Refuge Notebook: Recreational safety after the Swan Lake Fire

Residents of the Kenai Peninsula are all too familiar with wildfire after the summer of 2019. Not only did the Swan Lake Fire burn for… Continue reading

Out of the office: Painted blue

I went to Homer a few weeks ago to find blue. For weeks I had wanted to paint nothing but blues and purples, but I… Continue reading

A mural depicting Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as as “Joe Exotic,” in Dallas, Friday, April 10, 2020. The Netflix series “Tiger King,” has become popular watching during the COVID-19 outbreak. Maldonado-Passage was convicted in an unsuccessful murder-for-hire plot. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Tangled Up in Blue: Tangled Up in Dough

My coronavirus isolation started off strong. I was donning business casual for all my Zoom meetings and doing at least 20 pushups daily. I even… Continue reading

A mural depicting Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as as “Joe Exotic,” in Dallas, Friday, April 10, 2020. The Netflix series “Tiger King,” has become popular watching during the COVID-19 outbreak. Maldonado-Passage was convicted in an unsuccessful murder-for-hire plot. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Swan Lake Fire trails update

Last fall the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge was forced to close eight trails due to Swan Lake Fire activity. Through the fall, all eight trails… Continue reading

The view of Turnagain Arm, as seen from Hope Point in September 2018. Hope, Alaska, would be a good meeting place for a date once restrictions caused by the new coronavirus are lifted. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the office: Love in the time of corona

How do you find “the one” if you can’t even leave your home?

The view of Turnagain Arm, as seen from Hope Point in September 2018. Hope, Alaska, would be a good meeting place for a date once restrictions caused by the new coronavirus are lifted. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Refuge Notebook: A helicopter’s role in wildland firefighting

A HECM, or helicopter crewmember, performs an essential role in ensuring the safety and success of aviation operations during a wildland fire. To manage wildland… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: Keeping an eye on birds

Around this time of year I start to include a pair of binoculars in my checklist of essentials for heading out the door on a… Continue reading

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

Tangled Up in Blue: Shelter from the storm

I ran into a stranger while enjoying some spring skiing on Bear Lake last week. I spent a warm spring morning skiing along the groomed… Continue reading

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

Refuge Notebook: Migration is not canceled

A friend told me recently that March is her favorite month. What? Not May, when our birds of summer come home to nest? Nor June… Continue reading

Out of the Office: Nature in a time of pandemic can heal

As I write this I am in my third day of working at home — or, as I like to think of it, an embedded… Continue reading

During this time of uncertainty, the author vacillates between being outdoors and binge watching “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” (Photo courtesy of Kat Sorensen)

Tangled Up in Blue: Lonely among us

I set daily goals to accomplish during this universal pandemic, a different kind of frontier.

During this time of uncertainty, the author vacillates between being outdoors and binge watching “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” (Photo courtesy of Kat Sorensen)
Crested auklets are just one of 30 species of seabirds that we study, but theyղe one of the strangest with their otherworldy eyes, showgirl plumes and tangerine odor. The citrus odor may be important for repelling pests. (Photo by Michael Johns/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Introducing Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge

We’ve probably already met, but you didn’t realize it. We’re the other national wildlife refuge headquartered on the Kenai Peninsula. If you’ve taken a Kenai… Continue reading

Crested auklets are just one of 30 species of seabirds that we study, but theyղe one of the strangest with their otherworldy eyes, showgirl plumes and tangerine odor. The citrus odor may be important for repelling pests. (Photo by Michael Johns/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Birds of the World resource wows

Recently a friend asked me for information about spruce grouse. I am sure he saw the slight look of panic as I thought about what… Continue reading

The author and a friend ski the hayfield loop on Feb. 24, 2020 at the Lookout Mountain Trails near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Out of the Office: Back to basics

What do column writing and cross-country skiing have in common? Sometimes, they’re like pulling teeth. There are some days when the words just don’t seem… Continue reading

The author and a friend ski the hayfield loop on Feb. 24, 2020 at the Lookout Mountain Trails near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Refuge Notebook: Metabarcoding in our backyard

I like low key, low tech, cheap science. That is part of why I became an entomologist. I love that I can walk out the… Continue reading

The author’s fancy new skis are seen here during a ski in early January 2020. (Photo by Kat Sorensen)

Tangled Up in Blue: Don’t think twice

When my first Alaska Permanent Fund dividend hit my bank account, I did what every Alaskan wants to do, no matter how fiscally responsible they… Continue reading

The author’s fancy new skis are seen here during a ski in early January 2020. (Photo by Kat Sorensen)

Out of the Office: Dropping a line

In my ongoing quest to shake off my Florida roots and achieve the illustrious title of “Real Alaskan,” I recently managed to cross an important… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: I Think I Can Ski

Let us start with a riddle. There are 11 frogs sitting on a log. Five of the frogs decide to jump off the log. How… Continue reading

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

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

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