Sitka Sound Science Center offers revamped Junior Naturalist program

If you are looking for something to do on this beautiful, cold Saturday, come down to the Sitka Sound Science Center with the kids to take part in our re-vamped Junior Naturalist program. The SSSC is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays during the winter.

Kids will take an exploratory look deeper into the world around us. Once all tasks are complete, they will earn a Junior Naturalist badge. This program is designed for grades 2-up, and free with your admission. Younger kids can try it with parental help. The tasks generally take about an hour, give or take a few minutes. The program is relaunching on Feb. 2, but is available year-round.

For more information, Sandy McClung at 747-8878, Ext. 1, or smcclung@sitkascience.org.

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Banff Film Festival tickets on sale now at Hames Athletic Center, and soon at Old Harbor Books

The Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival will make a stop on Friday, Feb. 22, in Sitka as part of its annual world tour, and tickets are available now at the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center, and tickets will go on sale about two weeks before the show at Old Harbor Books.

The Sitka screening takes place at 7 p.m. on Feb. 22 at the Sitka Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. There will be a variety of door prizes given away after the screening. This year’s films will raise money to benefit the Hames Wellness Fund, which support scholarships, senior walking hours, family fund days, BMS DYP Week, and many community partnerships.

Each year, the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival celebrates life in the outdoors with a nine-day festival (Oct. 26-Nov. 3, 2019) at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Banff, Alberta, Canada, featuring a series of short films, books and other media. Films may feature kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, wingsuit flying, rock climbing, mountaineering, skiing, surfing, fishing, and a variety of other outdoor activities.

With stops planned in about 550 communities and more than 40 countries across the globe, this year’s tour features a collection of the most inspiring action, environmental, and adventure films from the festival. From approximately 400 films entered into the annual festival, a variety award-winning films and audience favorites are among the films chosen to travel the globe.

During the world tour, a selection of the films is shown in each community, with a different set of films shown in each participating community. The world tour allows local communities to use the films as fundraisers, and the tour has made several stops in Sitka in the past.

Follow Sitka BANFF Film Festival 2019 to stay up-to-date with sneak peaks.

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Eco-Detectives case for young scientists at the Sitka Sound Science Center

A mystery has taken place at Sitka Sound Science Center, and we need Sitka’s youth sleuths to help us solve the caper. Crack the case by using investigative techniques to eliminate suspects and earn your very own Eco-Detectives button upon completion of the investigation.

Students can help solve these cases by joining the fun from 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, Feb. 1, at the Sitka Sound Science Center (Note: this is a teacher in-service day, so no school). This month’s case is “The Case of the Shrimp Snatcher!” Students will help solve the mystery of which aquarium critter is snatching up all the shrimp. The Eco-Detectives series is hosted by the Sitka Sound Science Center and the  Sitka National Historical Park. 

The series, which is offered free to the public, is designed for youth from kindergarten through sixth grade, and is self-paced. On average it takes participants between 30-45 minutes to complete the program.  Youth participants must be accompanied by an adult.

For more information about the Eco-Detectives series, contact Kristina Tirman at 747-8878 or ktirman@sitkascience.org.

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Sitka to host its local Christmas Bird Count event on Saturday, Dec. 29

This year is the National Audubon Society‘s 119th annual Christmas Bird Count, and Sitka will be one of several Alaska communities to host a local event, with Sitka’s event set for Saturday, Dec. 29.

During this event, local teams will hike around various sections of Sitka in an attempt to count as many different birds they can find. There will be a planning meeting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 26, at the Alaska Raptor Center.

The Christmas Bird Count, which started nationally in 1900 with Alaska’s first event in 1941, involves thousands of bird-watchers, hikers, nature lovers and more each year. The count is for a 24-hour period and local events can take place from Dec. 14 to Jan. 5 this winter to still count. This event is open to all ages, and many families participate.

Last year, on Dec. 30, 2017, in Sitka, there were 72 different bird species spotted by 57 Sitka participants. The most common bird seen was the dark-eyed junco, with 944 counted. They also counted 441 Pacific loons and 410 common ravens. You can find Sitka 2017 stats here. You can check out other 2017 stats (and 2018 stats) by clicking this link.

In 2015-16, the Alaska Audubon Society reported 1,157 Alaska counters in 37 counting areas recorded 149 different species and 123,658 total birds. Kodiak’s Narrow Cape-Kalsin Bay recorded the most species in Alaska with 74, followed by Sitka with 68 (Alaska overall stats aren’t available for the 2016 or 2017 Christmas Bird Counts).

For more information, contact Jen Cedarleaf at 738-0181 or Victoria Vosburg, DVM, at 738-8661.

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Sitka Sound Science Center, Sitka National Historical Park host Eco-Detectives events on Sept. 28 and Oct. 26

A mystery has taken place at Sitka Sound Science Center, and we need Sitka’s youth sleuths to help us solve the caper. Crack the case by using investigative techniques to eliminate suspects and earn your very own Eco-Detectives button upon completion of the investigation.

Students can help solve these cases by joining the fund from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28, and again on Friday, Oct. 26, at the Sitka Sound Science Center (Note: these are teacher in-service days, so no school). Explore wildlife behaviors, plant adaptations, and local seasonal changes to solve the case. The Eco-Detectives series is hosted by the Sitka Sound Science Center and the  Sitka National Historical Park. 

The series, which is offered free to the public, is designed for youth from kindergarten through sixth grade, and is self-paced. On average it takes participants between 30-45 minutes to complete the program.  Youth participants must be accompanied by an adult.

For more information about the Eco-Detectives series, contact Callie Simmons at 747-8878 or csimmons@sitkascience.org.

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Alaska Way of Life 4-H program to host youth archery series in September, October, and November

The Alaska Way of Life 4-H Club is hosting a five-session youth archery series in September, October, and November at the Sitka Sportsman’s Association (5211 Halibut Point Road).

This program is for ages 9-18, and will take place from 9-11 a.m. on five Saturdays — Sept. 8, Sept. 29 (note, this time from 1-3 p.m.), Oct. 13, Oct. 27, and Nov. 11. Participants will learn, practice, and gain confidence in their archery skills.

This program costs $20 for current 4-H members. A 4-H club membership costs $25 for the year, which covers insurance and other expenses. Scholarships are available.

For more information, contact Claire Sanchez of the Sitka Conservation Society at 747-7509 or claire@sitkawild.org.

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Alaska Way of Life 4-H Club to host six-week Wild Edibles Series for youth

Want to learn more about the food growing around you? The Alaska Way of Life 4-H Club will host a six-week Wild Edibles Series for youth from Sept. 11 through Oct. 24 at a variety of locations around Sitka.

Participants will interact with wild edibles in a variety of ways, including identification, harvest, local importance, and preparation. Ages 5-8 will meet from 3-4:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, while ages 9-older will meet from 3:30-5 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Spots are limited, and the cost of the series is $10 per person. The registration deadline is Thursday, Sept. 6. All participants must be registered with 4-H, which is $25 for the full year. Scholarships are available.

To learn more, contact Claire Sanchez with Sitka Conservation Society at 747-7509 or claire@sitkawild.org.

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