The Lucky Herring is Eco-Discovery Day topic March 17 at Sitka Sound Science Center

Join us for an epic herring journey from 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, March 17, at the Sitka Sound Science Center. Participate in games and activities to learn what it takes for a herring to go from egg to adult. Those who take the journey earn their very own Eco-Discovery button upon completion.

There will be multiple stations with hands-on activities appropriate for children between kindergarten and sixth grade. The expected time it takes to solve the mystery is 30-45 minutes. Kids should be accompanied by an adult.

Eco-Discovery is coordinated by a partnership between the Sitka Sound Science Center, Sitka National Historical Park and Sitka Conservation Society. For more information about the event, contact Kristina at

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Sitka Spruce Tips 4-H Club to host Spring Wonders Camp and Nature Journaling programs

The Sitka Spruce Tips 4-H Club will host the Spring Wonders Camp on Monday through Wednesday, March 13-15, at a variety of locations in Sitka. In addition, the club will host a Nature Journaling Series for five weeks starting on Monday, March 20.

The Spring Wonders Camp has two sessions, with ages 5-8 meeting from 9:30-11 a.m. and ages 9-older meeting from 2:30-4 p.m. Some of the activities include baking bread in a bag at the Sitka Kitch, hiking, and nature-inspired movement at Yoga Union. These activities are subject to change.

There is a $10 supply fee for the camp, and scholarships are available. Participants must be 4-H members to register, and the registration deadline for the camp is at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 10.

The Nature Journaling Series meets from 3:30-5 p.m. on Mondays starting March 20 for ages 9-older and from 3:30-5 p.m. on Tuesdays starting March 21 for ages 5-8. The series lasts for five sessions, and there will be no sessions on April 3-4.

There is a $5 fee for the journaling series, and scholarships are available. The registration deadline for this series is at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 17.

For more information on both programs, contact Julia Tawney of the Sitka Conservation Society at 747-7509 or

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AK Experience Camp gives youth a chance to experience Alaska skills and adventure


The 2017 AK Experience Camp is fast approaching (June 5-9 at the Eagle River Scout Camp in Juneau), so it’s time to sign up your Southeast Alaska youth now. Registration is on a first -come, first-served basis, and members of the Sitka Spruce Tips 4-H Club will be attending. You can find the registration information and pictures from previous years on the Southeast Alaska 4-H website here.

The camp registration fee is $300 and the 4-H enrollment fee is $25. The check for camp will need to be made out to Southeast 4-H and can be dropped off at the Juneau office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service at 450 Whittier Street, or mailed to UAF Cooperative Extension Service, P.O. Box 21266 Juneau, Alaska, 99802. There are scholarships available through Juneau Parks & Recreation and also through the Juneau UAF Cooperative Extension Service office.

The 4-H fee can be paid via credit card online during enrollment in 4-H. We are still requiring the paper form of the registration for our camp, but families also need to enroll in 4-H Online. Please visit the enroll in 4-H page for details. After you have filled out the online forms you will pick a club and project. Select AK Experience Camp for the club and adventure/challenge for the project. If you have already enrolled at 4-H Online, please go into your youth’s account and select AK Experience Camp as an additional club. This helps us to keep up to date on the youth who get to go to our awesome camp.

Special Invitation to Youth Leaders: We have created an opportunity for youth entering 10th through 12th grades to attend the Pre-Camp Teen Leadership and Adventure which is Wednesday to Friday, May 31-June 2, and is the new venue for our signature survival shelter overnight adventure. This training session prepares our youth leaders for assisting at camp and participation is by a special application (available upon request).

For more information about the camp, please contact Darren Snyder of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service by email at or phone at 907-523-3280, Ext. 2. For help registering for camp, please contact Susie Wilkie by email at or phone at 907-523-3280, Ext. 0

This camp is brought to our Alaskan youth by partners at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service 4-H program and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, with the invaluable help of a robust team of trained volunteers and professionals. The UAF Cooperative Extension Service is truly thankful for everyone who gives so much to make this camp possible. Thanks and we’ll see you at camp!

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Registration open for 2017 Sitka Sound Science Center summer camps


100_0532Summer 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 Society, Sitka Fine Arts Camp, National 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.

13479396_1024381470991904_2139465712_nThe 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 Fees:  

  • SSSC Members and Coast Guard Family = $100/camper and $120/family camp
  • Non SSSC Members = $125/camper and $150/family camp

For more information, please contact Janet Clarke, SSSC Education Manager at 747-8878, ext. 3 or


asa-and-jesseThis year, our summer camps share a common theme of “MOTION”. Whether it is a first grader exploring biomimicry or an eighth grader looking at the engineering behind electric cars, all of the summer camps emphasize building strong science foundations in an engaging, active manner that celebrates exploration and tinkering.

There is one Family Camp this year designed for campers to share a scientific learning experience with their significant adults. The Sitka Sound Science Center knows that a common summer outing like this is part of what makes the summer break so special.

Camp descriptions are outlined below:

  • ANIMAL LOCOMOTION (June 5-9 from 9 am to noon) — What are strategies that animals on land and in the marine environment use to move? How can humans use these observations to engineer solutions to motion challenges. Campers will explore biomimicry in this high energy, motion emphasized camp. Grade: Campers entering first through third grade in Fall 2017
  • OCEAN IN MOTION (July 17-21 from 9 am to noon) — Plankton and plastics have one thing in common – they travel on ocean currents. Campers will look at all kinds of currents in the natural world and develop understandings about causes and characteristics of currents through observations, experimentation, and modeling. Grade: Campers entering first through third grade in Fall 2017
  • MAGNIFIED ART (June 12-16 from 1-2:30 pm) — Students in the elementary camp at Alaska Fine Arts Camp have the option for participating in a workshop that is a partnership between SSSC and SFAC. Campers will enjoy artistic expression of the worlds revealed under magnification. Sign up for Magnified Art at Sitka Fine Arts Camp or on the SFAC websiteGrade: Campers entering fourth through sixth grade in Fall 2017
  • SPORTS MOTION (July 10-14 from 9 am to noon) — What factors affect the path of a projectile?  How do pitchers change the drop on a ball? Can we use scientific understandings of motion to be better ball players? Campers will exercise both their minds and their muscles in the sports motion camp. Grade: Campers entering fourth through sixth grade in Fall 2017
  • BLADES IN MOTION (July 24-28 from 1-4 pm) — “There is no such thing as a gliding helicopter.” The design challenges of helicopters, windmills, propellers, and other blades will keep these campers busy. Field trips, observations of insects, plants, birds, and marine life as well as sessions with experts will create new ways of thinking for our young engineers. Grade: Campers entering fourth through sixth grade in Fall 2017
  • REVOLUTION (June 12-16 from 9 am to noon) — “We all want to change the world.” How do engineers become innovative designers? In this camp, we will use a design process to generate ideas, solve problems, and test prototypes related to contemporary industry products and processes.  Expect some very unique challenges and thought-provoking experimentation. “Revolution” will be facilitated by visiting engineers. Grade: Campers entering seventh through 12th grade in Fall 2017
  • OCEAN ADVENTURE (June 20-28 from 4-7 pm) — Campers will explore different ways to explore the coastline of Baranof Island by participating in kayaking, paddle-boarding, snorkeling, and hiking. Grade: Invitation-Only Camp for those students who participated in “BLAST” at Blatchley Middle School during the 2016-17 school year.
  • FAMILY CAMP: EARTH ON THE MOVE (July 5-7 from 10 am to 2 pm) — Learning about our island is fun for all ages — especially when the topic is dirt. In this camp, scientists from the US Forest Service will lead explorations of geologic landforms. Each day will feature a new field trip to learn about faulting, uplift, and erosion. Field trips, experiments, and modeling activities will mean active families. Family camps are perfect for everyone – parent(s) and children, of course, but also visiting favorite aunt/uncle and their nephews/nieces, grandparents looking for quality time opportunities with grandchildren, and so on. Note: Each family registration includes up to three individuals; there will be a $10 fee for an additional family member.

100_0484Postscript for Parents:  Trying to decide what age group is the best fit for your camper?  Please read the descriptions below to select the grade level that best suits your child this year.

What happens at camp?  Each camp follows a similar daily schedule: opening activity, content rich exploration, physically active game or walk, a snack, project time, closing activity.  However, content complexity, group skills, and time spent on each task differ with age groups.

What are the skills expected at the camps?

  • Grades 1-3 camps — Campers should be easily able to walk to the Sitka National Historic Park, around the loop trail, and back again. They should have group skills such as listening, waiting for their turn, and kindness toward others. Content is integrated into stories, explorations, games, and projects. Activities work time is restricted to about 30-45 minute blocks.
  • Grades 4-6 camps — Campers should be able to sustain 30 or 45 minutes of a game or walk. They are expected to be able to listen to other’s ideas, plan together, and play cooperative and competitive games. Campers in Grades 4-6 learn content from direct instruction, experimentation, and discovery activities. These campers can plan to work on challenges or projects in 45-60 minute blocks.
  • Grades 7-9 camps — Campers in Grades 7-9 should be able to sustain focus for an hour long field trip, be able to swim, and be capable of rigorous activity for an hour or more.  They must exhibit a more mature level of cooperative planning, division of jobs, affirmative relationships, and self-discipline. These campers will experience content from direct instruction, individual research, group share, scientific method, and Q & A with experts. Work blocks will be 60-90 minutes, and in some cases may extend for several hours.

To register for the camps, click this link and fill out the online form.

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Sitka Youth Sleuths needed Jan. 28 for Eco-Discovery Day at Sitka Sound Science Center


Attention, calling all Sitka Youth Sleuths! Bella the Baby Sea Urchin has been swept away by a strong ocean current and she can’t be found. We need your help.

Come to the Sitka Sound Science Center between 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Jan. 28, at the Sitka Sound Science Center. Come solve the mystery and reunite Bella with her family. Those who crack the case earn their very own Eco-Discovery button upon completion of the investigation.

There will be multiple stations with hands-on activities appropriate for children between kindergarten and sixth grade. The expected time it takes to solve the mystery is 30-45 minutes. Kids should be accompanied by an adult.

Eco-Discovery is coordinated by a partnership between the Sitka Sound Science Center, Sitka National Historical Park and Sitka Conservation Society. For more information about the event, contact Kristina at

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Fundraising dinner and dessert auction for Sitka Community Playground is Sunday, Jan. 29, at the Elks Lodge


Help raise funds for Sitka’s first American Disabilities Act-compliant playground by attending the Sitka Community Playground dinner from 5-7 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 29, at the Sitka Elks Lodge #1662.

The event features a dessert auction after a meal of lasagna and salad coordinated by Beth Short-Rhoads. Sitka Community Playground sweatshirts also will be available, and meals can be delivered. There also will be disco dancing for the kids. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for kids.

Meals can be delivered, for those who can’t make it to the Elks Lodge, by calling or texting 738-5515 during the dinner. Sitka Community Playground t-shirts also will be for sale at the event. For more information about the potluck dinner and dessert auction, contact Bridget Hitchcock at 747-1771.

This is one of a series of FUNdraisers being held for the Sitka Community Playground. There also is a raffle organized by the Mt. Verstovia Masonic Lodge, which will take place on at noon on Saturday, Feb. 4, at Sea Mart. Tickets are $10 per ticket, with the winner taking home a $1,000 gift card from Sea Mart, second place winning a $500 gift card from Petro Marine, and third place winning $250 in yelloweye rockfish from Sitka Sound Seafoods. Tickets will be available from 2-6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28, at Sea Mart, , or you can contact Ken Creamer of the Mt. Verstovia Masonic Lodge (747-8903 or to buy tickets.

For more information about the playground and other FUNdraising efforts, click this link. You can donate online by clicking this link.


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Tickets go on sale Jan. 19 for Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival showing in Sitka


The Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival will make a stop in Sitka as part of its annual world tour, and tickets go on sale Thursday, Jan. 19, at Old Harbor Books and the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center.

The Sitka screening takes place at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17, at the Sitka Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. There will be a variety of door prizes given away after the screening. Money raised benefits the Hames Wellness Fund to support partnerships with Sitkans Against Family Violence (SAFV), Southeast Alaska Independent Living (SAIL), Sitka School District, Sitka Counseling and Prevention Services, Sitka Tribe of Alaska, and more.

Each year, the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival celebrates life in the outdoors with a nine-day festival (Oct. 28-Nov. 5, 2017) 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.

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.

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