Sitka Sound Science Center lists guided evening tidepool beach walks for January and February

Join a Sitka Sound Science Center interpreter for an evening of intertidal exploration during two guided tidepool beach walks in January and February. The first one takes place from 7-8 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 11, at Magic Island. The second one is from 7-8 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 9, at Sage Beach. The times vary because of the tides.

On Saturday, Jan. 11, meet at Magic Island (on Halibut Point Road, near Cascade Creek), for the hike. On Sunday, Feb. 9, meet at the science center for a brief overview of the intertidal zone and what to expect to see on Sage Beach, which is on the other side of the Sage Building construction site. There also will be a short beach etiquette discussion before the hike starts.

(UPDATE: The Sitka Sound Science Center just posted this update on its Facebook event:Hi everyone. We have switched the locations for the evening tide pool walks. Due to the enormous amount of snow we have seen the last week, the Jan. 11 event will be at Sage Beach, instead of Magic Island. We will move the Feb. 9 event to Magic Island (unless the trails are still buried in snow). Thanks for your understanding, and let us know if you have any questions.”)

The cost is $10, and headlamps and identification cards are provided. Space is limited, so pre-register today. For more information, contact SSSC aquarium outreach manager Sandy McClung at 747-8878, Ext. 16, or smcclung@sitkascience.org.

Sitka to host its local Christmas Bird Count event on Saturday, Dec. 28

This year is the National Audubon Society‘s 120th annual Christmas Bird Count, and Sitka will be one of several Alaska communities to host a local event, with Sitka’s event set for Saturday, Dec. 28.

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 and slideshow to review local birds at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 26, at the Alaska Raptor Center. A post-bird count social event takes place at 4 p.m. Saturday in the house above Pet’s Choice Veterinary Clinic.

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. This event is open to all ages, and many families participate.

Last year, on Dec. 29, 2018, in Sitka, there were 75 different bird species spotted by 55 Sitka participants. The most common bird seen was the Northwestern crow, with 503 counted. They also counted 476 common ravens and 295 dark-eyed juncos. You can find Sitka 2018 stats here. You can check out other 2018 stats (and early 2019 stats) by clicking this link.

In 2015-16, the Alaska Audubon Society reported 1,157 Alaska counters in 37 counting areas recorded 149 different species and 123,658 total birds. Kodiak’s Narrow Cape-Kalsin Bay recorded the most species in Alaska in 2015-16 with 74, followed by Sitka with 68 (Alaska overall stats aren’t available for the more recent Christmas Bird Counts).

For more information, contact Victoria Vosburg, DVM, at baldeaglevet@gmail.com or 738-8661.

Sitka Teen Hiking Club launches and meets every other week at The Cloud teen center

A new Sitka Teen Hiking Club has been launched, and it will meet every other week at the new teen center, The Cloud, on Harbor Drive.

The club launched in October, and currently meets at 3 p.m. on Fridays. But there is discussion about moving the time and date to a weekend morning for more daylight walking. The hiking club is a partnership between The Cloud, which is coordinated by Youth Advocates of Sitka, and Sitka Counseling.

The hiking club is open to all teens, ages 13-18, in Sitka. Hikers should bring a water bottle, appropriate shoes for hiking, and rain gear. Snacks and transportation to that week’s hiking location will be provided.

For more information, contact Eli Evans at eli.evans@sitkayouth.org or 738-8266.

Boys Run: I Toowú Klatseen program recruiting coaches, young runners for Fall 2019 season

The Boys Run: I toowú klatseen program is recruiting boys in third through fifth grade for its Fall 2019 season. The program also is looking for male and female coaches to help teach the young boys how to be good runners and better men.

The Boys Run: I toowú klatseen program, which means “strengthen your spirit”, is a mentorship program for young boys coordinated by Sitkans Against Family Violence (SAFV), with similar programs in Sitka, Juneau, and Kake. The program teaches boys healthy social and emotional skills through running and envisions boys growing up into healthy members of society. It is modeled after the Girls On The Run program, which meets in the spring.

The registration period for young boys ends on Friday, Sept. 13. Parents can register their boys at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School, or they can register online at https://boysrun.org/register-a-boy.

Southeast Alaska Native cultural values have been intentionally incorporated into the program in each lesson, and we use running as a vehicle for games and fun activities. The 10-week program ends with a community five-kilometer fun run, teaching boys they can accomplish anything they set their mind to.
What coaching entails:

  • Practices are held twice a week from 2:15-4:30 p.m., on either Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday, at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School. It starts near the end of September and goes until mid December.
  • There is a mandatory coach training from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, and coaching applications are due by Monday, Sept. 9..
  • You do not have to be a runner to coach.
  • There is a set curriculum and lesson plans and all the supplies you need will be provided for you.

If you are interested in coaching, please contact Samantha “Sam” O’Brien of SAFV at sobrien@safv.org or call 747-3489. If you are interested in registering a boy, contact Sam or ask for Mrs. Twaddle at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School.

Sitka Sound Science Center hosts guided tide pool walks in early July

Join a Sitka Sound Science Center interpreter for a morning of intertidal exploration during three guided tide pool walks in early June. The walks begin at 9 a.m. on Thursday, July 4; at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, July 5; and at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 6. The times vary each day because of the tides.

Participants will meet at the science center for a brief overview of the intertidal zone and what we can expect to see on the beach, as well as a beach etiquette talk. After that, we will head out to the beach adjacent to the Science Center for our beach walk.

The cost is $10, and includes all day admission to the aquarium and salmon hatchery. For more information, contact SSSC aquarium outreach manager Sandy McClung at 747-8878, Ext. 16, or smcclung@sitkascience.org.

Sitka Sound Science Center hosts guided tide pool walks in early June

Join a Sitka Sound Science Center interpreter for a morning of intertidal exploration during three guided tide pool walks in early June. The walks begin at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, June 5; at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 6; and at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, June 7. The times vary each day because of the tides.

Participants will meet at the science center for a brief overview of the intertidal zone and what we can expect to see on the beach, as well as a beach etiquette talk. After that, we will head out to the beach adjacent to the Science Center for our beach walk.

The cost is $10, and includes all day admission to the aquarium and salmon hatchery. For more information, contact SSSC aquarium outreach manager Sandy McClung at 747-8878, Ext. 16, or smcclung@sitkascience.org.

Girls On The Run seeks participants for 2019 running program

Are you a young girl in third, fourth or fifth grade at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School? Applications are due Monday, Feb. 25, to join the fun of the 11th season of the Girls On The Run (GOTR) program.

Girls On The Run is more than an after-school program. It’s an empowerment program committed to inspiring young girls to be joyful, healthy and confident. Girls On The Run provides a fun, experience-based curriculum that teaches lasting life lessons while playing running games. It all culminates with a five-kilometer fun run on May 18.

Girls On The Run is a 10-week running program accessible to all girls, regardless of their athletic ability or fitness level. The program envisions a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.

Registration closes on Monday, Feb. 25, for girls. You can pick up an application at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School. Participants also can register online at https://www.gotrgreateralaska.org/. Practices will be from 2:40-4 p.m. on either Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays starting March 4 at the Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School gym.

The Girls On The Run program in Sitka is coordinated by Sitkans Against Family Violence (SAFV). There are similar programs run by local domestic violence prevention agencies and school districts around the state.

Even though the coach recruitment deadline passed on Monday, Feb. 18, the program won’t turn away potential coaches so long as they can attend the mandatory coach training session from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23, at Harrigan Centennial Hall, Room 5.

For more information, contact GOTR coordinator Shadeed Miller at 747-3493 or gotr@safv.org.