Neighbors Digest

Posted: Friday, January 02, 2004

Juneau hosts annual legislative reception

The community of Juneau will host the 19th Annual Legislative Welcome Reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Jan. 13 at Centennial Hall.

The event, traditionally held at the beginning of the legislative session, provides an opportunity for residents of Juneau to meet with legislators and their staff in a congenial manner and welcome them to Alaska's capital city. Approximately 700 people attend each year.

Former Juneau Mayor Fran Ulmer created the event in 1985. In the first few years, funding was provided by the city of Juneau. It is now funded entirely by private donations from businesses and individuals.

Each legislator is presented a gift basket filled with Juneau products. Local volunteers from the city, Alaska Committee, Juneau Chamber of Commerce and the Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau organize the event each year on the community's behalf. This year, catering will be provided by The Prospector and music by pianist Tom Locher.

Fireside chats range from bird hot spots to bats

The Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center is hosting a series of fireside chats in January.

"Hot Spots/Birds in the Mendenhall" will show at 6:30 and 8 p.m. on Jan. 9. Bob Armstrong, Richard Carstensen and Mary Willson will discuss the results from bird surveys they conducted in the Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge between April 2002 and May 2003. This study identified "hot spots," areas where large groups of birds congregated. The abundance of bird life on the wetlands ranges from eagles assembling at sand lance burrowing sites, to surf birds and turnstones pecking in mussel beds, to snow geese grazing on the golf course. Study findings have obvious implications as Juneau considers developments such as airport expansion and a second crossing to Douglas Island.

"Dog sledding in the Arctic" will show at 6:30 and 8 p.m. on Jan. 16. Pam Flowers, the first woman to traverse the top of North America alone, will speak of battles with blizzards and melting pack ice, as well as a terrifying encounter with a polar bear. Flowers' two books about the journey, the adult version "Alone across the Arctic" and the children's version "Big Enough Anna," will be available.

"Damsels and Dragons: Alaska's beautiful aerial insectivores" will show at 6:30 and 8 p.m. on Jan. 23. What insect can fly 60 mph, has 60,000 eyes, and can live to be 7 years old? The answer is Alaska's official state insect. John Hudson and Bob Armstrong will share beautiful images of and fascinating facts about dragonflies and damselflies.

"Things That Fly in the Night: Bats, Owls, and Flying Squirrels" will show at 6:30 and 8 p.m. on Jan. 30. Expand your wildlife viewing into the night with bats, owls, and flying squirrels. Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists Jeff Nichols, Jack Whitman and Riley Woodford will tell you about the flying squirrels, owls and bats that live around Juneau, clue you in to signs they leave, and let you know where and how to look and listen for these fascinating animals.

Contact the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center at 789-0097 for more information.

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