Alaska Outdoors

A northern red-backed vole climbing down a tree. (Courtesy Photo / Todd Paris, UAF)

Alaska Science Forum: Why did the vole climb the tree?

Despite the small mammal being common, nobody had studied or written about them climbing trees.

A northern red-backed vole climbing down a tree. (Courtesy Photo / Todd Paris, UAF)
Dandelion fluff is among the way plants have invented to distribute seeds. However, other seed plants “bribe” animals into dispersing seeds with a food reward. (Saad Chaudhry / Unsplash)

On The Trails: Bribery for dispersal agents

Seed plants have been quite inventive!

Dandelion fluff is among the way plants have invented to distribute seeds. However, other seed plants “bribe” animals into dispersing seeds with a food reward. (Saad Chaudhry / Unsplash)
Erin Jaske and Scott Sandridge cross country ski across the Manette bridge in Bremerton, Wash., on a snowy day, in this Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021, file photo. During the pandemic, people around the world sought relief from lock downs and working from home in leisure sports. (Meegan M. Reid / Kitsap Sun)

Call of the wild: Great outdoors is great escape in pandemic

Outdoor enthusiasts are certainly stepping outside to play in whatever environment.

Erin Jaske and Scott Sandridge cross country ski across the Manette bridge in Bremerton, Wash., on a snowy day, in this Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021, file photo. During the pandemic, people around the world sought relief from lock downs and working from home in leisure sports. (Meegan M. Reid / Kitsap Sun)
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Alaska Science Forum: Snow is the state of Alaska

Fun facts about snow gleaned from a new book.

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The fear of looking ridiculous or incompetent prevents many people from putting their creative abilities on display. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)

I Went To The Woods: Fear of the single star

There are good leaps and there are dumb ones.

The fear of looking ridiculous or incompetent prevents many people from putting their creative abilities on display. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)
This photo shows female king eiders. The rare-for-the-area ducks were recently spotted at Point Louisa. (Courtesy Photo / Kerry Howard)
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On The Trails: Tracks and king eiders

Eiders and more.

This photo shows female king eiders. The rare-for-the-area ducks were recently spotted at Point Louisa. (Courtesy Photo / Kerry Howard)
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Alaska Science Forum: Finding out more about the quake that shook Kodiak 120 years ago

By Ned Rozell In 1900, Alaska was home to Native people in scattered villages and camps and recently arrived miners who scraped the creeks for… Continue reading

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Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson works with villages, tribes, businesses, and government to protect the Tongass and advance Indigenous management of natural resources. (Courtesy Photo / Brian Wallace for Juneau Climate Change Solutionists)

Juneau Climate Change Solutionists: Protecting Forests through Indigenous land management with Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson

Our greatest role in the global fight against climate change is to protect our land.

Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson works with villages, tribes, businesses, and government to protect the Tongass and advance Indigenous management of natural resources. (Courtesy Photo / Brian Wallace for Juneau Climate Change Solutionists)
Erin Ranney with sockeye salmon at her setnet site in the Egegik District. (Courtesy Photo / Erin Ranney)

From Egegik Fish Camp to National Geographic camerawoman: A Conversation with Erin Ranney

Erin Ranney might be best described as a force of nature for nature.

Erin Ranney with sockeye salmon at her setnet site in the Egegik District. (Courtesy Photo / Erin Ranney)
A clutch of tree swallow eggs is partly ringed by long, white feathers. Naturalist Bernd Heinrich noted that the tree swallows using his nest boxes had a strong interest in white or light-colored feathers, sometimes collecting them from some distance away. (Courtesy Photo / Jessica Millsaps, Juneau Audubon tree swallow project, under permits from ADFG and USFWS.)

On The Trails: Wary ermine; tree swallow nests

Sights seen overhead and (nearly) underfoot.

A clutch of tree swallow eggs is partly ringed by long, white feathers. Naturalist Bernd Heinrich noted that the tree swallows using his nest boxes had a strong interest in white or light-colored feathers, sometimes collecting them from some distance away. (Courtesy Photo / Jessica Millsaps, Juneau Audubon tree swallow project, under permits from ADFG and USFWS.)
Tucker Cooper, a member of the ski patrol at Eaglecrest Ski Area, measures an area where snow has broken off in an avalanche on Feb. 21, 2021. All of Juneau is at a high risk of avalanches due to a unique set of circumstances on the weekend of Feb. 27, 2021. (Courtesy photo / Calder Otsea)

Juneau area at high risk for ‘historic’ avalanches

A month of weird weather has created a uniquely loaded set of dice.

Tucker Cooper, a member of the ski patrol at Eaglecrest Ski Area, measures an area where snow has broken off in an avalanche on Feb. 21, 2021. All of Juneau is at a high risk of avalanches due to a unique set of circumstances on the weekend of Feb. 27, 2021. (Courtesy photo / Calder Otsea)
Taking up as much space as Rhode Island, Malaspina Glacier spills onto flats near the Gulf of Alaska. (Courtesy Photo Martin Truffer)

Alaska Science Forum: Malaspina Glacier gets up and goes

It’s pancake-shaped and the size of Rhode Island.

Taking up as much space as Rhode Island, Malaspina Glacier spills onto flats near the Gulf of Alaska. (Courtesy Photo Martin Truffer)
Mountain goats are revered for their majestic qualities, terrain in which they live and their taste. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)

I Went To The Woods: No luck of the draw

My willingness to suffer and willingness to save are the key ingredients, not my luck in a draw.

Mountain goats are revered for their majestic qualities, terrain in which they live and their taste. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)
Left side: Mosses and ferns: alternation of sporophyte (2N) and gametophyte (1N) generations. Sperm swim to reach eggs on gametophytes. Right side: Seed plants: female gametophyte and its egg (1N) not independent, but enclosed in developing seed (2N, after pollination) on parent plant (2N). (Courtesy Image / Kathy Hocker)

On The Trails: From spores to seeds

No phyte-ing progress.

Left side: Mosses and ferns: alternation of sporophyte (2N) and gametophyte (1N) generations. Sperm swim to reach eggs on gametophytes. Right side: Seed plants: female gametophyte and its egg (1N) not independent, but enclosed in developing seed (2N, after pollination) on parent plant (2N). (Courtesy Image / Kathy Hocker)
A “ghost forest” exposed as La Perouse Glacier in Southeast Alaska retreated. In the past, the glacier ran over the rainforest trees. Two people are also in the photo. (Courtesy Photo / Ben Gaglioti)

Alaska Science Forum: ‘Ghost forest’ got run over by a glacier

By Ned Rozell As a few scientists hiked a path between the ice towers of a Southeast Alaska glacier and crashing ocean waves in 2016,… Continue reading

A “ghost forest” exposed as La Perouse Glacier in Southeast Alaska retreated. In the past, the glacier ran over the rainforest trees. Two people are also in the photo. (Courtesy Photo / Ben Gaglioti)
Red-breasted nuthatches can walk head-first down a tree trunk and even walk upside down underneath a branch. (Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)

On The Trails: February scrapbook

Nutty weather and red-breasted nuthatches.

Red-breasted nuthatches can walk head-first down a tree trunk and even walk upside down underneath a branch. (Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)
Jeff Lund / For Juneau Empire 
While February in Alaska isn’t “desirable” by the standards of many, it is a month in which optimism is high for the author.

I Went To The Woods: Until March does arrive, it’s just you and your attitude

Until this week, I probably would have ranked February was one of my most optimistic months.

Jeff Lund / For Juneau Empire 
While February in Alaska isn’t “desirable” by the standards of many, it is a month in which optimism is high for the author.
A northern shrike poses on a stump-garden of moss and lichen in the wetlands. Sometimes called "butcher birds," northern shrikes are sizable songbirds that can catch prey larger than themselves (Courtesy Photo / Kerry Howard)

On The Trails: Looking for owls and shrikes on the wetland

Looking for two types of seldom-seen birds.

A northern shrike poses on a stump-garden of moss and lichen in the wetlands. Sometimes called "butcher birds," northern shrikes are sizable songbirds that can catch prey larger than themselves (Courtesy Photo / Kerry Howard)
This photo shows snow- and sun-drenched mountains on Kupreanof Island in early morning, and a tree covered point on Mitkof Island at a cove by Marker 49 along the Inside Passage on Jan. 26. (Courtesy Photo / Cindi Lagoudakis)

Wild Shots: Photos of Mother Nature in Alaska

Reader-submitted photos of Southeast Alaska.

This photo shows snow- and sun-drenched mountains on Kupreanof Island in early morning, and a tree covered point on Mitkof Island at a cove by Marker 49 along the Inside Passage on Jan. 26. (Courtesy Photo / Cindi Lagoudakis)
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Alaska Science Forum: Were blue beads in the tundra the first U.S. import from Europe?

They predate the arrival of Columbus by a few decades

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