Earth Hour Part 2

Since our Earth Hour event at the Zoo is the first official event in Anchorage, we wanted to make it BIG.  So, we decided to go "beyond the hour" and throw out a challenge to schools within the Anchorage School District.  Since there isn't school on Saturday, we asked schools to choose the hour and participate in their own Earth Hour on Friday, March 30.  Several schools accepted the challenge. 


We spent the entire day at our partner school with kindergarteners to 6th graders, in complete darkness, making bird seed ornaments, playing polar bear board games, making collages out of recycled materials, making snow creations, planting pumpkin seeds and even reading stories.

The students got it.  They understood why we were doing what we were doing. Whether they learned how climate change affects polar bears or how trees help clean the air, they got it.  For them to understand what's happening to the environment and wanting to make a difference, is incredible.  They're our future.








It's not about the electricity or energy you save during that hour.  Earth Hour is a visual vote.  Similar to raising your hand when the teacher asks who wants to go out for recess.  It's visual.  When hundreds of millions of people, entire cities, even iconic landmarks, choose to sit in darkness for that one hour, it's noticeable.  It's this visual vote that shows governments and leaders how important the environment is and how much we care about our planet.




They Did It Again!

For the second year in a row, the Alaska Aces are the Brabham Cup champions! They are the first team in league history to win the regular season in consecutive years! Winning the Brabham assures the Aces of home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. Earlier this year they took the Western Conference crown, which earned them a first-round bye. 


The Aces open the best-of-7 Western Conference semifinals at home with games April 13-14. They will play the winner of a best-of-5, first-round series between the fourth-seeded Colorado Eagles and fifth-seeded Stockton Thunder.

Read more here: http://www.adn.com/2012/03/30/2400073/aces-win-brabham-cup.html#storylink
=cpy



Read more here: http://www.adn.com/2012/03/30/2400073/aces-win-brabham-cup.html#storylink=cpyThe Aces will open the best-of-7 Western Conference semifinals with games April 13-14. Who they play depends on the winner of the best-of-5, first-round series between the fourth-seeded Colorado Eagles and fifth-seeded Stockton Thunder.



Read more here: http://www.adn.com/2012/03/30/2400073/aces-win-brabham-cup.html#storylink=cpy




Read more here: http://www.adn.com/2012/03/30/2400073/aces-win-brabham-cup.html#storylink=cpy

I Have a Dream

Have you seen the new Discovery documentary Frozen Planet?  Because I haven't. I know right?! You'd think I'd be on top of it.  That kind of stuff is right up my alley. But in all honesty, I'm waiting for the day I can sit down and watch every single episode back to back, multiple times and when Steve and I can watch it together and I can annoy him with my ooing and awing and by throwing out random and unnecessary facts. 

This picture is a sneak peek for what's to come on this Sunday's episode.  A girlfriend posted it on my facebook. This picture gives me chills. Why? Because THIS IS MY DREAM!
So majestic.  Picture perfect. I am in love.

Don't judge. There's a story behind my love for musk oxen. For those of you that don't know, this past spring I was given the incredible opportunity to help raise two musk ox calves.  We spent as much time with them as we could, playing and going for walks around the zoo (that's right, I harness trained them). The biggest accomplishment was taking them downtown Anchorage for a summer outreach program (while my parents were in town which was even more special).  I love these girls.  They are my babies and always put a smile on my face, even now at 300 pounds.

Maya (left) and Katie.

Long story short (because I could talk about Maya and Katie FOREVER), it is my dream to see, and photograph, musk oxen in the wild.  Safe to say it's on the top of my list. Even if it means a trip up north to Nome. It WILL happen... this fall.


Besties.

I will never hesitate to post pictures of my zoo pals.  I love showing them off!  Especially these two best friends, Mac and Trip. I hope this puts a smile on your face.


Wanna play?

Mac.

Mac.

Mac.

Trip.

Trip.





Photo of the Week

There's just something about birch trees...



Photo taken at Potter's Marsh.

Join the Movement


Earth Hour is a universal message of hope and action to protect the one thing that unites us all - the planet. Together our actions add up.


More than 5,200 cities and towns in 135 countries worldwide switched off their lights for Earth Hour 2011 alone, sending a powerful message for action on climate change. It also ushered in a new era with members going Beyond the Hour to commit to lasting action for the planet. Without a doubt, it’s shown how great things can be achieved when people come together for a common cause.

Join the world for Earth Hour 2012 by switching off your lights for 1 hour at 8:30pm your local time on Saturday, March 31st.

                               


I know what I'll be doing during my hour - I will be at the Alaska Zoo, participating in our 1st annual Earth Hour at the Alaska Zoo!  At this event, the public is invited to participate in an hour-long candlelit stroll through the Zoo.  Youth from the community will be in attendance to share why taking action against climate change is important to them.  The hour will end behind-the-scenes at polar bear where we will turn on the lights and toss our polar bears some yummy treats for all to watch them enjoy!  Wish you were in AK to take part?  I don't blame you!  One of the awesome things about this event is that not only is this only the second official Earth Hour event in all of the great state of Alaska, but it's also the first ever in Anchorage! We're adding a city to the map! How cool is that?!

So, what will you be doing during your hour?


For more information on Earth Hour, visit www.earthhour.org.



Kings of the Mountain

The end of the school year is around the corner and that only means one thing, I am as busy as a bee at work right now.  The days of the week seem to blend together.  At the end of the day when I get a chance to breathe, the last thing I was to do is stare at a computer and strain my brain some more.  So sadly, that means no time for updates on Our Alaskan Staycation (although you may get some pictures, because taking pictures is my escape and always a good stress reliever).  However, I will put my busy life on pause for a mircosecond to give you all the always important hockey update...

This past weekend the Aces clinched the 2011-2012 Mountain Division title! This title guarantees them no worse than 2nd place in the Western Conference.  They are currently first in the league with 6 regular season games remaining (all away games).  Coming first in the regular season would crown them the Brabham Cup champs, an honor they took home last season, and would give them a bye in the first round of the Kelly Cup playoffs and home ice advantage throughout the entire playoffs.  Let's go Aces!


Photo of the Week

I will never get tired of this view from our bedroom window.
The mountains are always so stunning as the sun is setting.  



Happy Sunday!

Furry & Feathery Friends

This past Saturday was the perfect day for picture taking at the zoo.  The sun was out, there wasn't a cloud in the sky and the animals were feeling like models (even Peabody, which is a rare treat).
So here you have it... some of my furry and feathery friends that call the Alaska Zoo home...

Tracy the mountain goat.
One of the Arctic foxes with an egg from the adventure campers.
Jake the Kodiak bear, up from hibernation and enjoying the sunshine.
Lucky, the omega female.
Peabody (front) and Luna, the great horned owls.
Ahpun and Lyutyik race to the barrel.
Lyutyik won and Ahpun is sulking.
Enjoying his barrel.

And last, but definitely not least... my girls! They make me so happy :)

My baby Maya, the musk ox.
LOVE HER! (Can't believe she'll be 1 year old at the end of April)
Little Katie the musk ox also has a piece of my heart.
(Right before this picture was taken she came dancing over to me :) )

The View from Point Woronzof, Anchorage

Today we went on an adventure by the airport.  We were on the hunt for the breathtaking great grey owl (yes, I am obsessed with owls). Unfortunately, we didn't have luck with the great greys, but did see a bald eagle and a northern hawk owl, just as remarkable.  We took a walk down the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail and got a beautiful glimpse of downtown Anchorage, all while airplanes took off right over our heads.  Such a cool, and beautiful, day!

Tagged bald eagle
Northern hawk owl
Mt Susitna, or Sleeping Lady
Downtown Anchorage


If I had a dollar for every time I have used the word beautiful in the past 17 months, I'm pretty sure I'd be rich.


Dancing Lights

On Thursday night, the Northern Lights put on a fantastic show!  Standing out on the street in front of our apartment we were completely surrounded by them and it was absolutely breathtaking.

Please keep in mind I am still very much an amateur photographer.  Ignore the blurriness - I was very cold/excited, which resulted in a lot of shaking.  Guess it's time to invest in a tripod (hint hint).

Just another reason we're in love with this place... Enjoy :)







The Last Great Race on Earth

This past weekend marked the start of the 40th Iditarod, the "last great race on earth".  And in honor of both the Iditarod and IditaZooTM, a family-friendly event held at the zoo every year during the Iditarod sled dog race, I thought I would share a little big about this exciting time in Alaskan history.

The Iditarod is an annual sled dog race that runs from Anchorage up to Nome, AK.  The ceremonial start is always the first Saturday in March and takes place downtown Anchorage on 4th Ave.  The official start takes place the next day in Willow, AK, an hour and a half north of Anchorage.  

The trail is composed of two routes: a northern route, which is run on even-numbered years, and a southern route, which is run on odd-numbered years. This year's northern route runs 975 miles from Anchorage to Nome. With a team of 12-16 sled dogs, mushers usually cover this distance in 9-15 days. Last year's winner John Baker, set the record for the current fastest winning time, with a time of 8 days, 19 hours, 46 minutes, and 39 seconds.  

Along the 975 mile Northern route, there 26 checkpoints where mushers must sign in. Some mushers prefer to camp on the trail and immediately press on, but others stay and rest at these checkpoints. Mushers purchase supplies and equipment in Anchorage, such as food, extra booties for the dogs, batteries, tools, sled parts, etc., and these are flown ahead to each checkpoint.


Here's a few pictures I took at last year's ceremonial start...

Deedee Jonrowe, breast cancer survivorand Iditarod competitior since 1980.  To read more on her story click here.

I definitely applaud those who compete in the Iditarod.  My heart goes out to both the mushers and their dog teams.  It is such an exciting, yet brutal, race.  Few settings would be more physically, and mentally, demanding than the open Alaskan wilderness along the Iditarod Trail. 


For more information, including rules, musher profiles and current standings, visit the official Iditarod website here. Click here to view the GPS tracker.





It's Baaaack

Starting some Sunday in the very near future, I will be bringing back our Photo of the Week feature.  Get excited!!  Every Sunday, or at least those when we're not on an adventure, I will post a new pic of something that happened the week before.  These pictures may represent things we've done, things we've seen and even things we enjoy!  We hope you enjoy them :)

Denali.

Fur Rondy!

The Fur Rondy Festival is a significant part of the history and tradition of Anchorage.  In the 1930s, Anchorage was a small town with little to do during the brutal winters.  To combat this depressing time, a festival was created to coincide with the time that the miners and trappers came to town with their winter's yield.  It got its name from the economic importance of the Alaskan Fur Trade, which during the 1900s, was Alaska's 3rd most valuable industry.  So, it only seemed logical to incorporate the industry into the celebration.

The first official festival began February 1935 as a 3-day sports tournament, featuring skiing, hockey, basketball, boxing and a children's dog sled race. Since then it has gained both national and international notoriety, growing from 3 days to 10 days of celebration.  During this time the streets come alive with winter sports, native art and culture, plus tons of events for everyone to enjoy! It is a time that allows you to feel Alaska's frontier spirit. Activities include a fur auction, the World Championship Sled Dog race, outhouse races, Yukigasen snow ball fight, snowshoe softball, blanket toss, a carnival, fireworks, snow sculptures, hockey, the extremely popular, and crazy, Running of the Reindeer and much much more!

Fur Rondy came to a close this past weekend, and unfortunately I didn't get to take part in any of the festivities this year, but here are some pics from last year...

On your mark, get set...
GO!
Fur auction.

Visiting Alaska in winter may not be appealing to most, but if you do choose to brave it, schedule your visit around Fur Rondy.  It's an experience that will forever be etched in your memory. Guaranteed.