A new life for an old column

Two years ago, a naturalist friend and I started collaborating on a regular “field notes” column in our local monthly newspaper, the Strawberry Point News. After a great two-year run, and a huge amount of work by its volunteer editors, the paper went dormant in 2020.

Since I’m in the middle of a website re-design, it seemed like a good time to give the Field Notes features a new life online. I’ll post some of my favorites over the next few days. Today’s is the very first one, published in December of 2018.

My co-author, Codger, is the incomparable Greg Streveler. Thanks to Jen, Patrick, Britney, and David for giving us the space in the paper.

More from Wrangell

Wrangell-park-sketch-hockerOne of the fun things about traveling in Southeast Alaska is noticing the often-subtle differences in vegetation from place to place. Wrangell is just far enough south so that cedars are a major component of the forest, lending it a a different texture. Here in Juneau, we have to hike quite a ways in to find the little pockets of cedar that exist here.

The fauna's a little different too. Northern flickers are fairly common around Wrangell, but not so commonly seen here. I love watching their wings and tails flash fiery orange as they fly.

Gustavus willow

Hocker-gustavus-willow-sketchI just got back from a great two weeks in Gustavus, where I was working with students and teachers at the school.The school is wonderful; there are just over 50 students, grades K-12.  And Gustavus is a fascinating place: a broad, flat landscape, formed by outwash from the Glacier Bay glaciers over many centuries. The combination of flat land, lush meadows and wetlands, wandering rivers, and pine/spruce/cottonwood forest are an unusual mix in Southeast Alaska.I saw swans and herons, listened to a wolf moan under the stars, and got thrilled (even a little over-thrilled) by moose.

I'll post a series of Gustavus sketches next, starting with an iconic plant: willow.