UAS Sitka Campus offers ‘Flora of Southeast Alaska’ course as a hybrid

Salmonberries await picking near the entrance to Sitka National Historical Park

Salmonberries await picking near the entrance to Sitka National Historical Park

Flora of Southeastern Alaska, a biology class taught by University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus associate professor Kitty LaBounty, is back for its third year.

flora-course-update-smThe DNA of most traditional botany classes is to gather students around a table of samples and look at them in a face-to-face classroom setting. By offering Flora of Southeast Alaska as both a hybrid local and distance-delivery (eLearning) class, students from anywhere can get up to speed on how to identify the common native trees, shrubs and herbs of southeast and south central Alaska. Local students can participate in the lectures on campus, while students across Alaska can see the imagery online and hear the lectures either live or via digital recording.

Flora of Southeast Alaska is a one-credit, 11-week workshop. The focus will be on identification of common species and attaining an understanding of their place in the ecosystem of Southeast Alaska. Students will discover how these plants interact with other plants and animals, and how humans use these plants for food, fuel, medicine, or simply enjoyment.

In addition to illustrated weekly lectures, there will be written exercises and “check for understanding” activities. The class is available to any student without prerequisites. It does not count as credit toward a biology major at UAS.

Professor LaBounty brings her lifelong passion as a gardener and scientist to this topic, along with more than 25 years experience working on plant identification for state, federal and nonprofit agencies in Alaska.

The class will meet from 6-7 p.m. on Thursdays from Feb. 16 to May 4 — with time off for spring break. The cost is $187 for local students and $227 for eLearning (distance) students.

For more information, contact Kitty LaBounty at UAS Sitka Campus. 747-9432. To register, call 747-7700. or toll-free, 800-478-6653.

Sitka Health Summit chooses two community wellness projects related to local food

groupshotofcitizenplanners

newsitkahealthsummitlogoHealthy nutritious local food was the theme as about 75 Sitka residents gathered to choose two community wellness projects to pursue in 2016-17 at the 10th annual Sitka Health Summit planning day Friday, Oct. 21, at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus.

The citizen planners chose one specific topic project (which can be finished in one year) and one broad topic (which may become a multi-year project). Identifying, developing, organizing and maintaining a new community garden was the choice for specific topic project. Combining all healthy and local food organizations into one nonprofit was broad topic project chosen.

dougosbornereadsoffprojectideasbeforevotingThese two projects were chosen from 21 specific topic project and nine broad topic project ideas introduced by the citizen planners (some similar project ideas were combined into one submission before voting). The topic ideas submitted by the citizen planners fell into a variety of categories, such as physical activity, nutrition, mental health, health equity, etc. The two chosen projects will each receive $2,000 in seed money, as well as some facilitation services from the Sitka Health Summit advisory team, to help get the projects off the ground.

Each of the two chosen community wellness projects will host a kick-off event in the near future, and these events are open to the public and anybody who wants to help with the project. More information about the projects, their kick-off meetings, and contact people are listed below.

  • emptyblatchleycommunitygardenIdentify, develop, organize and maintain new community gardens in Sitka — 6 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 3, Harrigan Centennial Hall, contact Dave Nuetzel, 738-8372, community.garden@hotmail.com — This project is to create one or more community garden spaces in Sitka, which has become a need due to the recent closure of the Blatchley Community Gardens behind Blatchley Middle School. Building more community gardens will allow landless Sitkans and those who don’t have good sun exposure to have a place to grow their own food. The former Blatchley Community Gardens page on Facebook has been renamed the Sitka Community Gardens page, https://www.facebook.com/Sitka-Community-Gardens-210713299032006/, which people can like for more information.
  • Combine all healthy and local food organizations into one nonprofit — 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 10, Harrigan Centennial Hall contact Charles Bingham, 623-7660, charleswbingham3@gmail.com — This project’s goal is to help the large number of Sitka groups working on healthy and local food projects (such as the Sitka Local Foods Network, Sitka Kitch, Sitka Food Co-Op, etc.) find ways to collaborate and work together to become more efficient and not burn out so many board members and volunteers because of the duplication of efforts. This project may result in some organizations combining into one, or at least finding ways to collaborate. The project may take longer than one year, as the various groups merge their missions, purposes, values, and organizational structures, while avoiding turf wars. But the overall goal is to make sure “Every Sitkan has access to healthy, affordable food.”

dougosbornepresentsawardtogirlscouttroop4140In addition to choosing two community wellness projects, the Sitka Health Summit recognized Girl Scout Troop 4140 for its work in promoting and improving the safety of the Peterson Street and Halibut Point Road intersection following recent car-bike and car-walker collisions that left people seriously injured.

The Sitka Health Summit is coordinated and funded by a coalition of local groups that includes Brave Heart Volunteers, the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC), Sitka Community Hospital, the Sitka Community Hospital Foundation, and the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus, with additional financial help from Guardian Flight, Southeast Radiation Oncology, White’s Pharmacy, Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers, Sitka Vision Clinic, Unity Botanicals, and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco-Seattle Branch Community Development Division.

For more information about the Sitka Health Summit and its current and past projects, go to http://www.sitkahealthsummit.org/. A slideshow of scenes from the 10th annual Sitka Health Summit is posted below, as well as a slideshow of scenes from the now-empty Blatchley Community Gardens.

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UAS Sitka Campus to host annual class on how to identify Southeast Alaska mushrooms

SE mushrooms Flyer 2016

The University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus Office of Continuing Education will host its annual class “Southeast Mushrooms: How to Identify Them.”

This two-day class takes place from 7:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 1, and from 9 a.m. to noon on two Saturdays, Sept. 3 and Sept. 17, at the UAS Sitka Campus (with field trips). The course fee is $45 and students should dress for the outdoors, bring waxed paper and a bucket for gathering.

This course is designed to introduce students to the mushroom flora of Southeast Alaska. The focus will be on the use of taxonomic keys for identification of fungi and recognition of both edible and poisonous mushrooms. Cooking and preservation of mushrooms will be discussed. Field trips are followed by in-class identification of collected mushrooms.

There is a maximum of 18 students allowed in this class, and the class may be canceled if at least 10 people don’t pre-register for it. For more information, contact the UAS Sitka Campus Office of Continuing Education at 747-7762. To register, call 1-800-478-6653, Ext. 7762, or go to https://uas.ce.alaska.edu.

UAF Cooperative Extension Service to offer statewide online Alaska Master Gardener class

master_gardener

Are you interested in earning an Alaska Master Gardener certification? The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service is offering a statewide summer online Master Gardener class from May 23 through Aug. 12.

The Alaska Master Gardener online course is an intensive, sustainable gardening class specific to Alaska growing conditions. This is a non-credit, self-paced, online course offered through UAF eLearning using Blackboard Learn. The course fee is $375. Register here for the Summer 2016 Alaska Master Gardener online course — Course Number: ED F595P (50942) or NRM F595P (51014), choose either one when registering.

This curriculum for this online course includes lessons on botany, starting plants, soil, composting, season extension, greenhouses, landscaping, house plants, entomology, pest management, plant disease diagnostics and sustainable gardening. The course also covers growing vegetables, fruits, berries and flowers. The text for the course is Sustainable Gardening: Alaska Master Gardener Manual, which can be purchased for $50 a copy from this link. The text is optional for the course, but it is a good resource for any Alaska gardener even if you’re not taking the course.

Students complete 12 self-paced lessons and quizzes, a book report, participate in ongoing discussions, and complete a final exam. On average, the course takes students approximately three hours per week to complete. The course is pass/fail and the summer course is not for credit.

In addition to the coursework, students also pledge to volunteer at least 40 hours teaching what they’ve learned in their communities. Examples of how students can volunteer include helping with local school garden programs or 4H clubs, working with local foods groups, writing gardening blogs, and more.

The classroom-based Alaska Master Gardener course hasn’t been offered in Sitka for about three years, so the statewide online course is the only way Sitka gardeners can obtain the training until a new Cooperative Extension Service agent is hired in Sitka. Gardeners from Sitka can contact Jasmine Shaw at the Sitka District Office of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service (jdshaw2@alaska.edu or 747-9440) to see if there will be a local classroom at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus for the online course, otherwise they will need to take it from home.

For more information about the statewide online Alaska Master Gardener course, contact instructor Heidi Rader in Fairbanks at 907-452-8251, Ext. 3477, or by email at master.gardener@alaska.edu

• UAS Sitka Campus offers ‘Flora of Southeast Alaska’ course as a hybrid

Salmonberries await picking near the entrance to Sitka National Historical Park

Salmonberries await picking near the entrance to Sitka National Historical Park

A newish biology class by University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus associate professor Kitty LaBounty will itself be a “hybrid”, and it’s back for its second year.

FloraOfSEAK_Poster11x17_2016The DNA of most traditional botany classes is to gather students around a table of samples and look at them in a face-to-face classroom setting. By offering Flora of Southeast Alaska as both a local and distance-delivery (eLearning) class, students from anywhere can get up to speed on how to identify the common native trees, shrubs and herbs of southeast and south central Alaska. Local students can participate in the lectures on campus, while students across Alaska can see the imagery online and hear the lectures either live or via digital recording.

Flora of Southeast Alaska is a one-credit, seven-week workshop. The focus will be on identification of common species and attaining an understanding of their place in the ecosystem of Southeast Alaska. Students will discover how these plants interact with other plants and animals, and how humans use these plants for food, fuel, medicine, or simply enjoyment.

In addition to illustrated weekly lectures, there will be written exercises and “check for understanding” activities. The class is available to any student without prerequisites. It does not count as credit toward a biology major at UAS.

Professor LaBounty brings her lifelong passion as a gardener and scientist to this topic, along with more than 25 years experience working on plant identification for state, federal and nonprofit agencies in Alaska.

The class will meet from 5:30-7 p.m. on Thursdays from Feb. 25 to April 30 — with time off for spring break. The cost is $187 for local students and $227 for eLearning (distance) students.

For more information, contact Kitty LaBounty at UAS Sitka Campus. 747-9432. To register, call 747-7700. or toll-free, 800-478-6653.

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

siegelbV2

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.

• ‘Flora of Southeast Alaska’ class offered by UAS Sitka Campus to be a hybrid

Salmonberries await picking near the entrance to Sitka National Historical Park

Salmonberries await picking near the entrance to Sitka National Historical Park

A new biology class by University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus associate professor Kitty LaBounty will itself be a “hybrid”.

klabountyThe DNA of most traditional botany classes is to gather students around a table of samples and look at them in a face-to-face classroom setting. By offering Flora of Southeast Alaska as both a local and distance class, students from anywhere can get up to speed on how to identify the common native trees, shrubs and herbs of southeast and south central Alaska. Local students can participate in the lectures on campus, while students across Alaska can see the imagery online and hear the lectures either live or via digital recording.

Flora of Southeast Alaska is a one-credit, seven-week workshop. The focus will be on identification of common species and attaining an understanding of their place in the ecosystem of Southeast Alaska. Students will discover how these plants interact with other plants and animals, and how humans use these plants for food, fuel, medicine, or simply enjoyment.

In addition to illustrated weekly lectures, there will be written exercises and “check for understanding” activities. The class is available to any student without prerequisites. It does not count as credit toward a biology major at UAS.

Professor LaBounty brings her lifelong passion as a gardener and scientist to this topic, along with more than 25 years experience working on plant identification for state, federal and non-profit agencies in Alaska.

The class will meet from 5:30-7 p.m. on Thursdays from March 5 to April 30 — with March 19th off for spring break. The cost is $187 for local students and $227 for eLearning (distance) students.

For more information, contact Kitty LaBounty at UAS Sitka Campus. 747-9432. To register, call 747-7700. or toll-free, 800-478-6653.