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si tk a s oun d s c i e n c e c e n t e r

Field S tat i o n

Lisa Busch Executive Director 907.747.8878 ext. 11

Michael Mausbach AmeriCorps Vista Field Course Development 907.747.8878 ext. 10

Design by Kyle Kosma

the importance

of field study

Academic and professional development does

students to learn new topics in context and to

courses here in beautiful Sitka. With SSSC’s

not occur in isolation. Employers and institutions breakdown barriers, broaden horizons and

explore ideas while surrounded by beautiful,

support, faculty design, promote and bring their

of higher learning now look to candidates

provide an experiential setting for students

rare, wild and contemplative environments,

students and field courses to Sitka, where our

for “real” world activities in “real” settings.

to thrive. Similar to working in a laboratory,

providing the necessary support for processing

staff and local experts work to take care of

The opportunities afforded by field stations

field study provides students with time to

information and experiences. We believe in the

the rest. Such partnerships allow participants

and courses equip participants with a holistic

analyze, work with and learn new concepts as

importance of hands-on, field based learning.

to discover coastal Southeast Alaska - its

understanding of the world outside of the

they present themselves in real time within a

The staff of SSSC provide logistical support for

environment, diversity and realities - for

classroom, connecting the theories learned in

dynamic system. Studying in the field allows

university and college faculty conducting field



a textbook with on site realities. Field stations


sitka sound s ci e n ce cen te r The Science Center began in 2007 shortly after the closure of Sheldon Jackson College, a small liberal arts school established in 1880. Sitka Sound Science Center purchased and operates the old science laboratories and classrooms, while the majority of the campus was deeded to another non profit which manages housing, dining and recreational facilities available for field course participants. SSSC operates a small aquarium and salmon hatchery which serve as educational tools for students of all ages and the thousands of visitors that come to Sitka each year. As we continue to develop and grow, so do the programs we offer. As a field station, we attract scientists and faculty from around the nation who come to work in Sitka, the North Pacific and the Tongass National Forest. SSSC works to ensure that faculty and students conducting field courses in Sitka receive the highest possible caliber of study and experience outside the classroom. Our primary goal as a field station is to share and promote Sitka’s rich scientific and cultural legacy. | |







th e la st f ro nt i e r The largest State in the nation, Alaska holds a unique place within the American psyche. With its vast, untrammeled landscapes and relative isolation from the “Lower 48”, Alaska is endowed with many superlatives; the tallest mountain in North America, the most designated Wilderness Areas, the

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largest population of bears, eagles, and most abundant salmon runs of any state. Such nearness and intimacy with the natural world requires humans to balance development and immediate need with long term sustainability, making the state a microcosm of global, environmental and social issues.

SOUTHEAST Sometimes referred to as the “Alaska Panhandle”, Southeast Alaska is bordered by British Columbia and the Yukon Territory of Canada to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The region is known for its rustic coastal communities, rugged natural beauty and prolific fisheries, as well as its tourism and fishing industries. The majority of Southeast Alaska, with a population under 80,000 people, is made up of small communities nestled within the Tongass National Forest, the largest National Forest in 1 'Grizzly Bear- Sow and Cubs' Denali NPS CC BY

the country and the largest remaining intact coastal temperate rainforest in the world. Tlingit and Haida Native Alaskans have inhabited this region for thousands of years, with Imperial Russia arriving and establishing a lucrative fur trade and maritime industry in the 18th century. Both economically and culturally this region of Alaska shares much in common with the Pacific Northwestern and boasts a maritime climate and feel which set it apart from the rest of the state.

2 'Bald Eagle' Ra-smit CC BY

3 'Humpback Whale' Whit Welles CC BY


sitka, ak 57.0516° N, 135.3386° W The unique geography and location of Sitka, along with a deep and varied history, have forged a diverse landscape and population. Located on the outer coast of Baranof Island in the heart of the Tongass National Forest, all that separates this small town from the vast Pacific are the productive waters of Sitka Sound. This convergence of rainforest and | | | | | | |


ocean has inspired a culture and community equally as unique and vibrant as the surrounding environment. Today fishing and tourism constitute much of the economy and have greatly impacted Sitka’s community and culture. Thousands of tourists, many of whom arrive aboard commercial cruise ships and the

Alaska Marine Highway System, visit Sitka each year during the summer travel season to experience Southeast Alaska’s most picturesque port of call. Fishing is a huge part of the economy in Sitka. As small as Sitka may seem, it is home to the largest harbor system in all of Alaska. The hardworking men and women of the fisheries, trolling,

longlining, gillnetting, seining and diving for dozens of different species of seafood, make Sitka the 6th largest port in the nation (by value of the seafood harvested), with almost a fifth of Sitka’s population earning their living participating in some aspect of the fishing industry.



deep roots For years, Sitka has served as a capital of arts and education in Southeast Alaska. The Sheldon Jackson campus, the oldest institution of higher learning in the state, has played a varied role throughout Sitka’s history. Opening in the 1880’s as a trade school, transitioning to a 4-year college (1966-2007), and finally manifesting into its current form as home to the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, the Sheldon Jackson campus has been a hub of academic and artistic happenings since the 19th century. Additionally, the Sitka Summer Music Festival is housed on the SJ Campus and hosts a world renowned chamber music festival each summer. Despite Sheldon Jackson College having closed its doors, collegiate activity continues in Sitka with University of Alaska Southeast operating a campus on Japonski Island, just across the bridge from downtown. Located on Japonski | | | | | | ||


island as well, Mt. Edgecumbe High School is the last remaining state funded boarding school in the country, and boast a student population made up of 95% Alaska Natives. Cultural fusion pervades Sitka, where centuries old Tlingit traditional art can be seen alongside Russian American colonial architecture, contemporary galleries, harbors and modern development. A stroll through the Sitka National Historical Park (known locally as “Totem Park”) and the Sitka Cultural Center reveal the profound impact Tlingit society continues to have on the community. The Russian Bishop’s House provides a glimpse into life as it was in New Archangel, Sitka’s former title at a time when it once served as the capital of Russian America. St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral in the center of downtown stands as further testament to this Russian legacy.


2 1 'Domes and crosses, Sitka' Christopher Michel CC BY

2 'Totem' Andrew Malone CC BY

3 'Russian Bishop's House' Roger Wollstadt CC BY


academic support

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe. - John Muir

An interdisciplinary approach to learning has become an important tool in modern academia. Such an approach to learning synthesizes more than one discipline and ultimately enriches one’s educational experience. At the Sitka Sound Science Center we believe that in order to best understand the interconnected nature of Sitka’s environment, people, industries, wildlife and their shared future, an interdisciplinary education is critical. At SSSC we provide the logistical support necessary for faculty and students to adequately explore such relationships and intricacies.


The Sitka Sound Science Center offers a variety of academic support. SSSC provides lab space, classrooms, inorganic and organic specimens, and access to our small saltwater aquarium and touch tanks. We provide the hands on experiences and support necessary for quality, interdisciplinary field work. | | | | | | ||||


Forestry & Botany Geology & Energy Systems Marine Science & Fisheries Anthropology & Tourism 1 'Totem' Seth Anderson CC BY




Outdoor Exploration Alaskan ATV Tours 877.966.2301 Allen Marine Tours 1.888.747.8101

Nowhere else on earth can you walk out of your front door and explore the rocky intertidal, one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, and step out of your backdoor into the largest temperate rainforest on earth! - Ashley Bolwerk

Annahootz Alaskan Adventures 907.747.2608

Sitka is located along the edge of the North Pacific and in the heart of the Tongass National Forest. Outdoor opportunities include outer coast kayaking along diverse and rocky shores, hiking on a varied and interconnected network of trails, camping in remote wilderness areas, use of the national forest service cabin system, surfing and ATVing. There are also great opportunities for snorkeling, diving and guided field excursions with local authorities, outdoor enthusiasts and university faculty.

Ocean Raft Adventures 877.966.2301


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Aquatic Alaskan Adventures 907.738.7873 Esther G Sea Tours 907.747.6481

Sitka Sound Ocean Adventures 907.752.0660 Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop 907.747.6317


a typical day Forest Ecology Full Day – Field Trip A walk and talk excursion into the Tongass National Forest with local conservationists. Scott Harris, Watershed Program Manager for Sitka Conservation Society Kitty LaBounty, Asst. Professor, Biology, University of Alaska Southeast; Botanist Evening - Performance and Discussion A performance and discussion facilitated by a local author and philosopher. Kathleen Dean Moore, Philosopher and Environmental Writer

Conservation Issues: Human and Environmental Relationships Morning - Meet and Lecture Meet on the former campus of Sheldon Jackson College. Locally lead lecture and discussion centered on conservation in Sitka and the Tongass National Forest. Andrew Thoms, Exec. Director, Sitka Conservation Society Afternoon - Guided Nature Walk and Lecture Hike and discuss the relationship between people and the environment in Southeast Alaska with a local naturalist, anthropologist and radio personality Richard Nelson, Cultural Anthropologist; Naturalist; Radio Host

Marine Life: Tracking and Tagging Morning - Depart from Harbor on Research Boat Explore Sitka Sound and track whales with a local Whale Biologist and University of Alaska Southeast faculty Jan Straley, Whale Biologist; Associate Professor, Marine Biology, University of Alaska Afternoon - Arrive at St. Lazaria Island A birding exercise on St. Lazaria Island (Saint Lazaria National Wildlife Refuge), a nesting bird colony located twenty miles west of Sitka.

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Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? - Mary Oliver


Ent e rtai nm e n t & E x p l o rati on Despite our size and remote location, Sitka boasts numerous opportunities for entertainment and exploration. Hike through lush forest, breathtaking alpine meadows and pristine mountain lakes. Kayak, snorkel and dive the waters of Sitka Sound, or board a marine wildlife cruise for sightseeing and whale watching. Looking to hangout in town? Grab a coffee from any one of our inviting cafes and take a stroll through historic downtown, just a short walk from the Sheldon Jackson Campus. Looking for a place to eat? Sitka offers a variety of dining options for students and faculty looking to relax and take in some local flavor. Mexican, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese and American cuisine offer something for all pallets. Entertainment is never far off in Sitka either. Grab a beer from our local brewery with friends, listen to live music downtown or catch a movie at either of our local cinemas.

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Mosquito Cove Loop 1.25 mi,easy Gravel and Boardwalk


Starrigavan Valley Trail

Sitka Sportsman’s Assoc. RV Camping Shooting Range

Tony Hrebar Shooting Range

Starrigavan Campground Bird Viewing Deck Estuary Life Trail .25 mi, easy

Old Sitka Historic Site

Old Sitka State Boat Launch Pedestrian Walkway



Halibut Point State Rec. Trails .5 mi easy



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Forest & Muskeg Trail .75 mi,easy Gravel and Boardwalk


Harbor Mt. Picnic Area Gavan-Harbor Shelter

Starrigavan Recreation Area

Harbor Mt. Trail 2.5 mi, moderate

Gavan Hill Trail 3.5 mi, moderate Sterp stair climb

Sitka Cross Trail Indian River Trail 4.1 mi, easy Gradual climb to waterfall

Sawmill Creek Campground Beaver Lake Trail 2.9 miles, moderate Steep gravel,boardwalk

John Brown’s Beach Trail .15 mi, easy


Mt. Verstovia Trail 2.5 mi, difficult Steep terrain

Herring Cove Trail 1.5 mi, moderate Steep gravel

Thimbleberry Lake Trail Heart Lake Trail 1.8 mi, moderate Gravel with switchbacks

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Fortress of the Bear

Whale Park


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Sitka National Historical Park "Totem Park", great information about the 'natural' side of Sitka, as well as a beautiful collection of original, restored and replicated totem poles. Alaska Raptor Center A volunteer-run bird rehabilitation center for bald eagles and other birds of prey. Ludvigs Bistro Rustic Mediterranean fare featuring fresh local seafood, house-made bread and desserts with organic ingredients. Larkspur Cafe Located on the main floor of the historic Cable House offering lunch and dinner, serving local fish, locally roasted coffee, vegetarian and vegan friendly options, and other delicious fare. Also, a really great Sunday brunch! The Backdoor CafĂŠ Located behind Old Harbor Books, offering coffee, tea and other drinks, plus great baked goods and a rotating lunch menu. CASH ONLY! Homeport Eatery A new eatery in Sitka, offering a wide variety of different dining options (crepes, fresh juices and smoothies, soups, sandwiches, coffees, teas, beer, wine, etc.) Highliner Coffee Coffee, tea, soup and baked treats with WiFi access The Bayview Pub Good Americana menu, with a large selection of beer and cocktails. Trivia every Tuesday, pool tables and dart boards, and live music some nights.

Do wnt o wn Sitka

University of Alaska Southeast

Mt. Edgecumbe High School







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Sitka Sound Science Center Sitka Sound Science Center Field Station Block House A replicate of one of the watch towers separating Russian-Sitka from Tlingit-Sitka, also the grave of the first Tlingit Russian Orthodox priest. Russian Cemetery & Princess Maksoutoff's Grave The grave of a Russian princess, nearby one of the original cemeteries from early Sitka (headstones in English and Russian, some dating back to the late 1800's). Castle Hill The site of the original Russian fort in Sitka, offers a beautiful 360 view of Sitka, Sitka Sound, and the mountains. (located behind Harry Race Pharmacy) St. Michael's Cathedral The most iconic building in Sitka, the Russian Orthodox church (with a practicing congregation) houses beautiful iconography and artifacts from the original Russian colonization of Sitka. Sitka Historical Society Located within the Centennial Hall building, an assortment of photos, artifacts, etc. from Sitka's early days to today. Russian Bishops House One of the few remaining buildings from the colonial-Russian era of Sitka. Sheldon Jackson Museum An amazing collection of art and artifacts from the Tlingit and Haida peoples of Southeast Alaska.

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Sitka Sound Science Center Field Station  
Sitka Sound Science Center Field Station  

The Sitka Sound Science Center offers support services for colleges and universities who wish to conduct field courses in Sitka, Alaska, one...