It has certainly felt like summer lately, but at the Wynn we are still seeing the products of spring emerge and grow. What products, you may ask? Babies! The baby moose are on the move, seen here at the Wynn in the past few days by some of our guests. Stretching their gangly legs, navigating over roots, they follow their mother through the forests and meadows free and easy. Only rarely do they truly need to test the developing muscles in those long legs. Two weeks ago, we had the privilege to witness two calves and their mother chased across our wildflower field by a black bear – quite the exhilarating moment, and a resolute reminder that survival in Alaska’s wilderness is no easy task for any animal.
Another baby that’s out and about at the Wynn is the baby porcupine, also called the porcupette. Porcupines usually give birth to only one offspring per year, so seeing a dark-colored, short-quilled porcupette is a real honor. Earlier this week, one was spotted behind the Wynn cabin. Absorbed by the fresh fireweed it was munching, the seemingly soft ball of fast-hardening quills didn’t pay us much mind. When we got closer, however, it started to lumber off, doing its best to clear the way and part the tall grasses before it with endearing adolescent limbs.
Mammals aren’t the only ones to bring new generations into the wooded world. On a tour last week, a Townsend’s Warbler fledgling, testing its wings, awkwardly flew right across the trail to land on a branch three feet away. As it looked at the world from this new point of view, twitching its fuzzy, chubby head back and forth, up and down, we watched in awe. One of the parents soon flew up to it with some grub and shoved the food down the thin tilted throat, as birds are so efficient at doing. Refueled, the youngster took off again to revel in the feeling of the wind beneath its wings.
If you’re a lover of wildlife interactions, with creatures both big and small, the Wynn Nature Center is the place to visit. The forest is full of new life and quiet occurrences this summer. Come and see for yourself!
Alaskan women have a lot of amazing stories to share. As a descendant of Alaskan homesteaders myself, I can really appreciate the unique conditions and experiences that can be told by women who have spent a good amount of time in this great state, some even before it was a state. A book about their stories became the topic of a recent Fantastic Friday event at the Wynn Nature Center on Skyline Dr. Ladies from the Homer chapter of the Association for Family and Community Education, a former Cooperative Extension program, brought their new book filled with Alaskan tales to share with the public at this free event. The storytelling women arrived in Alaska at various times between the 1950's and the 1970's and many had spent time living in the bush. They told their own histories as well as read excerpts from the book on topics ranging from preparing salmon to the 1964 earthquake. The stories were lively and well-told and through them the women exhibited why their newly published book was titled "Spirit of Alaska Women." A special appearance was also made by long-time local, and namesake of the cabin at the Wynn Nauture Center, Daisy Lee Bitter.
The Wynn Nature Center staff spent a lot of time kidding around at the 30th Anniversary Block Party last Saturday. Naturalists Adriana, Ali, and Lindsey brought kid's activities to the shin-dig to celebrate thirty successful years of Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies outdoor education efforts. Despite a very cool July temperature, blustery wind, and even some sprinkling rain we had a great time providing activities for kids and adults alike. The party also included wine from Bear Creek Winery (with a special Alaskan Coastal Studies label), delicious food from Two Sisters Bakery (and from party-goers), a judged pie contest, and some hoppin' music from Burnt Down House. But, as one of the Naturalists running the kid's activity booth, I wager that the most creative fun was being had at the face-painting table! Check out these pictures for proof!
Chris Pallister, President of Gulf of Alaska Keeper, took a trip to Montague Island on Wednesday May 23rd with reporters from CBS.
Pictures posted below show a full net setup and also the lower wrack line full of styrofoam. The net is probably from an overturned boat, but we absolutely can't say if it is or is not from the tsunami. The Styrofoam is very fresh and was washing up in the water while they were on the beach. Much of the Styrofoam is obviously insulation from structures because you can see the indents of the structure it was attached to. These pictures are from the outside of Montague Island, and do not necessarily represent tsunami debris. The island is currently socked in with weather, and it will likely limit some of the acces to outer beaches.