• First Natural History Seminar of the 2015-16 school year to be about mushrooms

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The first Natural History Seminar of the 2015-16 school year will feature guest speaker Noah Siegel giving the talk, “To Live and To Dye For: Edible, Poisonous, and Dye Mushrooms of Alaska,” at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 10, in Room 229 at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus.

Noah Siegel also will lead mushroom forays on the following weekend, with details to be announced at the talk. He also was a featured speaker at this year’s Girdwood Fungus Fair and Cordova Fungus Festival.

Siegel has developed extensive field mycology skills over two decades through photographing and identifying macrofungi across North America and on multiple trips to Australia and New Zealand. His mushroom photographs have won numerous awards from the North American Mycological Association (NAMA) photography contests. His technique and attention to detail are unrivaled, arising from a philosophy of maximizing utility for identification purposes while maintaining a high degree of aesthetic appeal.

The Natural History Seminar series features regular talks (usually monthly) about natural history topics of interest to Sitka. The series is sponsored by the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus and the Sitka Sound Science Center. For more information, contact Kitty LaBounty at 747-9432.

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• Natural History Seminar Series to feature presentation on Mushrooms of Alaska’s Southern Coasts

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The next topic of the Natural History Seminar Series will feature Kate Mohatt presenting “Mushrooms of Alaska’s Southern Coasts.” The presentation is at 7:30 p.m. on Friday Sept. 19, in Room 229 at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus.

Kate Mohatt is an ecologist for the Chugach National Forest who has been studying fungi in Montana and Alaska for several years. She has been a key organizer in the Girdwood Fungus Fair and a frequent speaker at the Tongass Rainforest Festival in Petersburg. Mohatt is the lead author of the 2013 publication, Mushrooms of the National Forests in Alaska (available at the USDA Forest Service, Sitka Ranger District office in Sitka, 204 Siginaka Way).

Mohatt will talk about the importance of fungi in forests, and about some common and interesting fungi found in Alaska. She also will lead a walk focused on forest fungi on Saturday, Sept. 20, in Sitka, with details shared at the Friday night seminar.

The seminar series is supported by a grant from the Sitka Permanent Charitable Trust to the Sitka Sound Science Center, and by the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus with support from the USDA Forest Service. If you have questions, please contact Kitty LaBounty at 747-9432.

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

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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
through 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