You feel it in the air; you see it in the lengthening days; you smell it with the changing tides.  That’s right, herring season (and Spring!) is right around the corner!  And with the arrival of the herring comes the second annual Sitka Herring Festival, a month of fantastic event for adults and kids alike!

First, for the adults. This year, we’ve been able to bring an excellent speaker from Stonybrook University in New York thanks to a generous donation from Sealaska.  On April 7th in Centennial Hall, Dr. Ellen Pikitch will present on herring management and conservation throughout the world.  Dr. Pikitch was one of the leading scientists on the Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force, is a pioneer in ocean conservation, and is a leader in ecosystem-based management of fisheries.  This event will be a potluck style, so please bring a dish to share.  We’re very excited to have her here during the herring season!

In addition to the community potluck, there will be a talk at the University of Alaska Southeast from Dr. Shingo Hamada.  Dr. Hamada is an anthropologist at the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature in Kyoto, Japan.  His talk will be on Herring Fisheries and Food Culture in Japan.  Mark your calendars for Monday, March 23rd at 7:30PM in UAS room 218.  This is a partnership from the Natural History Seminar Series with UAS and the Sitka Sound Science Center.  All are welcome, but be sure to bring your questions!

But what would a festival be without fun activities for the kids? This year’s festival will also include Yaa Khusgé Yaaw Woogoo- The Knowledge of Herring Camp.  This is a free, hands-on spring break camp connecting kids to culture that will take place from March 16th to March 20th.  Youth between sixth and eighth grade are welcome and encouraged to participate.  More information can be found at Sitka National Historical Park.  Feel free to or pick up an application at the main office of STA or at the Sitka National Historical Park Visitor Center!

For those who like a little competition, there’s the Herring Derby and the Herring Run.  Like last year, the Herring Derby will be a fun event for kids and parents to participate in.  The Derby starts on Friday, March 20th and continues through April 6th.  Weigh your fish at 429 Katlian, every day: Monday-Fridays from 9am-4:30pm, and weekends 5pm-7pm.  May the best (biggest) fish win!  Also like last year, Sitka Community Schools will host the Herring Run.  The run will start at 11:00 A.M. on April 4th at Centennial Hall and will weave through Totem Park before returning to Centennial Hall.  Herring swim in schools, so bring your friends!

There will be more fun and educational events during the Festival, including a 4H class through Sitka Conservation Society, Herring in the Hallway at Keet, Discovery Days at the Sitka Sound Science Center, and a herring film showing.  The herring film will be shown on Friday March 27th at 7pm and Saturday March 28th at 2pm.  For the dancers among us, there will also be a Herring Hop from 6pm-11pm on Saturday March 28th at ANB Hall.  The Herring Hop is a fundraiser for the Cape Decision Lighthouse Society.  The Herring Festival will also feature a Food Web Cruise on Saturday, March 21st as a fundraiser for another fantastic festival, the Sitka Whalefest.

More info for all these events can be found at or at our Facebook page.  Or you can email or call 747-7168!

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