• Three community wellness projects receive MAPP Tier 2 grant funding from SEARHC

Three Sitka community wellness projects will each receive $10,000 in funding through the MAPP (Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships) Tier 2 grants from the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC).

SEARHC-logo-rgb-150-web“Fostering health and wellness in a community is complex and multifaceted,” SEARHC Health Educator Lauren Hughey said. “We are pleased to support these three projects with MAPP Teir 2 funding because while each project has a different approach. All will make Sitka a healthier place to live.”

Earlier this year, the Sitka Health Summit collected MAPP data about community health issues in Sitka, identifying healthy weight as a key focus area. In order to help more Sitkans achieve a healthy weight, SEARHC and the Sitka Health Summit requested project proposals that addressed this key area using the identified strategies that also address the health status of Alaska Native people.

Projects must use one of these strategies and plan an intervention based on evidence-based policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) changes. PSE changes will increase access to and use of traditional and other healthy foods or increase health literacy by making them more readily available at home, work, and in the community. PSE changes are long term changes and reach a large proportion of the population. PSE changes can occur in the community, tribal organizations, schools, healthcare systems, childcare facilities, worksites, or in families.

Here are brief descriptions about the three projects to receive MAPP Tier 2 grant funding:

  • Sitka Seedling Farms (project info provided by Matthew Jackson) — Sitka Seedling Farms is an initiative to meet Sitka’s food system needs in a thought-out, comprehensive way. Many food-related initiatives have been proposed over the last several years, but most have stalled for lack of space. Sitka Seedling Farms, which is a finalist in the Paths to Prosperity economic development contest for Southeast Alaska, will solve this problem by exploring innovative land relationships with major landowners in our community to develop the resources Sitka’s food system needs to thrive, such as production space for food entrepreneurs, community greenhouses, food storage and processing facilities and more. Sitka Seedling Farms is currently in the land exploration phase. Please contact Matthew Jackson with questions or comments at 907-821-1412.
  • Sitka Community Playground (project info provided by Lynne Brandon) — The grant award is to assist with the Sitka Community Playground Project Phase II, the design process. The design will help with the subsequent fundraising effort. The Phase III goal is to construct the new playground during the summer of 2017. Phase I was establishing a steering committee with volunteers, getting Assembly approval for the playground location at Crescent Harbor Park playground incorporating one of the three tennis courts, creating a funding plan and a timeline with tasks. The Sitka Community Playground project also is a 2015 Sitka Health Summit community wellness project.
  • Hames Center Elder Connect project (project info provided by Caitlin Blaisdell) — The Hames Center‘s Tier 2 grant will be used to create delegated senior hours for everyone older than age 65 and their caregivers to use our gym floor free of cost. These hours will incorporate group fitness activities, serve as an indoor walking space, create senior service information dissemination, and spark active, social groups for our growing senior demographic. Through bringing seniors together at the Hames Center with transportation assistance, we aim to remove many of the obstacles, such as social isolation, transportation limitations, and fixed income restrictions, that seniors may face in maintaining their physical and mental well-being all year round. The Hames Center Elder Connect project also is a 2015 Sitka Health Summit community wellness project.

Selected projects are awarded up to $10,000 for the project period of Nov. 1, 2015, through Oct. 31, 2016. For more information about the MAPP Tier 2 grant program, please contact Lauren Hughey at 966-8797 or lauren.hughey@searhc.org.


• Alaska Division of Forestry Community Forestry Program to host tree care and planting classes in Sitka

A cluster of Parkland apples (photo from the Alaska Pioneer Fruit Growers Association gallery, http://www.apfga.org/)

A cluster of Parkland apples (photo from the Alaska Pioneer Fruit Growers Association gallery, http://www.apfga.org/)

The Alaska Division of Forestry Community Forestry Program, in partnership with Sitka Tree and Landscape Committee, is coordinating three classes on tree health care and planting in Sitka. The classes are open to the public at no charge. Sign-up beforehand is not required. The schedule is as follows:

  • Diagnosing Tree Health Problems
    Monday, June 3, 6:00 – 8:30 pm
    Bob Gorman, UAF Cooperative Extension Service Sitka Office
    Natural Resources & Community Development Faculty
    Learn to observe signs and symptoms and to gather information about the biological, environmental, and cultural factors that affect a tree’s health.
  • Tree Selection, Planting, & Care
    Tuesday, June 4, 6:00 – 8:30 pm
    Patricia Joyner, Alaska Division of Forestry
    Community Forestry Program Manager and certified arborist
    Learn to select the right site, choose a high quality tree, and plant and maintain it.
  • Plant a Tree
    Wednesday, June 5, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
    Patricia Joyner
    Help plant trees in a city park. Apply what you learned in Wednesday’s class in the real world.

The classes will be held at Harrigan Centennial Hall on Monday and Tuesday and will meet at Centennial Hall on Wednesday before going to Sealing Cove for a tree planting. For information, contact the Division of Forestry at patricia.joyner@alaska.gov, 907-269-8465, or Lynne Brandon, Sitka Parks and Recreation, at 747-1852.