Wildlife lecture series aims for public outreach

Posted: Friday, February 11, 2011

When you live in a place like Juneau with all it has to offer outdoors, it’s sometimes easy to take your surroundings for granted.

The Southeast chapter of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance hopes to make sure that’s never the case.

The organization is starting a new informal lecture series called “Wildlife Wednesdays” with each event focused on entertaining, informing and explaining various aspects of wildlife you’ll find in Alaska, specifically in the Southeast.

“This is a series to entertain and inform the public in an informal way in various aspects of wildlife in our area,” AWA President Tina Brown said. “We just want the people in the area to come together and enjoy the aspects of wildlife.

“Also, quite frankly, we’re looking for new members,” Brown continued. “So it’s a good chance to introduce ourselves to everyone.”

The AWA, an Anchorage-based organization now 33 years in existence, opened its first branch chapter in Juneau last year to spark local interest in the preservation of Alaska’s wildlife.

“We just want people to get to know us as well as get to know wildlife and remember how much it means to them,” Brown said. “We know if people remember how much wildlife means to all of us, then perhaps sounder, more reasonable wildlife management decisions will be made in our state when people are more aware.”

But Brown said the upcoming events are intended to be purely for enjoyment and hold no political agenda.

“These lectures are not political in nature, although some could address political issues. We’re not going to be pushy about membership,” she said. “This is to bring everyone together to enjoy wildlife.”

There will be a lecture each month for the next four months — February, March, April and May — and each one will have a different guest speaker who will educate the public on different topics of interest in the wildlife community.

Jayleen Beedle and Jos Baker will share their wildlife photography in the first lecture, scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Egan Library, room 224.

“We tried to get a variety and people who are well known in the Juneau area,” Brown said. “We also wanted to have people who haven’t spoken to the public much before, or if they have, to take a different angle than they have before.

“These people know what they’re talking about, they’re experienced and knowledgeable.”

Each lecture will be held at the Egan Library. Attendance is free and “treats” will be available.

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