Vandals deface most flat surfaces in Sitka National Historical Park with graffiti tags

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IMG_0814Sitka National Historical Park rangers remind visitors that graffiti not only detracts from the natural beauty of the park, but can also permanently damage irreplaceable resources.

In the past week, more than 25 park resources including the Indian River Pedestrian Bridge, directional signs, waysides, and buildings have been tagged with felt-tip markers and spray paint. Park maintenance crews have been working diligently on the removal of the graffiti.

While current weather conditions have temporarily delayed restoration efforts, all of the graffiti will be removed. Currently, the cost of damage to park resources is estimated at more than $1.000. Those caught tagging the park can face serious consequences, including arrest. 

IMG_0867National parks exist to preserve and protect our nation’s natural, cultural and historic heritage for both current and future generations. When someone defaces these landscapes it diminishes the resource itself and the experience park visitors are meant to enjoy.

Sitka National Historical Park is asking for the local community’s help to identify the perpetrators. Anyone with knowledge about these acts of vandalism is encouraged to contact Chief Ranger Neil Akana at 747-0127 or by email at neil_akana@nps.gov. Callers can remain anonymous.

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 409 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more about Sitka National Historical Park at  or visit the park’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SitkaNationalHistoricalPark.

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Explore the secretive lives of owls at the Winter Film Series

PICTURE SHOWS: Luna and Lily’s best funny faces.  Barn Owl chicks.

nature-owl-power_80035675Delve into the secretive lives of owls during the Winter Film Series’ upcoming screening of Owl Power. This PBS film follows young barn owl chicks as they develop and explores the fascinating adaptations that allow owls to thrive in the dark.

Join us at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28, and at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 30, at the Sitka National Historical Park‘s Visitor Center for this family friendly film.

The Winter Film Series, held monthly at Sitka National Historical Park’s Visitor Center, is jointly presented by Sitka National Historical Park, Sitka Conservation Society and the Sitka Sound Science Center. Free popcorn will be provided at each screening.

For more information, please contact Ryan Carpenter at (907) 747-0121 or at ryan_p_carpenter@nps.gov.

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 409 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more about Sitka National Historical Park at http://www.nps.gov/sitk or visit the park’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SitkaNationalHistoricalPark.

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2016 Winter Film Series kicks off on Jan. 8-9 at the Sitka National Historical Park

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Have you ever dreamed of exploring remote, untouched wilderness areas throughout Alaska? During the Winter Film Series’ first screening in the new year, you will be able to do just that.

CrownOfTheContinentJoin us at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 8, and at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 9, at the Sitka National Historical Park theater for screenings of Where Ice and Ocean Meet and Crown of the Continent. These films explore the natural and cultural history of Kenai Fjords National Park and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and serve as an occasion to celebrate two of Alaska’s national parks during the National Park Service’s Centennial Celebration.

Where Ice and Ocean Meet highlights the dynamic and powerful forces that shaped the land within Kenai Fjords National Park and how these forces have impacted the region’s rich marine ecosystem and the people that have called that place home for thousands of years.

The award-winning Crown of the Continent explores the towering peaks, calving glaciers, abundant wildlife and the 13.2 million acres that make up America’s largest national park, Wrangell-St. Elias.

The Winter Film Series, held monthly at Sitka National Historical Park’s Visitor Center, is jointly presented by Sitka National Historical Park, Sitka Conservation Society and the Sitka Sound Science Center. Free popcorn will be provided at each screening.

For more information, please contact Ryan Carpenter at 747-0121 or at ryan_p_carpenter@nps.gov.

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 409 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more about Sitka National Historical Park at http://www.nps.gov/sitk or visit the park’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SitkaNationalHistoricalPark.

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Sitka to host its local Christmas Bird Count event on Jan. 3

116th Poster

This year is the National Audubon Society‘s 116th annual Christmas Bird Count, and Sitka will be one of several Alaska communities to host a local event, with Sitka’s event set for Sunday, Jan. 3.

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 Friday, Jan. 1, at the Alaska Raptor Center.

After the event, there will be a slide show to review the various birds seen in Sitka. There is a post-birding party at 4 p.m. Sunday above Pet’s Choice Veterinary Hospital.

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. Last year the Alaska Audubon Society reported Alaska counters saw 152 species and 163,061 total birds. Last year Kodiak recorded the most species in Alaska with 81, followed by Sitka with 80.

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

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Sitka Community Playground project committee to meet on Monday, Dec. 14

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JOIN US! The community of Sitka is in need of a playground. Yes, you can make a difference in our community for all Sitka families.

Sitka has playgrounds, but let’s be real, they’re old, unsafe and not really designed well for community gatherings and multi-ability play. Isn’t it time for something different? Something new? Something we can all use and enjoy?

We would like to build a playground for the 21st Century and we would like you to join us in our quest. We want a playground that is:

  • Accessible: All children in Sitka need to be able to access and play in playgrounds. Currently, there are no playgrounds that are accessible to children of all abilities.
  • Sustainable: We plan to build a playground that will require little maintenance in the years to come, using materials that are long lasting and safe.
  • Keeping with the local decor: We plan to replace playground equipment at Crescent Harbor with beautiful structures that will blend in and compliment the surroundings.
  • Safety: Safety is the #1 priority! This playground will have a safe ground cover and be built to the current safety and accessibility standards.
  • A vibrant community space: A space that honors Sitka’s cultural diversity and inspires multi-generational play. A space to bring your entire family to play, gather and socialize.

Think of the difference YOU could make contributing to this community cause. Please join us in support of bringing Sitka a much needed playground for all to enjoy. Our next meeting is at 6 p.m. on Monday, Dec.14 in the Sitka Community Hospital classroom downstairs. Invite your friends and family, we need Sitka to come together to make this a reality.

Check out the new Sitka Community Playground project website at http://sitkacommunityplay.wix.com/home. For more information, please contact Kealoha Harmon at 747-3500 or Kay Turner at 623-7878. Also, feel free to join the Facebook group to stay up to date. The Sitka Community Playground is a project of the 2015 Sitka Health Summit.

 

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Sitka National Historical Park hosts winter bird walk on Saturday, Dec. 12

Winter Bird Walk Poster 2015 (2)

WesternSandpiperAre you interested in viewing, identifying and learning about Sitka’s winter bird residents? Do you need a refresher before participating in the Christmas Bird Count?

If so, you are in luck! People of all ages and levels of birdwatching experience are invited to participate in a free winter bird walk from 9-11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12, at Sitka National Historical Park. Participants will meet inside the Visitor Center and then explore the park viewing birds throughout the park’s various ecosystems.

Interested parties should dress warmly and be prepared to spend the majority of their time outside in variable weather conditions. Participants who have binoculars are encouraged to bring them. A limited number of binoculars and field guides will be available for participants to borrow during the event.

For more information, please contact Ryan Carpenter at (907) 747-0121 or at ryan_p_carpenter@nps.gov.

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 408 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more about Sitka National Historical Park at http://www.nps.gov/sitk or visit the park’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SitkaNationalHistoricalPark.

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Animal tracks is the topic of Dec. 5 Discovery Days at the Sitka Sound Science Center

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Animal tracks is the topic for the Discovery Days program from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Dec. 5, at the Sitka Sound Science Center.

“This week Discovery Days will investigate animal tracks and furs,” said Kristina Tirman, AmeriCorps volunteer for the Sitka Sound Science Center.

The free Discovery Days education program is for annual pass holders and takes place on various Saturdays (usually alternate Saturdays). This is a family event and open to learners of all ages. Annual passes are sold at the door and run $90 for families and $30 for individuals for the full year.

Sprouts_flyerfinal_2015The Discovery Days program launched in November 2013 and previous programs have been about kitchen chemistry, electricity, fossils, birds, ice, animal tracks, plants, herring, plankton, amphibians, everyday scientists, and hearts, plus there was an overnight aquarium sleepover for kids and parents. The group also has hosted a booth at the annual Family Science Day at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School.

In addition, don’t forget the Sitka Sound Science Center also runs a program called, “Sitka Sprouts: Planting the Seeds of Science in the Next Generation,” for kids ages 3-5. Sitka Sprouts takes place at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays 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 Kristina Tirman at the Sitka Sound Science Center at 747-8878, Ext. 1.

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