Writing and images by Caitlin Blaisdell.
“Mom often told us how when she was a little girl, she would look for wildflowers. One time, she found the most beautiful wild violet. As she stared at it, she felt that she and the violet had become one. I always took that story to heart as a message of the unity, peace, and wonder that nature can bring. I also always thought it was cool that mom was part violet.”
As they spoke of their mother, smiles emerged and Tori Hay and Trish White reflected on the whimsical side of their adventurous mother, Pauline Fredrickson. “She told so many stories of the magic of the woods – some she created with her friends on Chichagof Island and some were Mother Nature's creations.” Pauline was known for making fairy villages as a young girl that were quite the talk of the gold mining town near Chichagof Mine, where she spent her early years. Born in Cordova in 1929 and settling into Sitka with her family in 1939, Pauline was raised in the Tongass. “She loved walking through Iris Meadows and when we were along she would stop and point out the beauty – a snowdrop, a neon green fungi. She enjoyed the little surprises and magic that nature presented and taught us that it is important to share this for generations to come.”
Pauline’s adventurous life brought her 91 years among the wilds of Southeast Alaska. When she passed in 2021, her family wished to honor their mother’s love of the whimsical, natural world in a meaningful, sustainable way. They asked that gifts and donations be made towards the Sitka Conservation Society’s Living Wilderness Fund. “I think this gift to the Living Wilderness Fund would signal to mom that we remember that vital part of her that was attached to nature and that we want to help preserve that for others.”
Pauline was a huge supporter of the Sitka Conservation Society and its role in maintaining the Tongass. Growing from the heritage of folks that were her contemporaries, such as Larry Calvin and Alice and Chuck Johnstone, Pauline was excited to see the legacy carried on by the next generation.