Natural History Seminar Series to feature presentation on Mushrooms of Alaska’s Southern Coasts


The next topic of the Natural History Seminar Series will feature Kate Mohatt presenting “Mushrooms of Alaska’s Southern Coasts.” The presentation is at 7:30 p.m. on Friday Sept. 19, in Room 229 at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus.

Kate Mohatt is an ecologist for the Chugach National Forest who has been studying fungi in Montana and Alaska for several years. She has been a key organizer in the Girdwood Fungus Fair and a frequent speaker at the Tongass Rainforest Festival in Petersburg. Mohatt is the lead author of the 2013 publication, Mushrooms of the National Forests in Alaska (available at the USDA Forest Service, Sitka Ranger District office in Sitka, 204 Siginaka Way).

Mohatt will talk about the importance of fungi in forests, and about some common and interesting fungi found in Alaska. She also will lead a walk focused on forest fungi on Saturday, Sept. 20, in Sitka, with details shared at the Friday night seminar.

The seminar series is supported by a grant from the Sitka Permanent Charitable Trust to the Sitka Sound Science Center, and by the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus with support from the USDA Forest Service. If you have questions, please contact Kitty LaBounty at 747-9432.

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Sitka National Historical Park to host garden party Saturday at Russian Bishop’s House


Volunteer gardener Karen Christner, right, in period costume, leads a tour of the Russian Bishop’s House garden in September 2013.

The Sitka National Historical Park will host a garden party starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13, at the Russian Bishop’s House garden.

Volunteer gardener Karen Christner and Ranger Jasa Woods will present a 45-minute program on the history of the Russian Bishop’s House garden and how its tradition is carried on today. During the spring, kindergarten students from Baranof Elementary School plant the garden. In the fall, the students return as first-graders to harvest the produce.

Attendees are invited early for hot tea and Russian tea cakes. Seating and shelter from the rain will be provided. For more information, call the Sitka National Historical Park visitor center at 747-0110.

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Sitka Conservation Society seeks donations of canning jars for Applooza


The Sitka Conservation Society is looking for donations of quart and pint (preferably the shorter, wide-mouth pints) canning jars for a 4-H project called Applooza.

During the project, participants in the Sitka 4-H club will harvest apples from the apple trees planted on public property (probably about Sept. 20) and will learn how to make apple sauce (probably about Oct. 10). The jars of applesauce then will be donated to the Swan Lake Senior Center and the Salvation Army.

To donate the canning jars and/or lids, bring them to the Sitka Conservation Society office at 201 Lincoln St., Suite 4 (upstairs above Old Harbor Books). For more information, contact Marjorie Hennessy or Mary Wood at 747-7509. Other partners in this project include the Sitka Local Foods Network, the Sitka Food Co-op, and Sitka Kitch.

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Sitka 4-H program to host general meeting and Alaska Way of Life 4-H club to host six-week wild edibles class

General Meeting

The Sitka 4-H program will host a general meeting from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 15, in Room 106 at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus.

This meeting is for all current 4-H program members and any kids ages 5-18 interested in learning more about the program. Current Sitka 4-H program projects include shooting sports, baking, outdoor education, and photography.

WildedibleSeriesIn addition, the Alaska Way of Life 4-H club, which is part of the Sitka 4-H program, will begin hosting a six-week program on wild edibles starting on Tuesday, Sept. 16. The program will teach kids in grades K-9 how to make jam, fruit leather, and more with wild local foods. The program meets once a week in three age groups:

  • Grades K-2 — 3:30-5 p.m. on Tuesdays
  • Grades 3-5 — 3:30-5 p.m. on Thursdays
  • Grades 6-9 — 2:30-4 p.m. on Fridays

Participants need to register by Friday, Sept. 12, and there is a $15 fee for the six-week program. The meeting locations will be revealed when you register (registration is required for insurance purposes). If you have questions about the program, email

For more information about the Alaska Way of Life 4-H club, contact Mary Wood of the Sitka Conservation Society at 747-7509 or

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Sitka Sound Science Center launches second year of Sitka Sprouts program for kids ages 3-5


The Sitka Sound Science Center will launch the second year of a program called “Sitka Sprouts: Planting the Seeds of Science in the Next Generation.”

The free program, for kids ages 3-5, takes place at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays (it starts on Sept. 16) at the Sitka Sound Science Center. The program features stories, activities and crafts, and the kids are encouraged to dress for the weather.

For more information, contact Ashley Bolwerk at 747-8878, Ext. 22, or

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Sitka Health Summit planning day is Oct. 3 at Harrigan Centennial Hall

Planning Day Flyer 1 - 2014NewSitkaHealthSummitLogoJoin us for the eighth annual Sitka Health Summit planning day, which takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 3, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

The Sitka Health Summit got its start in 2007 when then-Sitka Community Hospital CEO Moe Chaudry and then-SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Vice President of Hospital Services Frank Sutton decided they needed to bridge the gaps between Sitka’s largest two health services. They launched the Sitka Health Summit, with the help of other supporters in Sitka, as a way to improve community wellness, honor local wellness champions, and more.

One of the highlights of the Sitka Health Summit has been the annual community wellness planning day. During planning day, Sitka residents get together to discuss the health needs of the community and create community wellness projects to address these needs.

Over the years there have been a variety of Sitka Health Summit projects — create a local market for local fish and produce, build a Sitka community greenhouse, become a Bicycle Friendly Community, become a Walk Friendly Community, encourage more kids and families to get outdoors for recreation, support a community health and wellness center (Hames), plant fruit trees around town, get more local fish into school lunches, build a Choose Respect mural, Revitalize Sitka, the Sick-a-Waste compost project, the Sitka Community Food Assessment, and Park Prescriptions. The 2013 Sitka Health Summit projects were Together for a Meth-Free Sitka and Sitka Kitch (a project to create a community rental kitchen and improve Sitka’s emergency food storage capacity). The 2014 Sitka Health Summit will choose two new projects, which will receive $2,000 in seed money to get started.

To register for the Sitka Heath Summit planning day, go to or call 738-0468. A free lunch with locally sourced food will be provided.


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Sitka National Historical Park annual park photo contest open for submissions


SitkaNationalHistoricalParkSignFor more than 120 years, visitors have embarked on their own unique journeys through time and place as they experience Sitka National Historical Park’s dynamic cultural and natural landscape. Whether you’ve lived in Sitka your whole life or visited for an afternoon, you too, have seen the interplay of natural and cultural changes in the park.

Sitka National Historical Park is now accepting entries for the 2014 National Public Lands Day photo contest. Space permitting, all entries will be displayed in the resulting photo exhibit, Sitka National Historical Park: Then & Now, which illustrates these interpretations of time and place, and the slightly different lens through which each visitor views and experiences the park.

To enter, email or submit up to three photos relating to the following categories:

  • Native Heritage: Capture any aspect of Southeast Alaska Native culture.
  • Sitka National Historical Park Wildlife: Alaskan wildlife in their natural habitat in the park.
  • Sitka National Historical Park Scenery: Southeast Alaska’s beauty as seen from the park.
  • E.W. Merrill: Reproduce the historic E.W. Merrill photographs of the park (historic photos may be obtained at the visitor center or online for reference)
  • Small Perspectives: Photos taken by youth ages 13 and younger relating to the park.

All entries must be submitted with an entry form no later than 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 14, at the Sitka National Historical Park Visitor Center front desk, or emailed to Contestants may enter up to three submissions total. The minimum photo size is 4 inches x 6 inches. The maximum size is 11 inches x 14 inches. Electronically submitted photographs are held to the same size limitations at a resolution no lower than 300 dpi (dots/pixels per inch). Accepted file formats include jpeg, tiff, and png.

Contestants who email their submissions must include in the body of their email the following information: contestant name, location (city, state), category, title of work (or leave untitled), email and/or mailing address (preferred contact), and daytime phone number. They must also attest that they own the image, and they agree to release the photo to the public domain. No photographs will be returned to contestants. The official entry form and complete entry details can be downloaded from the park’s main web page:

Photographers can enter to win as long as no more than 25 percent of the contestant’s income derives from the sale of their photographs.

Local judges will evaluate submissions and determine category winners, taking into consideration originality, artistic composition, technical quality, and whether the photos showcase Sitka National Historical Park resources. The People’s Choice Award will be awarded to the photo with the most likes on the Sitka National Historical Park Facebook page (

There will be three first-place ribbons awarded for the adult categories, and a People’s Choice award for the most popular photo on the park’s Facebook account. Every entrant in the children’s category will receive a participation ribbon.

Entries will be mounted by park staff and will remain on display throughout the duration of the Sitka National Historical Park: Then & Now exhibit in the Sitka National Historical Park Visitor Center (Sept. 19 through Oct. 17). The winners will be announced during National Public Lands Day events on Saturday, Sept. 27.


About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at or visit our Facebook page:

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