Kids Fishing Day set for Saturday, June 11, at Swan Lake in Sitka

Kids, get your lucky fishing hats and join the party. The annual Kids Fishing Day is set for Saturday, June 11, at Swan Lake here in Sitka.

The lake recently was stocked with wild rainbow trout, and with fish measuring from 6-12 inches long. These fish are mixing in with the normal cutthroat trout and Dolly Varden that normally live in Swan Lake.

Kids Fishing Day has prizes for kids ages 2-12, who can fish from shore or a boat. Registration opens at 8 a.m., and fishing starts at 9 a.m. Prizes will be awarded about 12:30-1 p.m. (must be present to win a prize). In recent years there usually have been about 100 young anglers participating, and as many as 50 boats have been counted out on the lake. There will be hot dogs and chips for the kids, as well as a booth where the kids can make fish prints.

No fishing license is needed for kids age 16-younger (those ages 13-16 aren’t eligible to compete). Kids may fish from shore or on a boat, but all participants must wear a personal flotation device. Kids needing PFDs can borrow them from one of the Kids Don’t Float lockers at any of Sitka’s harbors.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has liberalized the fishing regulations for the Saturday of the fishing derby, which means kids can use bait, and catch up to two trout of any size (normally, only trout between 11-22 inches can be caught). Click this link for more info about the Kids Fishing Day relaxed regulations for Saturday (note, press release is from 2014).

This event is sponsored by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the USDA Forest Service-Sitka Ranger Station, and the Sitka Rotary Club. For more information, contact Joe Serio of the U.S. Forest Service at 747-6671.

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Sitka Conservation Society brings back Parade of the Species costume walk on Earth Day

There will be eagles and jellyfish and herring, Oh My! Join us at 3:30 p.m. this Earth Day, Friday, April 22, for the 2022 Parade of the Species. After missing two years due to Covid-19, this is the 19th Parade of Species.

Get creative in the next week, creating a costume inspired by your favorite species. The sky’s the limit. We will meet at Totem Square for costume judging, then parade down Lincoln Street starting at 3:30 to the Sitka Fine Arts Camp campus. Costume prizes donated by local sponsors will be awarded at the end of the parade.

All ages are welcome. Masks are required. For more information, contact Emily Pound at emily@sitkawild.org or 747-7509.

This event is coordinated by the Sitka Spruce Tips 4-H Club, which is supported in partnership by Sitka Conservation Society with the UAF Cooperative Extension Service.

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Sitka National Historical Park celebrates spring with a weekend of community events on April 23-24

SITKA, Alaska — As summer quickly approaches, Sitka National Historical Park offers family friendly activities over the weekend of April 23 and 24 to celebrate the upcoming season.

April 23 — JR. RANGER DAY, 1-3 pm

This year’s theme is Bear Awareness and Safety. Outdoor stations will be available for families to drop in and participate between 1-3pm. Activities include scat and track identification, a clean camp demo, bear craft activities, and hands-on bear spray demos. Jr. Rangers don’t leave empty-handed – complete an activity card for all the stations to earn a custom “Bear Aware” patch (while supplies last).

April 24 — B.A.R.K. Ranger Day, 1-3 pm

This family and “fur baby” event has four outdoor stations to learn the “BARK Ranger” Code:

B = BAG YOUR WASTE
A = ALWAYS WEAR A LEASH
R = RESPECT WILDLIFE AND OTHER PARK USERS
K = KNOW WHERE YOU CAN GO

There will be a costume contest for dogs at the end of the event. This year’s theme is “Sitka Spirit,” so if your adorable dog resembles a bear, seal, or banana slug, they’re already close to winning. Prizes are for the pooches, but kids’ activities will be provided. Partners include Sitka Animal Hospital, Ariana’s Grooming Service, and Sitka Animal Shelter

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About Sitka National Historical Park. Alaska’s oldest federally designated park, Sitka National Historical Park preserves and interprets a culturally and historically significant landscape that tells the story of Southeast Alaska Native peoples, signature totemic art form, the 1804 Battle of Sitka, and Russian exploration and colonization.

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Sitka Outdoor Challenge 2022 kicks off in April with lots of events for kids

It’s time for the Sitka Outdoor Challenge 2022 — a slate of free and fun family activities during April, May, and June. Sign up here to enter drawings. https://forms.gle/gLk1Mz6TYomLgkbd7.

This event is also known as the Sheet’ká Active Family Outdoor Challenge. The Alaska Raptor Center, AmeriCorps, Sitka 4-H, the Sitka National Historical Park, Center for Community, and other organizations are joining together to offer a slate of family outdoor activities during the spring.

Post challenge pix here for more drawings and find calendar and event info at https://sitkakids.com/family-outdoor-challenge-1. You also can learn more on the Sitka Kids page on Facebook.

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Sitka Spruce Tips 4-H Club to offer series of youth summer camps

The Sitka Spruce Tips 4-H Club is offering a variety of short summer camps for youth in Sitka starting in June.

The Sitka 4-H club is supported through a partnership between the Sitka Conservation Society and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service.

The first step is to register for 4-H at http://4h.zsuite.org/ (all participants must be registered with 4-H to be on the organization’s insurance policy). Then go to https://sitkakitch.eventsmart.com/events/sitka-spruce-tips-4-h-2022-summer-camps/ to register for camp.

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Sitka Spruce Tips 4-H Club to host open house on Friday, Oct. 1

The Sitka Spruce Tips 4-H Club will host an open house from 4-6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1, in Room 106 at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus.

This event is open to youth ages 5-18, and their parents, who want to learn more about the 4-H program in Sitka. The 4-H club offers a storytelling series, running club, scavenger hunt, and wild edibles workshops, and that’s just in October.

The October calendar will be available for review at the open house, plus there will be door prizes and a kit giveaway for the first 15 youth to attend.

The Sitka Spruce Tips/Alaska Way of Life 4-H program is co-sponsored by the Sitka Conservation Society and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service. For more details, contact Drew Roseman at aroseman@sitkawild.org.

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Sitka National Historical Park to host ‘Birding for Beginners’ as part of Saturday’s celebration of National Public Lands Day

 Join us from 9 a.m. until noon this Saturday, Sept 25, at the Sitka National Historical Park for “Birding for Beginners” activities in celebration of National Public Lands Day.

Family friendly activities will help explore the special connections between people and birds and learn basic bird identification techniques. Both ranger-led and self-guided activities will be available for people of all ages and skill levels to enjoy.

  • Outdoor stations will be set up at Totem Park for people to drop in and participate in birding activities at their own pace. Bird BINGO cards, word searches and coloring pages are also available.
  • At 9:30 a.m. join a park ranger for a short walk while identifying birds on the shore and in the forest. This activity is timed with low tide for maximum viewing opportunities.
  • At 10 a.m., and again at 11 a.m., join the rangers for a fun Food Web activity that highlights our relationship with our feathered friends. This is an active hands-on activity, great for kids.

Bring binoculars (or borrow ours), your favorite field guide and a song in your heart. Participants will walk away with budding new skills and their own bird checklist to begin their lifelong birding adventure.

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Sitka Sound Science Center relaunches Sitka Sprouts preschool science program

The Sitka Sprouts preschool program is back after a hiatus due to Covid-19.

Sitka Sprouts is a free, weekly science education program designed for 3–5 year olds and parents that takes place at 10:30 a.m. every Tuesday at the Sitka Sound Science Center.

To keep everyone safe and healthy, we will be limiting capacity to 12 participants. Registration can be found at www.sitkascience.org or by emailing Kristina Tirman at ktirman@sitkascience.org.

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Girls On The Run program registration open for 13th season

The Pathways Coalition is very excited to begin its 13th season of Girls on the Run in October.

This after-school program for girls in third through fifth grades inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates physical activity. To ensure the safety of girls and coaches, our curriculum has been modified to include physical distancing precautions and the ability to seamlessly transition between in-person and virtual programming as needed.

If you know a girl who might be interested in joining a team and exploring valuable lessons such as standing up for themselves and others and practicing empathy, inclusion, and acceptance, registration forms can be found at tinyurl.com/GOTR21 or the Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School front office. Scholarships are available. Registration is due Sept. 26.

If you want to get involved in the community and help build self-esteem and healthy social and emotional skills in third- through fifth-grade girls, then you should consider applying to coach. Coaches will have the opportunity to attend practices one or two days a week from October to December, as well as participate in a 5K community fun run on Dec. 11. No running experience necessary. New coaches can apply at tinyurl.com/newcoach2021, and returning coaches can apply at tinyurl.com/GOTRcoach2021 by September 19th.

Our recruitment fliers are attached. Please share this information with anyone who may be interested in coaching or registering their girl, and feel free to reach out to Emma Thompson at GOTR@safv.org or 747-3489 with any questions. Pathways will offer Boys Run I toowú klatseen this spring.

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Sitka Spruce Tips 4-H Club holds contest to collect invasive European black slugs

By Jasmine Shaw / UAF Cooperative Extension Service, Sitka District Office

In June, in honor of Alaska Invasive Species Awareness Week, Sitka Spruce Tips 4-H Club had a contest to see which three-person team could collect the most invasive European black slugs.

The slugs are a relatively recent arrival in Alaska, but have spread quickly in Sitka’s cool, wet environment. Their impact in Alaska is still being studied, but they’re a garden and agricultural pest elsewhere. Since 2011, Sitka Spruce Tips 4-H Club has been supported by a partnership between the Sitka Conservation Society, a local environmental nonprofit, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service to engage youth ages 5-18 in place-based, experiential learning unique to the Tongass National Forest. This year, the two organizations collaborated to spearhead an invasive European slug collection and awareness campaign in the community.

First, the youth met via Zoom with an entomologist in Scotland, where the slugs are native. Then they set out to see which team could collect the most slugs. More than 600 invasive slugs were collected and disposed of over two days. Slug samples also were collected and sent to the Integrated Pest Management Program team in Anchorage for genetic analysis and a larger regionwide investigation into the species. They have a goal of collecting 1,000 slugs this summer and hope to get the whole community involved.

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