Architect Nancy Casey speaks in front of a small gathering at the Fireside Chat presented by the Kenai Watershed Forum on Nov. 30, 2022, at Kenai River Brewing in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Architect Nancy Casey speaks in front of a small gathering at the Fireside Chat presented by the Kenai Watershed Forum on Nov. 30, 2022, at Kenai River Brewing in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Watershed Forum’s Fireside Chats return Wednesday

The chats will cover a range of interesting topics, centered on knowledge, research and projects

The Kenai Watershed Forum’s Fireside Chats will return to Kenai River Brewing Company in Soldotna on Wednesday, kicking off six weeks of conversations about nature and conservation on the Kenai Peninsula.

Each chat is scheduled for Wednesday at 6 p.m., running from Sept. 27 until Nov. 1.

Forum Membership Coordinator Sara Aamodt said Wednesday that the chats will cover a range of interesting topics, centered on “knowledge, research and projects.” She said the goal is to seize the opportunity to get interesting people and ideas in front of the community.

The first chat, “A Mitey Mass,” will be hosted by David Wartinbee, a board member of the forum. He will talk about growths of mites in local lakes that become so large they can be seen by pilots overhead.

A new topic will be in the spotlight each week. Matt Bowser will cover elodea and pike, local invasive species. Two presentations running back to back, “Backyard Botany,” by Bonnie Bernard and “Gardening in Alaska,” by Larry Opperman, will complement each other by discussing the growth of plant life in Alaska climates and offering knowledge residents can take back into their homes.

Dom Watts will discuss mountain goat research being done on the Kenai Peninsula, and Alexa Millward and Ben Meyer will close out the series by discussing their project to map anadromous rivers and streams of the Kenai Peninsula to establish protections.

That mapping project, Aamodt said, has lots of room for volunteer involvement, and attendees will have the opportunity to get involved with the work.

The goal is to give community members the opportunity to have their questions answered, Aamodt said. To that end, each chat is roughly half presentation, half conversation. Each presentation is designed to be accessible to anyone, even younger kids and families.

“Present scientific information in a way that any everyday person can understand and take home and share,” Aamodt said.

Especially as the chats stretch into winter months, Aamodt said attendees may need to dress for the weather; chats are held outside behind the brewery, truly at the fireside.

Fireside Chats are free to attend, with food and drink from the Kenai River Brewing Company available for purchase. Watershed forum members will get one drink provided by the organization.

More information about the fireside chats and about the Kenai Watershed Forum can be found at

Reach reporter Jake Dye at

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