Alaska Outdoors

Voles have short ears and small eyes, and shorter tails than mice do. This vole was caught by an incoming high tide and had to swim for safety. (Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)

On The Trails: Setting the record straight on voles

Vole-riety is not the mice of life.

Voles have short ears and small eyes, and shorter tails than mice do. This vole was caught by an incoming high tide and had to swim for safety. (Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)
The Alsek River is the straight, tan waterway with a major branch that turns left into Alsek Lake. As the Grand Plateau Glacier — near top left of the photo — recedes, scientists think the Alsek River will flow that way to the sea. Currently, the Alsek River hangs a sharp right to reach Dry Bay and the Gulf of Alaska. (Courtesy Photo /Chris Larsen)

Alaska Science Forum: Big change on a big landscape

Could a roving river re-route rafters ?

The Alsek River is the straight, tan waterway with a major branch that turns left into Alsek Lake. As the Grand Plateau Glacier — near top left of the photo — recedes, scientists think the Alsek River will flow that way to the sea. Currently, the Alsek River hangs a sharp right to reach Dry Bay and the Gulf of Alaska. (Courtesy Photo /Chris Larsen)
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April is usually the author’s favorite month for steelhead fishing. If the weather and fish, cooperate. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)
April is usually the author’s favorite month for steelhead fishing. If the weather and fish, cooperate. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)
A marbled godwit has winkled a lugworm out of its burrow in the sediments. (Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)

On The Trails: Mudflats at low tide

A walk on a gray, March day turned out to be more interesting than expected.

A marbled godwit has winkled a lugworm out of its burrow in the sediments. (Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)
The beak of a female white-winged crossbill. This one died when it flew into a window. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell)
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Alaska Science Forum: White-winged crossbills and yellow snow

Why might songbirds have a thing for yellow snow?

The beak of a female white-winged crossbill. This one died when it flew into a window. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell)
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Trumpeter swans also appeared in a small patch of open water on Mendenhall Lake, a few days after equinox. (Courtesy Photo / Kerry Howard)

On The Trails: Eagle Beach at equinox time

Wildlife spotted on the water and in the sand.

Trumpeter swans also appeared in a small patch of open water on Mendenhall Lake, a few days after equinox. (Courtesy Photo / Kerry Howard)
Even with their nest covered in snow the eagles are making improvements. (Courtesy Photo / Jos Bakker)

Wild Shots: Photos of Mother Nature in Alaska

Reader-submitted photos of Southeast Alaska.

Even with their nest covered in snow the eagles are making improvements. (Courtesy Photo / Jos Bakker)
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Juneau’s Climate Change Solutionists: Growing renewable energy supplies with Duff Mitchell

If we are to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, we must electrify everything.

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The author and Fairbanks resident Harrison Gottschling return to the truck after taking a caribou in the interior over spring break last week. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)

I Went to the Woods: Cold weather caribou

I had been cold before, but not this type of cold.

The author and Fairbanks resident Harrison Gottschling return to the truck after taking a caribou in the interior over spring break last week. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)
European starlings are among the birds that add fresh, green-leafy, nonstructural material to theirs nests. In general, the added greenery is from species that have aromatic leaves, rich in volatile compounds; these plants are a highly non-random, carefully selected portion of the plants available in the nesting habitat. (Mick Thompson / Flickr)

On The Trails: Greenery in avian nests

Behavior is less well-known to non-ornithologists.

European starlings are among the birds that add fresh, green-leafy, nonstructural material to theirs nests. In general, the added greenery is from species that have aromatic leaves, rich in volatile compounds; these plants are a highly non-random, carefully selected portion of the plants available in the nesting habitat. (Mick Thompson / Flickr)
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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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)
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)