Science In The Parks

2011-2012
Meet Your Neighbours –
Anchorage, Alaska

In summer 2011, the Anchorage Park Foundation is working with award-winning photographer Carl Battreal for the first Meet Your Neighbours (MYN) project in Anchorage! MYN is a global photography project featuring some of the world’s premier photographers from 15 different countries. Carl will be working closely with Youth Employment in Parks teens to learn about our local “neighbors” living all around us in our parks!

Meet Your Neighbours is a photographic initiative that reveals the wildlife living amongst us in an extraordinary way. These creatures and plants are vital to people: they represent the first, and for some, the only contact with wild nature we have. Yet often they are overlooked, undervalued. This project will help connect teens living in Anchorage with their natural environment to become stewards of our public lands.

2007 – 2010
Ecological Effects of European Bird Cherry on Stream Food Webs in Anchorage Streams
Grants from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S.D.A. Forest Service & University of Alaska Fairbanks

UAF graduate student David Roon continues work on his master’s research studying the ecological effects associated with European Bird Cherry. European Bird Cherry (Prunus padus L.) is a non-native tree that has invaded the riparian zones along streams within the Municipality of Anchorage, including Campbell and Chester Creeks. The study seeks to determine how this invasive tree may be affecting stream food webs, namely the aquatic and terrestrial insect communities and juvenile salmon that inhabit these streams. Fieldwork for this study-in-progress is being conducted 2008 – 2010. The Municipality of Anchorage and other land management agencies will use the findings of this study to determine the future management of European Bird Cherry.

Project Poster Presented at 2009 Invasive Weeds Management Conference

2009
Purple Loosestrife in Alaska Monitoring, Control Options, and a Public Education Framework
Grant from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

This study developed a management plan to help control a known invasive plant. In 2005 Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria L.) was found in Chester Creek and volunteers have contributed by hand pulling the plants each year to control the spread. This plant is recognized as a serious threat to native ecosystems, causing severe ecological and economic damage. It is known for choking waterways and degrading fish spawning habitat. 

2009
Hillside Park & Far North Forest Restoration Project
Grant from U.S.D.A. Forest Service, State & Private Forestry

This project mitigated the impacts of spruce bark beetle activity and cleaned up the damage caused by a wind storm in October 2008. The goal of this project was to improve park user safety in twenty acres of forest in Hillside and Far North Parks. Parks & Recreation Department staff led this project with contributions from the King Career Center Natural Resource Management Class, Youth Employment in Parks crew members, and community volunteers from the Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage and other local user groups. 

2008
Muldoon Park – Forest Health Protection
Grant from U.S.D.A. Forest Service, State & Private Forestry

This project worked to mitigate the impact of spruce bark beetle activity and thereby improve park user safety in ten acres of forest in Muldoon Park. Over 200 new trees were planted in order to establish a younger, more vigorous forest. Parks & Recreation Department staff led this project with contributions from the King Career Center Natural Resource Management Class, Youth Employment in Parks crew members, and Boy Scouts from Den 1, Pack 215. 

2008 – 2009 Invasive Plant Inventory and ‘May Day’ Trial Control
Grant from U.S.D.A. Forest Service, State & Private Forestry

Helen Cortes-Burns of the Alaska Natural Heritage Program conducted a systematic survey of the Coastal Trail, Chester and Campbell Creek Trails and Kincaid Park to determine the extent and locations of invasive plant infestations. Trial controls will also be conducted for more of Anchorage’s most problematic species, Prunus padus more commonly known as ‘May Day’ or ‘Birdcherry’. 

 

Partners include:

  • UAF Cooperative Extension Service
  • US Fish & Wildlife Service
  • USDA Forest Service
  • King Career Center