees; however, it is not required." Download a copy below.
1st prize: SCS Double Salmon Design Hoodie
2nd Prize: Copy of Amy Gulick's Salmon in the Trees Book
3rd Prize: SCS Double Salmon T-Shirt
First 50 entrants will receive a camelback waterbottle
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Rhonda Reany Salmon Design: here
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
NarratedbyCelineCousteau,this film isajourneytotheheartof Oceaniawhereaninternationalteamofresearchersstudiestherapidlychanging dietofFrenchPolynesians.Throughthescientists'investigationandbyspending timewithfamilies,fishermenandschoolchildrenwediscoverapublichealthcrisis 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.
http://vimeo.com/36508507 Check out this incredible video created by our good friend and local filmmaker, Hannah Guggenheim, documenting the "We Love our Fishermen Lunch" on 2/8/2012.
WE LOVE OUR FISHERMEN! The Fish to Schools Program began as a vision at the 2010 Sitka Health Summit and with community support and leadership from the Sitka Conservation Society, we are now working with over half of students enrolled in the Sitka School District. This program is a component of our Community Sustainability efforts and we hope through this program we can begin to build a stronger, more resilient local food system. Fish to Schools ensures that students, whose families may not generally be able to afford local fish, have access to it directly through the school lunch program. These lunches provide a boost of nutrients and Omega 3 fatty-acids, supports the sustainable fisheries of Alaska, and validates the backbone of this community and culture.
On February 8, 2012, fishermen were invited to both Keet and Blatchley Middle Schools. They joined students for their bi-monthly local fish lunch, bringing with them stories from the sea, fishing gear, and photos to make the connection between this profession and the fish on their plates. Both schools plastered the cafeterias with student-made posters, cards, and valentines thanking fishermen for their contribution to the program. Fishermen led students around the cafeteria with lures, created a longline set in the middle of the lunch room, and generated a lot of hype around the lunches.
Sitka Conservation Society would like the individually thank the following groups and individuals for making this special lunch a success: Seafood Producers Coop, Sitka Sound Seafoods, Nana Management Services, Staff at Keet and Blatchley, Beth Short, Wendy Alderson, Lexi Fish, Hannah Guggenheim, Andrianna Natsoulas, Jason Gjertsen, Terry Perensovich, Doug Rendle, Sarah Jordan, Eric Jordan, Matt Lawrie, Spencer Severson, Jeff Farvour, Beth Short-Rhodes, Stephen Rhodes, Kat Rhodes, Scott Saline, Charlie Skultka, Kent Barkau, Lew Schumejda, Bae Olney-Miller, and Jeff Christopher.
This lunch coincided with the beginning of the "Stream to Plate" lesson series with seventh graders in Ms. Papoi's science class. The first of five lessons introduced students to how fish are caught in SE Alaska through subsistence, sport, and commercial fishing methods. The class began "back in time" as AK Native, Charlie Skultka, shared with students traditional methods of fish harvest. With models and relics from the SJ Museum, he demonstrated how fish traps and halibut hooks worked. Roby Littlefield, coordinator of Dog Point Fish Camp and Tlingit language instructor at Blatchley, showed students photos of students actually participating in current subsistence traditions. She told stories from camp and demonstrated how these practices continue today. Following their presentation, local fishermen Beth Short-Rhodes, Steven Rhodes, Jeff Farvour, and Steven Fish, shared with students how they commercially fish for salmon, halibut, rockfish, and blackcod. Students had the opportunity to interview and ask guests questions in small groups, developing a relationship with community members in town. This week students will learn about the importance of conservation and sustainability in fishing and more specifically how the Tongass is a Salmon Forest.
5:00pm (note time change)
Kettleson Memorial Library, SitkaAdam 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!