Scenes from the 15th annual Parade of the Species through downtown Sitka


ParadeOfSpeciesArtworkThere were lions, bears, and jellyfish galore during the 15th annual Parade of the Species, held Friday, April 22, through downtown Sitka as part of Earth Day and Earth Week activities hosted by the Sitka Conservation Society.

This year’s parade started from Totem Square and finished at the Sitka Sound Science Center, where there were a variety of activities for the kids such as making masks or drinking fresh smoothies.

A slideshow of photos from the parade is posted below.

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Sitka Trail Works releases weekend guided hike schedule for the 2016 summer

SitkaTrailWorksLogoSitka Trail Works will kick off its 2016 summer series of weekend hikes on Saturday, May 7, with a lesson on geocaching taught by volunteers. After a short tutorial at 8:30 a.m. at the Sitka High School entrance to the Cross Trail, participants will go discover some local geocaches (bring a smartphone or GPS device, if you have one).

The series of weekend hikes are led by various members of Sitka Trail Works, and there also are occasional bike rides and kayak trips on the schedule. Most of the hikes near town are free (donations are accepted), but some of the hikes require a boat trip and those have fees. The schedule runs through the end of August.

Sitka Trail Works recently announced the repair Heart Lake Stream trail-crossing on the Thimbleberry and Heart Lakes Trail, with a crew led by Troy Bayne. They also fixed part of the Cross Trail. These trails were repaired using state disaster funds following the Aug. 18, 2015, landslide.

On National Trails Day (Saturday, June 4), Sitka Trail Works and other groups will work on repair work to Cross Trail from the water tower to Cascade. This project starts at 9 a.m. on June 4, and people should meet at the Kimsham Trailhead. Tools will be available, but you should bring gloves, pruners and toppers, if you have them.

Don’t forget to check the Sitka Trail Works website for current trail condition reports.

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Earth Month activities include the Parade of the Species, a youth eco-challenge, gardening classes, and more


Earth month 2016FlyerEarth Day is on Friday, April 22, and Earth Week is April 17-23. Sitka will host a variety of activities for Earth Week, including a couple of spring clean-up events, an animal mask-making class, a recycled costume-making class, two gardening classes, a nature walk with story-telling, a community hike, a youth eco-challenge, and the 15th annual Earth Day Parade of the Species.

The Alaska Way of Life 4H Club will host a recycled costume-making class from 3:30-5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 13. This is a good time for kids to make their costumes for the Parade of the Species. Contact Molly at 747-7509 for more details (including the class location).

The Spruce-Up Sitka Clean-Up seeks volunteers to meet at noon on Thursday, April 14, to pick-up trash around Blue Lake campground. This event requires a hike of about two miles into the campground and two miles out. Contact Galen Paine at (206) 535-0406 for more details.

SpringCleanup2016There also is a community-wide spring clean-up event from April 16-24, when people can bring in a variety of large items and hazardous materials to the transfer station and the Sawmill Cove Scrap Yard. This event is hosted by the City and Borough of Sitka Public Works Department.

It’s not on the Earth Month calendar, but the RIDE public transit in Sitka will offer free bus rides again this year during Earth Week (April 18-22). This has been a yearly offering from the RIDE, which is operated by a partnership between Sitka Tribe of Alaska and the nonprofit Center for Community.

Sitka Conservation Society will host a community hike at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 16, at the Thimbleberry Trailhead. Contact Molly at 747-7509 for details.

The Sitka Public Library (formerly Kettleson Memorial Library) will host an animal mask-making class at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20, at the library.

The Sitka Spruce Tips 4H Club and Sitka Native Education Program (SNEP) will host a nature walk with storytelling featuring Chuck Miller teaching traditional Tlingít stories. This event is from 3:45-5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20, and you can contact or 747-7509 for registration details (including hike location).

slfn-newlogo copyThe Sitka Local Foods Network will host two free gardening classes during Earth Week. Jennifer Carter will teach “Everyone Can Compost,” which takes place from 6:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking off Spruce Street). Michelle Putz will teach “Growing Potatoes in Sitka,” which takes place from 9-10 a.m. on Saturday, April 23, at her house (131 Shelikof Street). Contact Jennifer Carter at 747-0520 or check the Sitka Local Foods Network website for more details.

2016 Eco-challenge adThe Sitka Conservation Society Earth Day Clean-Up takes place from 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, April 22, at a location TBA. SCS staff and board members will be at this event, and car pools are encouraged. Call 747-7509 for more details.

The third annual youth eco-challenge is free and takes place from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 23, at the Sitka National Historical Park. School-aged youth teams (grades 2-8) will test their outdoor skills and teamwork while they make their way through the Sitka National Historical Park. Sign up in teams of four, or as individuals to be put on a team. Teams of multiple ages are recommended. It’s a race. Limited spots available, so register early. Contact Molly Johnson to register, 747-7509 or

Parade of the Species FlyerFinally, the 15th annual Parade of Species, hosted by the Sitka Conservation Society, is on Friday, April 22. Parade participants are invited to dress as their favorite animal or plant and gallop, slither, swim, or fly with us. We will meet in Totem Square at 2:45 p.m. and parade down Lincoln Street to Harrigan Centennial Hall at 3:15 p.m. There will be a number of community organizations with hands-on Earth Day inspired activities for the whole family from 3:30-5:30 p.m. after the parade. Prizes will be awarded for Best Use of Recycled Material, Most Realistic, and Best Local Plant/Animal. For more information, contact or call 747-7509. A slideshow of scenes from the 2015 Parade of the Species is posted below.

• Sitka Earth Month Events Schedule for 2016

• Parade of species flier 2016

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Sitka Community Playground to host Design Day on April 9 at Sitka Sound Science Center

First Grade Classes-Christianson and HoleThe Sitka Community Playground project needs your help on Design Day from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 9, at the Sitka Sound Science Center.

Families are invited to help design Sitka’s new community playground, which will be accessible to all. This event will be coordinated by local landscape architect Monique Anderson, and Sitka artist Laura Kaltenstein will lead a special kids’ table where children can tell us what they want in the playground.

Monique and Laura already have been visiting some school classes to get designs, and a few of them are posted in a slideshow below. A tentative schedule for the Design Day also is linked below. For more information about Design Day, contact Monique at (907) 230-6003.

First Grade Class resultsIn addition, the next Sitka Community Playground volunteer meeting will be held 6 pm to 7:30 pm on Wednesday, April 6 at the Sitka Community Hospital conference room (downstairs).

The Sitka Community Playground is a community wellness project from the 2015 Sitka Health Summit, and the goal of the project is to create an accessible, attractive, low maintenance and safe community playground that will meet the needs of both children and their families.

The community playground project initially was selected as a community wellness project at the 2011 Sitka Health Summit, but stalled after some initial work was done. The project was rekindled in 2014, when the city approved a site where the current Crescent Harbor playground is located, plus one of the three neighboring tennis courts.

The renewed project for 2015 will benefit from $2,000 in project seed money from the Sitka Health Summit. The committee also has been applying for other grants to help fund construction of what hopefully will become the only Sitka playground that will be compliant with the American Disabilities Act accessibility requirements. Previously there had been some design work done for another place in Sitka, in partnership with local students, but the group hopes to revamp the design with a new group of students.

To learn more about the Sitka Community Playground project, contact Kay Turner at 623-7878 or Kealoha Harmon at 747-3500, or send an email to

• Draft schedule for Sitka Community Playground Design Day

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Use Park Prescriptions hikes of Sitka National Historical Park for an Active April

Walk and Win Park RX Active April Final #1 (1)

Several local groups are using the Park Prescriptions program to promote an Active April with hikes of the Sitka National Historical Park. If you take the challenge, you can win prizes by hiking the park trails during April.

Park Prescriptions is an award-winning program started in 2011 where local health providers tell you to go take a hike, and then write it up as a prescription. By taking your Park Prescriptions with you and getting it stamped when you hike the totem trails at Sitka National Historical Park, you can become eligible to win a variety of prizes, including cash from the Sitka Community Hospital Foundation and merchandise from local merchants. Just turn in your Park Prescriptions RX card by April 30 after completing some hikes of the park.

The Active April Challenge is hosted by the Sitka Community Hospital Foundation, Sitka Community Hospital, SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC), and the Sitka National Historical Park. Help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service by hiking the park.

Click this link to hear Ryan Carpenter of the Sitka National Historical Park, Doug Osborne of Sitka Community Hospital, and Lauren Hughey of SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) discussing the new Active April Challenge during a recent Morning Interview on KCAW-Raven Radio.

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Chuck Miller to discuss traditional Tlingít herring roe and intertidal food harvesting on Saturday

DD - Special Event, StoryTelling

In a special Discovery Day event for the Sitka Herring Festival, Chuck Miller will lead the program, “Storytelling and Sharing: Traditional Tlingít Herring Roe and Intertidal Food Harvesting,” from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 26, at the Sitka Sound Science Center.

Miller is the youth program coordinator for the Sitka Tribe of Alaska, and he will captivate you with his personable way of sharing Tlingít wisdom through stories and conversation. He will share two different one-hour interactive programs about the important animals in Tlingít culture, such as ravens and salmon.

At 10 a.m., Miller will share a story followed by an activity about the bounty of food that can be found right out our back door. At 11 a.m., he will tell another story and share about the traditional method of harvesting herring eggs (roe).

The free Discovery Days education program is for Sitka Sound Science Center 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.

For more information, contact Kristina Tirman at the Sitka Sound Science Center at 747-8878, Ext. 1.

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Sitka Sound Science Center to host scavenger hunt during spring break

kid in popup

Looking for things to do during spring break? The Sitka Sound Science Center is hosting a spring break scavenger hunt.

Families are invited to explore the science center from 2:30-4 p.m. on Thursday, March 17. Admission will be free for the scavenger hunt. A few lucky participants will even take home a prize.

For more information, call 747.8878.

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