Scenes from the 18th annual Parade of the Species through downtown Sitka

There were squid kids, a raven clan, and jellyfish galore during the 18th annual Parade of the Species, held Friday, April 20, 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 Sportsman’s Association to host gun and outdoor gear swap on April 21

Do you have unused gun or outdoor gear equipment around the house? Now you can sell it when the Sitka Sportsman’s Association hosts a gun and outdoor gear swap on Saturday, April 21, at the Sitka Sportsman’s Association shooting range and RV park near the end of Halibut Point Road.

Doors open at 8 a.m. for people selling gear (table rental is $10), and doors open for customers at 9 a.m. This is a great place to sell outgrown kids bikes, old tents, unused kayaks, etc.

For more information or to rent a table, contact Chad at 623-0908 or

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Alaska Department of Fish & Game to host ‘Bear Aware’ presentation at Sitka Public Library

Brown bears are beginning to stir on the outskirts of town, so the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is reminding residents to practice diligent bear awareness.

Residents should make household garbage unavailable to bears, prior to their arrival. Pro-actively removing attractants before bears emerge from hibernation will encourage them to seek natural food sources and help alleviate problems associated with food-conditioned bears later this summer. ADF&G regulations prohibit negligently leaving out food and garbage in a manner that attracts bears. Local ordinances prohibit putting trash out until the morning of pick up.

To help prevent bear issues this summer, ADF&G suggests the following:

  • Garbage: Store trash inside buildings or in bear-proof containers; keep it secured until the morning of scheduled pick up. To minimize garbage odors, bones and meat scraps should be frozen until the day of pick up or until the items can be properly disposed. Remind neighbors to do the same.
  • Electric fences: Properly constructed electric fences are a highly effective deterrent to keep bears out of gardens, fish smokers, and away from chicken coops and domestic animals.
  • Barbecues: Clean grills after each use.
  • Pets: Feed pets indoors or clean up excess and spilled food between meals. Store pet food indoors. Never sic your dog on a bear.
  • Bird Feeders: Take feeders down April through October.
  • Gardens: Plant gardens in the open, away from cover and game trails. Compost only raw vegetable matter and turn it over frequently.

Hikers, walkers, and joggers are reminded to be alert for bears, especially during early mornings and late evenings. Be safe and bear smart by traveling in groups and keeping dogs on a leash.

ADF&G will be giving a free bear safety and awareness presentation at 6 p.m. on Thurday, April 19, at the Sitka Public Library. The community is invited to attend.

For additional information and questions, contact the Sitka ADF&G office at 747-5449.

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Earth Month activities include the Parade of the Species, a youth eco-detectives event, gardening classes, free bus rides, and more

Earth Day is on Sunday, April 22, and Earth Week this year is Monday through Sunday, April 16-22. Sitka will host a variety of activities for Earth Week, including a couple of spring clean-up events, a couple of gardening classes, free bus rides, a herring potluck, and the 17th annual Earth Day Parade of the Species.


There is a community-wide spring clean-up event from April 14-22, when people can bring in a variety of large items and hazardous materials to the transfer station and the Sawmill Cove Scrap Yard (hazardous materials are only April 21-22). This event is hosted by the City and Borough of Sitka Public Works Department.

The “Starting a Cottage Foods Business” class on the poster, hosted by the Sitka Kitch and Juneau office of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service, scheduled for April 14 has been canceled due to low registration in Juneau (the class was to be videoconferenced to Sitka).

The RIDE public transit in Sitka will offer free bus rides again this year during Earth Week (April 16-20). 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.

There is an Arctic Mission talk at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17, at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus. There also is an Earth Day Preschool Story Time at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 19, at the Sitka Public Library.

The Sitka Local Foods Network will host a free gardening class during Earth Week. Jennifer Carter and Michelle Putz will teach “Sitka Gardening 101,” which takes place from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursday, April 19, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking off Spruce Street). There also is a “Greenhouse Gardening” class taught by Andrea Fraga from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursday, April 26, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall. Contact Charles Bingham at 623-7760 or check the Sitka Local Foods Network website for more details of upcoming garden classes.

There is a Herring Potluck at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 19, at Harrigan Centennial Hall, hosted by Sitka Tribe of Alaska.

There is a Tlingít potato workshop from 9:30-11:30 a.m. on Friday, April 20, hosted by the U.S. Forest Service Sitka Ranger District and Sitka Tribe of Alaska. This event takes place at the Sitka Ranger District office, 2108 Halibut Point Road.

The 17th annual Parade of Species, hosted by the Sitka Conservation Society, is on Friday, April 20. 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 the Sitka Sound Science Center 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, Best Local Plant/Animal, and Best Group Costume. For more information, contact Claire Sanchez at or call 747-7509. Click this link for a slideshow of scenes from the 2017 Parade of the Species.

Sitka Conservation Society, Sitka Sound Science Center and Bags For Change will host the movie, “Plastic Ocean,” at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 20, in Room 106 at UAS Sitka Campus.

Sitka National Historical Park and Sitka Sound Science Center are hosting an Eco-Detectives event from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 21, at Sitka National Historical Park for kids ages 5 and older.

The Sitka Cirque‘s Earth Day Showcase, “The Jungle Book,” takes place from 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 21, and Sunday, April 22, at the Sitka Performing Arts Center.

Sitka Conservation Society and the U.S. Forest Service are hosting an Indian River Trash Pick-Up from 10-11:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 22.

Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School and Sitka Conservation Society will host a “We Love Our Fishermen” lunch from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25, at the school.

Sitka Conservation Society hosts a Tongass Trivia contest for adults age 21 and older from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, April 27, at Baranof Island Brewing Co.

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Sitka 4-H club to host archery camp during spring break

Sitka’s Alaska Way of Life 4-H club will host an archery camp for ages 9 and older during spring break, Monday through Friday, March 12-16, at the Sitka Sportsman’s Association RV Park (5211 Halibut Point Road).

“Get outside over spring break, and practice the sport of archery,” said Claire Sanchez, Community Sustainability Organizer for 4-H and Community with the Sitka Conservation Society. “Explore the combination of art, science, history, athleticism, and fun!”

The camp costs $20 and scholarships are available. All participants must be registered with the Alaska Way of Life 4-H club in order to participate, so they are covered by the program’s insurance plan. The registration deadline is close of business on Wednesday, March 7.

For more details, contact Claire Sanchez at 747-7509 or

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Alaska Avalanche Information Center to host avalanche training courses March 1-5 in Sitka (CORRECTED)

If you love to ski, board, sled, hike, ride snowmachines, dog mush, fish, climb or otherwise get out to explore the beautiful state of Alaska, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to be prepared if something goes wrong. This is why the Alaska Avalanche Information Center will be in town from Thursday, March 1, through Monday, March 5, to lead a variety of avalanche training classes

Alaska is a land of big adventures and wild, open spaces; a place where anyone with little skill can jump on a snowmachine or skis and be surrounded by wilderness within minutes. The very reason so many people come to this country.

But Alaska is also known for the greatest number of unintentional injuries and deaths per capita when it comes to outdoor incidents like avalanches, drowning and snowmachine crashes.

Every year the Alaska State Troopers, Alaska Mountain Rescue Group, and other professional agencies and organizations respond to dozens of search and rescue calls when people find themselves in situations they are ill prepared to handle.

Will you know what to do and be prepared with the supplies you need if you become trapped by weather, mechanical failure or other situations and suddenly find yourself forced to spend an unexpected night out? If you or someone in your group gets injured, will you have the knowledge, supplies and confidence to manage medical emergencies?

If you answered no to any of these questions, you owe it to yourself and your family to attend the Alaska Backcountry Preparedness – Live to Ride Another Day – program made possible with support from the Alaska Department of Public Safety, Division of Alaska State Troopers. This free training is designed to help you learn and practice the skills you need to prepare for your wilderness travels and adventures.

The Alaska State Troopers have developed a checklist of critical skills that they believe every backcountry traveler should know. This includes:

  • Avalanche Awareness
  • ATV/Snowmobile Safety (if appropriate)
  • Basics of Survival (food, water, shelter, heat…)
  • Communication
  • Companion Rescue Skills
  • Trip Planning
  • Water Crossing
  • Wilderness First Aid
  • Wildlife Awareness
  • What to do if you become the subject of a Search and Rescue mission

The Alaska Avalanche Information Center’s team of professional instructors has developed a captivating, interactive program to teach these critical skills and to help encourage outdoor recreation for healthy lifestyles.

This program is coming to Sitka on Thursday, March 1 through Monday, March 5. (NOTE: The following schedule has been updated from what was originally reported.) It will be available for school programs March 1 or 2, and it will host a free community backcountry skills workshop from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, March 2, at the Mean Queen (lower level).

The Alaska Avalanche Information Center also is offering a three-day Avalanche Level 1 course on Thursday, March 1, through Sunday, March 4). This is a 24-hour course and compliant with the American Avalanche Association training standards. The course opens from 6-10 p.m. on Thursday, March 1, at a location TBA, followed by a 6-10 p.m. session on Friday, March 2, at the Sitka Fire Hall, with field days from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday at locations TBA. The Avalanche Level 1 course costs $306.

Learn more and register for these programs at or call (907) 376-2898. Meredith Condon is the local coordinator for the event and she can be reached at (703) 201-6495 or

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Registration open for 2018 Sitka Sound Science Center summer camps

Registration is now open for summer camp at the Sitka Sound Science Center.

Summer camps are an important part of the Sitka Sound Science Center’s mission for increasing understanding and awareness of Sitka’s ecosystems. Throughout the year, its educational programs offer many opportunities for emerging scientists of all ages to join the scientific community. During the summer, the camps promise to be some of the most fun and adventurous experiences for being involved in science.

The Sitka Sound Science Center partners with organizations across the community — including Sitka Conservation SocietySitka Fine Arts CampNational Park Service (Sitka National Historical Park), U.S. Coast Guard (Air Station Sitka), U.S. Forest Service(Tongass National ForestSitka Ranger District), and the Sitka Tribe of Alaska — to take advantage of professional expertise in natural sciences, technology, engineering and culture.

The theme for this summer’s camps is “collections.” Whether it is a first-grader exploring metamorphic rocks or an eighth-grader looking at the engineering behind building trails, all the summer camps emphasize building strong science foundations in an engaging, active manner that celebrates exploration and tinkering. You can review the classes at or click the link below.

The Sitka Sound Science Center offers week-long camps during eight weeks of the summer months. While topics and ages range vary from week to week, all camps are age appropriate, richly experiential, outdoor and community exploratory, and project-based. Each camp session includes 3-5 scientists and educators with 10-20 campers.  Community partners ensure engaging field trips and activities. Camps end with a culminating presentation or activity open to the community.

Registration is available online at or in-person at the Science Center. For more information about summer camps, contact Kristina Tirman at or or 747-8878, Ext. 3, or visit our website.

• Sitka Sound Science Center 2018 Summer Camp descriptions for print

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