SAIL Senior Hiking Club sets next hike for the morning of Wednesday, April 16

Senior Hiking Club April 2014

The Sitka office of Southeast Alaska Independent Living Inc. (SAIL) has announced its next Senior Hiking Club hike will be from 9:15-11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 16. Seniors should meet at the Swan Lake Senior Center for transportation to the trailhead. Sitka naturalist and bird-watcher Matt Goff will join this hike and share his knowledge.

Normally, the group usually picks the trail on the day of the hike, but occasionally a trail is picked before the event. Please note that this month’s hike is on a Wednesday instead of the usual Thursday. During the winter, hikers are encouraged to bring cleats such as YakTrax, and SAIL makes trekking poles available for hikers to use (trekking poles are great on ice or uneven terrain, and they help seniors keep their balance).

SAIL offers Senior Hiking Club events for those age 60 or older once a month, usually on the second or third Thursday. There is a $5 fee, but nobody will be turned away because of finances. The hikes are open to people of all abilities and fitness levels. To learn more about the Senior Hiking Club, check out our January 2013 post introducing the club.

To learn more about the Senior Hiking Club, senior and adaptive kayaking trips, senior cycling events, and and a variety of other outdoors skills and survival classes, contact SAIL ORCA (Outdoor Recreation and Community Access) program coordinator Alli Gabbert at 747-6859 or email her at agabbert@sailinc.org. The calendar below includes hiking, orienteering, kayaking, and other events for seniors, youth, and the disabled.

• April 2014 calendar of Sitka SAIL ORCA events

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

ParadeOfTheSpecies

2014+Earth+Week+posterEarth Day is on Tuesday, April 22, and Earth Week is April 20-26. Sitka will host a variety of activities for Earth Week, including some gardening classes, a youth eco-challenge, free bus rides all month, spring clean-up events, and the 13th annual Parade of the Species. Click the event names at this link for more activity details.

Giving Earth Week an early start is a presentation at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 12, in Room 106 at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus, when Gordon Wrobel will discuss his three-year USDA project to build local food systems in Elfin Cove. Contact the Sitka Local Foods Network at sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com for more information.

Lauren Oakes will discuss yellow cedar ecology and long-term vegetation changes in temperate forests impacted by climate change at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 17, at the UAS Sitka Campus as part of the ongoing Natural History Seminar Series.

yellow_cedarb_nathistorytalkBob Gorman of the Sitka District office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service will give two presentations at 7 p.m. at the UAS Sitka Campus — on Monday, April 21, about extending the growing season and greenhouses, and on Tuesday, April 22, about sustainable wood heat.

There will be clean-up events from 9-11 a.m. on Saturday, April 19, for 4-H club members and other youth, and from noon to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 22, for Sitka Conservation Society members and other community members, both at locations TBA. There also is a community-wide spring clean-up event from April 26-May 11, when people can bring in a variety of large items and hazardous materials to the Sawmill Cove Scrap Yard, hosted by the City and Borough of Sitka Public Works Department.

The Sitka Community Ride bus service will provide free bus rides during the entire month of April in its annual recognition of Earth Day.

The youth eco-challenge is from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 26, at Sitka National Historical Park. School-aged youth teams will test their skills of compass navigation, bear safety, and fire building while they make their way through the Sitka National Historical Park. Sign up in teams of four, or as individuals and be put on a team. Teams of multiple ages are recommended. It’s a race. Contact Mary Wood to register, 747-7509.

Finally, the 13th annual Parade of Species, hosted by the Sitka Conservation Society, is on Friday, April 25. 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 2:30 p.m. and parade down Lincoln Street to Harrigan Centennial Hall at 3 p.m. There will be a number of community organizations with hands-on Earth Day inspired activities for the whole family from 3-4:30 p.m. Prizes will be awarded for Best Use of Recycled Material, Most Realistic, and Best Local Plant/Animal. For more information contact mary@sitkawild.org or call 747-7509. Click here for photos of 2013 Parade of Species costumes.

• Sitka Spring Clean-Up Events 2014

• Sitka Earth Week Events Schedule for 2014

Get up and move on Wednesday, April 2, for National Walking Day

NationalWalkingDay2014Logolarge

Wednesday, April 2, is the American Heart Association‘s National Walking Day, and on this day companies, organizations and individuals across America are going to wear sneakers to work, take 30 minutes to walk and pledge to live heart-healthy lives.

These days, adults like spend more time at work than ever before, much of it chained to a desk. An unfortunate side effect is that, as a nation, we’re becoming more inactive. This is a problem when you consider the fact that physical inactivity doubles the risk of heart disease.

NationalWalkingDayLogomediumOn National Walking Day, employees are encouraged to wear sneakers to work and take at least 30 minutes out of their day to get up and walk. It’s a great way to raise awareness of the importance of physical activity and to give your co-workers a friendly push toward a healthier life.

By downloading the National Walking Day toolkit, worksite employee wellness teams can design one-day walking events or six-week walking programs to help get employees and bosses more active. Some tips include holding walking meetings, setting up printers so you have to walk down the hall to get your printouts, standing up every time you talk on the phone, and holding lunchtime walks. Getting out and walking helps reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, some forms of cancer and other medical conditions, and walking also helps relieve work stress and gives employees a chance to recharge for the rest of the work day.

In Sitka, people can participate in a variety of walking/hiking programs, such as Park Prescriptions, the Wednesday Walk In The Parks, the Senior Hiking Club and more. Or they can walk on their own, with family or their dogs to get out and enjoy Sitka’s natural beauty.

Choose Respect march on Thursday raises awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault

ChooseRespectMarch

Alaska has the highest rate of intimate partner violence and sexual assault in the country. On Thursday, March 27, there will be 150 cities, towns, and villages hosting the fifth annual Choose Respect marches to raise awareness about this epidemic and show support for victims and survivors.

People should gather at 11:45 a.m. at Totem Square for Sitka’s Choose Respect march. The march starts at noon and will follow a path down Lincoln Street from City Hall to the Crescent Harbor shelter. Once marchers reach Crescent Harbor, there will be an opportunity for people to speak about their own experiences and how domestic violence can be prevented. Curtis Thayer, Alaska’s Commissioner of Administration, will march with us and speak on Gov. Sean Parnell’s behalf.

According to 2010 Alaska Victimization Survey statistics posted on the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault website, out of 100 adult women in Alaska 48 experienced intimate partner violence, 37 experienced sexual violence, and 59 had experienced both. The 2012 Alaska Victimization Survey statistics for Sitka were slightly better, with 40 women out of 100 saying they had experienced intimate partner violence, 25 experiencing sexual violence, and 47 experiencing both.

Gov. Parnell launched the Choose Respect program in 2009, making the prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault a priority of his administration. Since then the Choose Respect marches have spread from 18 to 150 communities in 2013. Interpersonal violence is a huge problem in Alaska, and it does not only affect individuals and families, but the entire community. Please join and demonstrate that as a community, we can stand together, learn about the issues, help protect and heal, and prevent future violence.

For more information, please go to ChooseRespect.Alaska.gov or call Sitkans Against Family Violence (SAFV) at 747-3370.

Sitka Convention and Visitors Bureau seeks bids for a branding services and downtown pedestrian signage project

SitkaWayfaringSign

The Sitka Convention and Visitors Bureau recently issued a request for qualifications for a branding services and pedestrian signage project for downtown Sitka.

SitkaSign2The RFQ hopes to develop a strong branding identity for Sitka while also creating strong wayfinding signage that makes it easy for tourists and locals to find key landmarks around town. The winning bidder will be required to work with local businesses, nonprofit organizations, tribal organizations, and others to make sure community needs are met.

During the summer of 2013, some temporary wayfinding signs (see photos) were posted around town to help with the tourist season. But the signs were a little confusing and meant to be replaced by the permanent signs from this project.

Improving wayfinding for walkers has been in the news a bit lately, especially after an incident a couple of years ago in Raleigh, N.C. A group trying to promote healthy walking activities, called Walk Raleigh, posted 27 unapproved guerrilla signage around town that featured approximate walking times to different attractions. The signs included walking times in an effort to encourage more people to walk. City officials didn’t like the signage and told Walk Raleigh to take down the signs, but the signs were saved after a public outcry in support of the signs.

WalkDoverNHWalkingSignNow the group behind Walk Raleigh has created a program called Walk [Your City], which has helped other communities develop similar wayfinding signs for their hometowns. Some of the Walk [Your City] signs are pretty basic, with the name of the attraction, the walking distance, and a QR code for the attraction. But some community groups, such as Walk Dover (N.H.) have added branding elements to their signs (see photo).

The City and Borough of Sitka has approved $90,000 to implement the first phases of the project. Bids are due by 4 p.m. on Friday, March 21 (Note: Due to an error in local advertising, the deadline has been extended to 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 24) on a computer disc or USB drive to Sitka Convention and Visitors Bureau, ATTN: Branding and Wayfinding RFQ, 303 Lincoln St., Suite No. 4, Sitka, Alaska 99835.

The complete RFQ is linked below. For more information, contact SCVB Director Tonia Rioux at 747-5940 or director@sitka.org. Money for this project is coming from the Sitka Marine Passenger Fee Fund, so the area covered by the project will be in the main downtown area where cruise ship passengers spend most of their time.

• Final RFQ for branding services and pedestrian signage project in Sitka, Alaska

SitkaSign3

Greater Sitka Arts Council hosts annual Arti-Gras Art Walk on March 14

ArtWalkArt

ArtWalk-Open-House_Banner_1980wThe Greater Sitka Arts Council is teaming up with several local businesses to host the annual Arti-Gras Art Walk from 5-9 p.m. on Friday, March 14, in downtown Sitka and across the O’Connell Bridge at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus.

The free art walk gives people a chance to see new art work and visit with their neighbors as they celebrate the Seventh Annual Arti-Gras Music and Arts Festival this month.

Enjoy the Arti-Gras Art Walk at these participating businesses:

  • Homeport Eatery, featuring silent auction on six halibut painted by local high school students, on bid to support youth art scholarships.
  • Old Harbor Books, featuring Adam Andis photography
  • University Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus, featuring: Liz Zacher, Robert Rose, Norm Campbell and a special exhibit of Alaska’s Voices of the Wilderness art from the Sitka National Historical Park
  • Unity Botanicals and Backcountry Bodyworks, 327 Seward, next to Highliner Coffee, featuring Libby Stortz, Heather Bauscher, and Kitty Wilson.
  • Fisherman’s Eye Gallery, featuring Jerry Snelling photography, Ashia Lane watercolors, and a special offering of Clint Potter original watercolors. There will be live music by Larry McCrehin and hors d’hoeurves.
  • Larkspur Café, featuring photos and video by Foggy Lens (aka Adam Taylor) and the following music line-up — 7-7:20 p.m. Heather Hanson, 7:30-8 p.m. Arsenic & Lace, and 8:15-9 p.m. the Balkan Conspirators.
  • Island Artists Gallery (formerly Baranof Island Artists Gallery), celebrating our one-year anniversary.
  • Sitka Rose Gallery, featuring great new art work in the gallery
  • Raindance Gallery, featuring Northwest Coast-inspired art and will be featuring some of Tommy Joseph’s Rainforest Warriors exhibit.
  • The Loft ‘Down the Rabbit Hole,’ featured artists are Tracy Sylvester, Larisa Manewal, Cyndi Gibson, Nora Skeele, and friends.
  • Robertson Gallery and Custom Framing, featuring Doug Comstock and David J Gross, and refreshments.

SAIL Senior Hiking Club sets next hike for the morning of Thursday, March 20

Senior Hiking Club March 2014

The Sitka office of Southeast Alaska Independent Living Inc. (SAIL) has announced its next Senior Hiking Club hike will be from 9:15-11:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 20. Seniors should meet at the Swan Lake Senior Center for transportation to the trailhead.

Normally, the group usually picks the trail on the day of the hike, but occasionally a trail is picked before the event. Please note that recently the dates of the senior hikes have changed to Thursdays from Wednesdays. During the winter, hikers are encouraged to bring cleats such as YakTrax, and SAIL makes trekking poles available for hikers to use (trekking poles are great on ice or uneven terrain, and they help seniors keep their balance).

SAIL offers Senior Hiking Club events for those age 60 or older once a month, usually on the second or third Thursday. There is a $5 fee, but nobody will be turned away because of finances. The hikes are open to people of all abilities and fitness levels. To learn more about the Senior Hiking Club, check out our January 2013 post introducing the club.

To learn more about the Senior Hiking Club, senior and adaptive kayaking trips, senior cycling events, and and a variety of other outdoors skills and survival classes, contact SAIL ORCA (Outdoor Recreation and Community Access) program coordinator Alli Gabbert at 747-6859 or email her at agabbert@sailinc.org.

• March 2014 calendar of Sitka SAIL ORCA events