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)
This adult male Bobolink was singing and displaying in a distant field near Homer, Alaska. With the aid of a 500mm lens, astute birders documented the first occurrence of this species on the Kenai Peninsula. (Photo by Sarah Dzielski)

Refuge Notebook: The Future of the Bobolink

June 23, 2019 started as almost every other day this summer. Hot, dry weather dominated from Hope to Seldovia. It was, however, unique in the… Continue reading

This adult male Bobolink was singing and displaying in a distant field near Homer, Alaska. With the aid of a 500mm lens, astute birders documented the first occurrence of this species on the Kenai Peninsula. (Photo by Sarah Dzielski)

Out of the office: The bigger the moment, the bigger the reaction

There’s something about big moments and important games that I just can’t get enough of. As a sportswriter, it’s naturally in my DNA to salivate… Continue reading

Refuge notebook: Kenai refuge cabins are again open for business

As a relatively new parent, my appreciation of the proverb that begins with, “It takes a village,” seems to grow with each passing day. This… Continue reading

Tangled Up in Blue: Love & Volleyball

My boyfriend won’t let me be on his volleyball team. Last summer, before we were dating and when female participation in the Seward softball league… Continue reading

Out of the office: Best place on the peninsula

Columnist’s note: I felt compelled to write this column Sunday night, even though it wasn’t due until Thursday afternoon. A short time after I finished,… Continue reading

The author ran a marathon in the snow and has been feeling pretty blue since. (Photo courtesy Kat Sorensen)

Tangled up in Runner’s Blues

I’m always looking for the right answer, the right way to do things. I manipulate my Google searches over and over, to find the hidden… Continue reading

The author ran a marathon in the snow and has been feeling pretty blue since. (Photo courtesy Kat Sorensen)
Baked salmon with roasted turnips, brussell sprouts, carrots, beets, kohlrabi for dinner, Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2019, near Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the office: Summery salmon memories

Wednesday evening, everything on my dinner plate was either caught in Alaska or grown in Alaska. The last of the kohlrabi and turnips, a single… Continue reading

Baked salmon with roasted turnips, brussell sprouts, carrots, beets, kohlrabi for dinner, Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2019, near Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
A hiker avoids an icy, frozen boardwalk on a morning hike from the Dan Moller Cabin in Juneau in October 2019. (Photo by Kat Sorensen/Peninsula Clarion)

Tangled up in Blue: Winter isn’t coming

On a late September early morning drive back from Talkeetna, I saw winter surprise three different drivers. The first hit the black ice in their… Continue reading

A hiker avoids an icy, frozen boardwalk on a morning hike from the Dan Moller Cabin in Juneau in October 2019. (Photo by Kat Sorensen/Peninsula Clarion)