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

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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 k.creamer@gci.net) 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

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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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Sitka Community Playground group to meet Jan. 15 to work on FUNdraising projects

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The new Sitka Community Playground project has been designed (see concept video at bottom of story), and now we need to raise funds to purchase equipment that inspires play and imagination in our children.

The next meeting to help organize the FUNdraising campaign will be at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 15, at Oceanside Physical Therapy Center (on Halibut Point Road next to True Value). This is a rescheduled meeting, since Thursday was so icy the original meeting was postponed. We will meet to work on fundraising strategies to build the first American Disabilities Act-compliant playground in Sitka.

At Sunday’s meeting, the group will help plan an upcoming fundraising dinner at the Sitka Elks Lodge, and will learn more about the raffle coordinated by the Mt. Verstovia Masonic Lodge.

Doors open for the fundraising dinner at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 29, at the Sitka Elks Lodge, and 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. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for kids.

The raffle costs $10 per ticket, with first prize a $1,000 gift certificate to Sea Mart, second prize a $500 gift card from Petro Marine, and third prize is $250 in yelloweye rockfish fillets from Sitka Sound Seafood. The tickets will be drawn at noon on Saturday, Feb. 4, at Sea Mart. Tickets will be available for sale from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 14; and from 2-6 p.m. on Saturdays, Jan. 21 and Jan. 28. They also can be found at various locations in town, such as the Pioneer Bar, that carry raffle tickets, or you can contact Ken Creamer of the Mt. Verstovia Masonic Lodge (747-8903 or k.creamer@gci.net) to buy tickets.

turkey-trot-adIn addition to these two fundraisers, the playground project group has planned or hosted several other fundraisers, including a day when local LuLaRoe distributors donated nearly $2,000 in sales to the project. There also were two Thanksgiving fundraisers — a pie sale Nov. 22-23 at AC Lakeside and the Sitka Community Hospital’s annual Turkey Trot on Nov. 24 — that raised more than $5,000 combined. Sitka Community Playground sweatshirts are now available for $45 and t-shirts are available for $25, stop by SAIL or look for them on sale around town.

While the group has been hosting smaller fundraising events, it also has been developing its strategy for making larger requests to corporations and applications for grants. If the project is fully funded it will take about $700,000. A list of the various playground items and their costs is posted below, and people or organizations can sponsor specific pieces of playground equipment. Click this link to hear a recent KCAW-Raven Radio morning interview with committee member Bridget Hitchcock to learn more about the project.

07-15-16-Sitka Community Playground Concept PlanLocal landscape architect Monique Anderson and artists Laura Kaltenstein hosted a Design Day for kids and parents in April, and other artists have met with students at local schools. Those ideas have been refined (see the new video at the bottom of this post), and now we’re ready to take the next step — raising money to get the playground built.

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 Dave Nuetzel at 747-6859, Kay Turner at 623-7878 or Kealoha Harmon at 747-3500, or send an email to sitka.community.playground@gmail.com. You also can go to the Sitka Community Playground website, http://sitkacommunityplay.wix.com/home, or join the Facebook group. In addition, there is a link on the Southeast Alaska Independent Living (SAIL) website where people can make online donations. A Sitka Community Playground component list with prices is posted below, for people/companies/organizations that want to sponsor a particular component (note, the list is in two columns).

• Sitka Community Playground information sheet (updated Aug. 20, 2016)

• Sitka Community Playground component list for people/companies wanting to sponsor a particular component (note, list is two columns)

• Sitka Community Playground coloring sheet

• Sitka Community Playground note card

• Sitka Community Playground flier

• Sitka Community Playground quarter-page handouts (two-sided PDF)

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Sitka Spruce Tips 4H Club to offer outdoor survival skills series for youth

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Registration is open for the Sitka Spruce Tips 4H Club‘s Intro to Outdoor Survival Series.

The series is for kids ages 8 and older. It features six sessions, from 3-5 p.m. on Tuesdays starting on Jan. 17 and culminating with a tent campout on Feb. 25-26 at the Starrigavan Campground.  The program costs $20 (scholarships are available), and kids must be registered in 4H in order to participate.

During the series, the 4Hers will make their own emergency kits, learn about water purification, build a fire, learn how to prevent hypothermia, learn about wild edible plants, and more.

The registration deadline is Jan. 15. For more information and to register, contact Julia Tawney of Sitka Conservation Society at 747-7509 or julia@sitkawild.org.

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Sitka Sprouts program at Sitka Sound Science Center on hold until January 2017

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The Sitka Sound Science Center‘s weekly Sitka Sprouts program for ages 3-5 will be canceled for the next three weeks.

We will resume the Sitka Sprouts program the first second week of January 2017. (UPDATE: The first Sitka Sprouts event of 2017 will be on Tuesday, Jan. 10, not Jan. 3, as initially announced.) Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Kristina Tirman at 747-8878, Ext.11., or by email at ktirman@sitkascience.org.

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Sitka to host its local Christmas Bird Count event on Sunday, Jan. 1

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This year is the National Audubon Society‘s 117th 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. 1.

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, Dec. 30, 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 1,157 Alaska counters in 37 counting areas recorded 149 different species and 123,658 total birds. Last year Kodiak’s Narrow Cape-Kalsin Bay recorded the most species in Alaska with 74, followed by Sitka with 68.

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

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Sitka 4-H program hosts Winter Wonders Camp on Dec. 19-21

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Join the Sitka Spruce Tips 4-H program for a Winter Wonders Camp over winter break from Monday to Wednesday, Dec. 19-21.

Activities include service at the Sitka Pioneers’ Home, hiking, plant identification, creating nature inspired art, and more. There will be a morning session from 9:30-11:30 a.m. for ages 5-8, and an afternoon session from 1:30-3:30 p.m. for ages 9-older.

To register, email Julia Tawney at julia@sitkawild.org or call her at 747-7509. There will be a $10 supply fee with this series, and you need to be registered with the Sitka Spruce Tips 4-H program (for insurance purposes). Scholarships are available.

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