Alaska Outdoors

People and dogs traverse the frozen surface Mendenhall Lake on Monday afternoon. Officials said going on to any part of Mendenhall Lake can open up serious risks for falling into the freezing waters. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Officials warn residents about the dangers of thin ice on Mendenhall Lake

Experts outline what to do in the situation that someone falls through ice

 

Mountain reflections are seen from the Mendenhall Wetlands. (Courtesy Photo / Denise Carroll)

Wild Shots: Photos of Mother Nature in Alaska

Superb reader-submitted photos of wildlife, scenery and/or plant life.

 

Sun lights up a foggy morning in the Tongass National Forest. (Courtesy Photo / Amanda Ristau, Untamed Majesty Photography)
Sun lights up a foggy morning in the Tongass National Forest. (Courtesy Photo / Amanda Ristau, Untamed Majesty Photography)
A crow harasses a juvenile eagle during its flying lesson above Channel Heights on July 5. (Courtesy Photo / Denise Carooll)

Wild Shots: Photos of Mother Nature in Alaska

Wild Shots: Photos of Mother Nature in Alaska

A crow harasses a juvenile eagle during its flying lesson above Channel Heights on July 5. (Courtesy Photo / Denise Carooll)
This photo shows the Dec. 19 sunrise. (Courtesy Phoyo / Lauren Verrelli)

Wild Shots: Photos of Mother Nature in Alaska

Reader-submitted photos of Southeast Alaska.

This photo shows the Dec. 19 sunrise. (Courtesy Phoyo / Lauren Verrelli)
Harbor seals have a face full of whiskers, which the seals use to follow hydrodynamic wakes left by prey fish; even a blind seal can track a fish this way, discriminating victims by size and shape and direction of movement.  (Courtesy Photo / Jos Bakker)

On the Trails: The sense of touch

Touch is a mechanical sense, detecting physical stimuli such as pressure, texture, stretch, vibrations and flow. Touch receptors come in a variety of forms —… Continue reading

Harbor seals have a face full of whiskers, which the seals use to follow hydrodynamic wakes left by prey fish; even a blind seal can track a fish this way, discriminating victims by size and shape and direction of movement.  (Courtesy Photo / Jos Bakker)
A "fogbow" on a northbound ship headed for Juneau in late summer. (Courtesy Photo / Paul F. Merrill)
A "fogbow" on a northbound ship headed for Juneau in late summer. (Courtesy Photo / Paul F. Merrill)
A heron stands near Mendenhall Lake. (Courtesy Photo)
Video

November brings bright sights

A good snowfall in early November drew us out to enjoy the brightened landscape…

A heron stands near Mendenhall Lake. (Courtesy Photo)
Video
Alan Alda, center, was host of PBS’s “Scientific American Frontiers” when he visited Alaska in 2004. To his right is By Valentine, who worked in the glaciers lab at the Geophysical Institute with glaciologist Keith Echelmeyer (on Alda’s left). Echelmeyer died of brain cancer six years after Alda’s visit. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell, enhanced 18 years later by JR Ancheta)

Alaska Science Forum: Alan Alda and the Alaska messengers

Climate change in the Arctic and Alaska is substantial; we can see signals it has arrived…”

Alan Alda, center, was host of PBS’s “Scientific American Frontiers” when he visited Alaska in 2004. To his right is By Valentine, who worked in the glaciers lab at the Geophysical Institute with glaciologist Keith Echelmeyer (on Alda’s left). Echelmeyer died of brain cancer six years after Alda’s visit. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell, enhanced 18 years later by JR Ancheta)
The author isn't a big fan of atmospheric rivers, but the forest variety are very much appreciated. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)

I Went to the Woods: Tireless thankfulness

One should never tire of writing columns about gratitude. I hope I never do.

The author isn't a big fan of atmospheric rivers, but the forest variety are very much appreciated. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)
George Argus collects samples of willow shrubs on a slope near the town of McCarthy, Alaska in 1955. (Courtesy Photo / Neil Davis)

Alaska Science Forum: A man of the mountain, and its willows

When you are a young boy growing up in Brooklyn in the 1930s, sniffing warm pastries your father has placed in the window of his… Continue reading

George Argus collects samples of willow shrubs on a slope near the town of McCarthy, Alaska in 1955. (Courtesy Photo / Neil Davis)
Trail Mix Inc.’s executive director, Ryan O’Shaughnessy, right, walks with Mike McKrill off Lemon Creek Trail on June 4, 2022 after taking part in the organization’s annual National Trails Day event. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire File)

Trail Mix Inc. dinner & auction returns in-person

Tickets sold out but online bidding available

Trail Mix Inc.’s executive director, Ryan O’Shaughnessy, right, walks with Mike McKrill off Lemon Creek Trail on June 4, 2022 after taking part in the organization’s annual National Trails Day event. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
This photo available under a Creative Commons license shows a lawn wolf spider in its funnel web in Laos. (Courtesy Photo / Basile Morin)

On the Trails: A wide world of webs

There are wonderfully diverse ways of using silk to detect and capture prey.

This photo available under a Creative Commons license shows a lawn wolf spider in its funnel web in Laos. (Courtesy Photo / Basile Morin)
Finding where bucks were isn't a problem this time of year. Finding where they are is the challenge. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)

I Went to the Woods: Really skilled or really lucky

My success may come in spite of my method, not because of it.

Finding where bucks were isn't a problem this time of year. Finding where they are is the challenge. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)
Bird researcher Jesse Conklin uses a radio antenna to relocate young bar-tailed godwits outside Nome on July 15, 2022. One of the birds Conklin and Dan Ruthrauff fitted with a satellite transmitter that day later flew from Alaska to Tasmania in a nonstop 11-day trip. (Courtesy Photo / Dan Ruthrauff)
Bird researcher Jesse Conklin uses a radio antenna to relocate young bar-tailed godwits outside Nome on July 15, 2022. One of the birds Conklin and Dan Ruthrauff fitted with a satellite transmitter that day later flew from Alaska to Tasmania in a nonstop 11-day trip. (Courtesy Photo / Dan Ruthrauff)
U.S. Forest Service fish biologist Eric Castro prepares to drop a minnow trap into East Ohmer Creek. The crew moved hundreds of young fish prior to doing work in back channels. (Mary Catharine Martin / SalmonState)

The Salmon State: Growing ‘giant pumpkins’ and fish habitat in Petersburg

A tree grows in Petersburg.

U.S. Forest Service fish biologist Eric Castro prepares to drop a minnow trap into East Ohmer Creek. The crew moved hundreds of young fish prior to doing work in back channels. (Mary Catharine Martin / SalmonState)
This carving by Jon Rowan has entered the realm of pricelessness thanks to the family memories and the carver himself. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)

I Went to the Woods: Value appreciation

At some point, we start wrapping our heads around value, not just cost.

This carving by Jon Rowan has entered the realm of pricelessness thanks to the family memories and the carver himself. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)
A platypus in the Sydney Aquarium chases fish and crayfish in this photo available under a Creative Commons license. (Alan Wolf / Flickr)

On the Trails: The eclectic marvels of electric ecology

What do a platypus, salamander and dolphin have in common?

A platypus in the Sydney Aquarium chases fish and crayfish in this photo available under a Creative Commons license. (Alan Wolf / Flickr)
UAA associate professor of public health Philippe Amstislavski collects samples of some of the fungi found in the forests around UAA which are similar to those his team has used to develop a lightweight packaging alternative to Styrofoam. (Courtesy Photo / James R. Evans, University of Alaska Anchorage)

Alaska Science Forum: Home insulation from wood and fungus

Alaska researchers are working to create insulation that removes carbon from the atmosphere.

UAA associate professor of public health Philippe Amstislavski collects samples of some of the fungi found in the forests around UAA which are similar to those his team has used to develop a lightweight packaging alternative to Styrofoam. (Courtesy Photo / James R. Evans, University of Alaska Anchorage)