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.

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.

Sitka Maritime Heritage Society to host summer camp, harbor walk, and a treasure hunt

The Sitka Maritime Heritage Society is hosting a summer camp, waterfront/harbor walk and a treasure hunt during August.

The Sails, Knots and What-Nots summer camp takes place on Monday, July 31, though Friday, Aug. 4, and is geared toward youth ages 10-15. During the camp, participants will learn about harnessing the wind, sailing knots, designing sailing models, and more. The camp is co-sponsored by the Coast Guard Spouses and Women’s Association. The cost is $200 for SMHS members and Coast Guard, and $220 for non-members. Applications are available at sitkamaritime@gmail.com.

Walk That Dock is a free waterfront and harbor walk set for noon to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 12. Participants will meet at 11:50 a.m. at the SMHS booth at the Sitka Seafood Festival, and then will walk Crescent Harbor, ANB Harbor and the Sitka waterfront to learn about Sitka’s maritime history. If you can’t make this event, check out the SMHS historic harbor and waterfront map posted here (note, map prints out as a double-sided 11×17 document).

All Treasures Wet and Salty is a free family fun day that includes a treasure hunt from noon until 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 19, at the Japonski Island Boathouse. This event also is part of the Sitka Seafood Festival. Young pirates can grab a treasure map to explore the historic boathouse, while more seasoned pirates can explore the SMHS collections.

Girls on the Run to close out season with beach-themed 5K community fun run on May 13

 
The Sitka Girls On The Run program will host celebrate the end of its ninth season with a beach/Hawaiian themed five-kilometer run from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 13, with the start-finish line at the Crescent Harbor covered shelter. The fun run and ceremony will honor the girls, who have been training all spring at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School.

This is a family friendly event, and tutus and bright colors are encouraged, but not required. Volunteers and cheerleaders also are needed so they can make the event extra special for our participants. Here are a few ways you can help:

  • Volunteer — There are quite a few volunteer positions available, some of which also allow volunteers to run in the event (all allow volunteers to be cheerleaders). Volunteer time requirements vary by assignment. Please register at http://tinyurl.com/GOTR5K2017. Please contact Lauren Havens at lhavens@safv.org or 747-3489 with any questions.
  • Cheerleader — Position yourself along the course between 9:45 a.m. to 11 a.m. to cheer the girls on as they run. The run starts at the Crescent Harbor covered shelter, runs along the Sitka Sea Walk and through the Sitka National Historical Park’s Totem Trails and back, so there are plenty of places to cheer people on. Bring a sign and bright colors and a positive attitude.

Girls On The Run is a life-changing empowerment program for girls in third through fifth grade. We teach life skills through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games. The program culminates with the girls being physically and emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory five-kilometer (3.1-mile) running event. The goal of the program is to unleash confidence through accomplishment while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness.

The 12-week program is one of several in the region. GOTR of Greater Alaska operates Girls On The Run programs in Sitka, Juneau, Ketchikan, Petersburg, and Yakutat, along with similar programs in other Alaska communities. Check out what the program is all about. Sitkans Against Family Violence (SAFV) hosts the GOTR program in Sitka.

Please help spread the word and encourage family members and friends to make the 2017 5K Community Fun Run a success.

Sitka Trail Works provides landslide trail status update and announces this Saturday’s hike

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On Saturday, Aug. 29, Sitka Trail Works will lead a hike on the newly repaired Herring Cove trail. The hike will include the loop around Beaver Lake before returning to the trailhead. Meet at 9 a.m. at the trailhead at the end of Sawmill Creek Road.

The Herring Cove trail has numerous stone steps and some short, steep sections, but is suitable for a person of average physical ability. There are three waterfalls and a lake adjacent proposed hiking route. The 2014 storm damage that occurred to this trail was repaired earlier this year in a joint effort by Sitka Trail Works and the U.S Forest Service Sitka Ranger District, with grant funding from the State of Alaska Recreational Trails Program. Sitka Trail Works board member Deanna Bennett will lead this hike.

As a result of the Aug. 18 landslides, several trails are closed or impassable, and the public is to avoid those areas and select alternate trail areas.

The Cross Trail from Cascade Creek to Kramer is closed to preserve site control of the landslide remediation efforts. The remainder of the Cross Trail, from Cascade Creek through to Indian River, is somewhat damaged, but passable. The trail to Heart Lake from Blue Lake Road is impassable and closed. Blue Lake Road remains closed to pedestrian traffic.

The Gavan Hill Trail to Harbor Mountain above the Cross Trail to the Lookout is impassable. The Gavan Trail below the Cross Trail to Baranof trailhead is closed as crews work to remove the old boardwalk. The Gavan route from Baranof trailhead to the Cross Trail is being replaced with a new section of the Cross Trail and will be reopened later this summer. The trail to Beaver Lake from the Sawmill Creek campground at the end of Blue Lake road was also damaged by slides and should be avoided.

Trails undamaged by the landslides include all three in the Starrigavan area, Indian River, Verstovia and Herring Cove.

For more information, visit the Sitka Trail Works website or call the office at 747-7244.

Sitka National Historical Park adds downtown Russian-American history walk to its offerings

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SitkaNationalHistoricalParkSignThe Sitka National Historical Park offers a series of short hikes within the park detailing Sitka’s history and culture. Now the park is expanding its offerings with a free Russian-American history downtown walking tour starting this week.

These tours will give participants a chance to learn more about Sitka’s Russian heritage and its role as the administrative capital of Russian America. Tours will begin at the Russian Bishop’s House and end on top of Castle Hill. Stops along the way will include St. Michael’s Cathedral, Building 29 (Log Cache Gift Shop), and the Russian blockhouse.

The first downtown Russian-American history walks will be at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 17, and at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 18. The hike is about a half mile and takes about an hour. Weekly schedules for these walks will be posted around town, at the park, on the park website, and in the Daily Sitka Sentinel.

For more information, contact the Sitka National Historical Park Visitor Center at 747-0110.

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Girls On The Run closes out school year with One in a Million 5K run on May 2

5K Poster

The Sitka Girls On The Run program will host celebrate the end of the season with the 2015 One in a Million five-kilometer run from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 2, with the start-finish line at the Sitka Sea Walk basketball courts. The fun run and ceremony will honor the program’s reaching one million participants.

Volunteer signThis is a family friendly event, and tutus and bright colors are encouraged, but not required. Volunteers and cheerleaders also are needed so they can make the event extra special for our participants. Here are a few ways you can help:

  • Volunteer — there are quite a few volunteer positions available, some of which also allow volunteers to run in the event (all allow volunteers to be cheerleaders). Volunteer time requirements vary by assignment. Please register at http://tinyurl.com/Sitka5K2015. Please contact Elena Gustafson at egustafson@safv.org or 747-3370 with any questions.
  • Cheerleader — position yourself along the course between 3:30 and 4:30 to cheer the girls on as they run. The run starts at the Sitka Sea Walk basketball courts, runs along the Sitka Sea Walk and through the Sitka National Historical Park’s Totem Trails and back, so there are plenty of places to cheer people on. Bring a sign and bright colors and a positive attitude.

Girls On The Run is a life-changing empowerment program for girls in third through fifth grade. We teach life skills through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games. The program culminates with the girls being physically and emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory five-kilometer (3.1-mile) running event. The goal of the program is to unleash confidence through accomplishment while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness.

The 12-week program is one of several in the region. GOTR of Southeast Alaska operates Girls On The Run programs in Sitka, Juneau, Ketchikan, Petersburg, and Yakutat. Check out what the program is all about. Sitkans Against Family Violence (SAFV) hosts the GOTR program in Sitka.

Please help spread the word and encourage family members and friends to make the 2015 One in a Million 5K Fun Run a success.