The Tour of Tsalteshi is best done with friends. (Photo courtesy of Kat Sorensen)

Tangled Up in Blue: A good ski with friends

This past weekend I spent my Saturday night waxing skis. Sunday, I woke up before the crack of dawn, at 7:30 a.m., to make the… Continue reading

 

Refuge Notebook: Ice fishing the Swanson River Road area lakes

Winter is my favorite season here on the Kenai Peninsula. Everything is slower, quieter. You can just sense that the energy is calmer than the… Continue reading

 

Refuge Notebook: Completion of the Sterling Highway Improvements Project

As anyone visiting the Skilak Lake Wildlife Recreation Area or traveling between the Kenai Peninsula and Anchorage knows, construction has been underway on the Sterling… Continue reading

 

Former Refuge K9 Officer Rex will enjoy retirement as newcomer formerly known as Thomi takes up the job. (Photo by Rob Barto/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Refuge K9 officer receives new name

Who has ever poured over a list of possible baby names, highlighting favorites and writing them down for deliberation? Who has done the same for… Continue reading

Former Refuge K9 Officer Rex will enjoy retirement as newcomer formerly known as Thomi takes up the job. (Photo by Rob Barto/USFWS)
Hallie Bergwall makes a move in a Scrabble game at Resurrect Art Coffee House in Seward, Alaska. Bergwall took home the win. (Photo by Kat Sorensen/Peninsula Clarion)

Tangled Up in Blue: Piecing together a win

My friend Joseph is a Scrabble savant by my standards and, I would think, by many other’s standards too. He excels at anagrams, staring at… Continue reading

Hallie Bergwall makes a move in a Scrabble game at Resurrect Art Coffee House in Seward, Alaska. Bergwall took home the win. (Photo by Kat Sorensen/Peninsula Clarion)
Driving through White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

El Paso or bust

It was minus 22 when we left for the Anchorage airport earlier this month. It was a sunny, beautiful drive north. The kind of bitter-cold… Continue reading

Driving through White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Bear Lake. Seward, Alaska. (Photo by Kat Sorensen/For the Clarion)

Tangled Up in Blue: A Bear Lake Loop

All summer long, you can find rowers, kayakers and more on Bear Lake just outside of Seward. Somewhere hidden on the west side, there’s a… Continue reading

Bear Lake. Seward, Alaska. (Photo by Kat Sorensen/For the Clarion)

Refuge notebook: Wintering sparrows find their way to Kenai

A recent study published in the journal Nature Climate Change highlighted some work by Dr. Kyle Horton and his colleagues, who figured out how to… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: Exploring agriculture of the Kenai, 1897-1898

On June 8, 1897, Dr. Walter H. Evans of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Benton Killin, a retired lawyer and regent of the Oregon… Continue reading

Tangled Up in Blue: Heart’s Invisible Furies

I came up with a handful of good, meaningful New Year’s resolutions but by Jan. 2, I had failed most of them. My resolutions usually… Continue reading

Michael Armstrong stands by Knik Arm in Anchorage shortly after arriving in Alaska in December 1979. The weird glow is caused by taking a photo of a slide illuminated by a desk lamp. (Photo provided by Mark Heffernan)

Out of the Office: From Florida to Alaska — A wild 40 years

Like true superheroes, every Alaskan has an origin story. The really cool origin story might involve being born a sixth-generation Alaskan from a sourdough ancestor… Continue reading

Michael Armstrong stands by Knik Arm in Anchorage shortly after arriving in Alaska in December 1979. The weird glow is caused by taking a photo of a slide illuminated by a desk lamp. (Photo provided by Mark Heffernan)

Refuge Notebook: Tales of a wildlife biologist

In 1975, as a freshman in Wildlife Ecology at the University of Wisconsin, I was required to take a weekly no-credit orientation seminar during my… Continue reading

Tangled Up in Blue: Wrapping Up

I picked up my journal this morning, ready to start closing out another year in its pages. Instead, I found myself looking back at previous… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: Stories of refuge’s past and present

It is the time of year for reflection, where we look back at the year and express gratitude for the many good things that happened,… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: The Refuge Notebook passes millennium milestone

“Welcome to Refuge Notebook. This is day one, page one of a new weekly column devoted to life and happenings on the Kenai National Wildlife… Continue reading

Sun reflects off snow covering the mountains across Resurrection Bay from the Tonsina Point area on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019 near Lowell Point, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Out of the Office: Best laid plans

I’ve always been a planner. At age 4, you could find me bossing my father around a meticulously planned tea party — the water (you… Continue reading

Sun reflects off snow covering the mountains across Resurrection Bay from the Tonsina Point area on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019 near Lowell Point, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
An American red squirrel eating white spruce seeds. (Photo by Courtney Celley/USFWS)

Refuge notebook: Squirrels are incredible

I recently took a family vacation to my home state of Minnesota to visit family and friends. We arrived in time to help rake up… Continue reading

An American red squirrel eating white spruce seeds. (Photo by Courtney Celley/USFWS)

Refuge notebook: Taking the wild out of wildlife

I find this a little depressing. A 2018 study published by the National Academy of Sciences estimates that by weight, 70% of all birds on… Continue reading

Graduate student Sue Ives used this portable acrylic chamber with an infrared gas analyzer to measure carbon flow in a peatland on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo provided by the refuge)

Refuge notebook: Healthy peatlands store carbon and help salmon

After this last summer’s lightning, fires and long drought, it should be obvious that our local climate is becoming warmer and drier than longtime residents… Continue reading

Graduate student Sue Ives used this portable acrylic chamber with an infrared gas analyzer to measure carbon flow in a peatland on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo provided by the refuge)
A brave volunteer dressed up in a bat costume to help peers visualize the anatomy of a bat resulted in an unusual question. (Photo provided by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Refuge notebook: No silly questions

“Why don’t bats get dizzy from hanging upside down?” A second grade student at Tustumena Elementary School posed this excellent question to me. I stood… Continue reading

A brave volunteer dressed up in a bat costume to help peers visualize the anatomy of a bat resulted in an unusual question. (Photo provided by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)