Alaska & Arctic
Drawing Nature: A Way of Learning
ART9 Add-on II **Special dates: May 28, 29, 30, 31**
Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri 1:00 - 4:00 pm *Location: Creamer’s Field
Explore a local wildlife refuge of fields, forest and wetlands while learning to observe nature and record your discoveries through sketching, drawing and journaling with pencil on paper. Instruction will be outdoors in the natural environment of the refuge whenever possible, so dress appropriately. Required materials: bring 3 pencils (1 hard, 1 medium, 1 soft), 8.5x11” sheets of smooth white paper and a firm backing such as a clipboard or journal book. You are welcome to bring additional drawing tools such as pens or colored pencils if desired. Meet at the Farmhouse by the barns at Creamer’s Field.
Instructor Mark Ross’s job at the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game includes running educational programs at and about Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge. His sketches of wild animals at Creamer’s Field appear regularly in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
Alaska Senior Games
EX10 Add-on II: May 2 & 3
Thursday and Friday 1:30 - 5:00 pm
Have you ever wondered what the Alaska International Senior Games (AISG) are, or considered trying some of the events? If so, this class is for you.
Thursday May 2: Meet at West Valley High School fields at 1:30 pm for discus, shot put and javelin. At 3:30 pm, move to a UPark classroom to find out more about AISG and get briefed on the next day’s events.
Friday May 3: Meet at Pioneer Park at 1:30 pm for horseshoes, bocce ball, and disc golf.
Diann Darnall, president of AISG, will coordinate this team-taught class. Instructors will include Wendy Quinn, who coaches shot put and discus for the West Valley High School track and field team.
Alaska Films: Classics ... or Not (II)
FP1 Session I: February 26, March 5, 12, 19
Tuesdays 1:00 - 4:00 pm
How do moviegoers see Alaska? We’ll view and discuss some interesting examples:
Week 1: Spirit of the Wind (1979). The life story of Athabascan trapper and famed dog sled driver George Attla. One of the truly classic contemporary Alaska films.
Week 2: The Spoilers (1942). A story of gold and greed in the 1890s boomtown of Nome.
Week 3: Chronic Town (2008). A dark comedy set in 1980s Fairbanks and filmed locally. You’ll recognize local places and faces. May be offensive to some.
Week 4: Alaska, the First 10,000 Years (2008). Anchorage humorist Mr. Whitekeys lampoons Alaskan events and personalities from prehistoric times to the present day.
Facilitator Ron Inouye, retired from UAF Rasmuson Library, says that his major qualification is having regularly and willingly paid admission to see movies – from childhood Saturday afternoon movies to the current offerings of our local cinemas.
Growing Things to Eat
HL2 Session I - II: March 6 - April 24 **Special dates, 8 weeks**
Wednesdays 12:30 - 2:30 pm (Double Class Fee)
Fresh vegetables from your own garden taste so much better and are so much better for you than store bought produce. In this class you’ll learn how to improve your diet whether you’re an experienced subsistence gardener or a first time gardener who wants to try just a few things. The class includes general information on soil and seed starting, and specific information about many different vegetables including best varieties, growing methods, storage, and cooking tips.
Instructor Terry Reichardt, a Master Gardener, has extensive experience growing things in the Fairbanks area. She has been teaching this class for OLLI since Spring 2007.
Alaskan Water Gardens
HL3 Session I: February 28, March 7, 14, 21
Thursdays 9:30 - 11:30 am
Water gardens are not just for experts or for southern climes! Water gardens offer almost unlimited variations, even in Interior Alaska. Water gardens are fun, easy to care for (chickweed doesn’t stand a chance), and the whole family can enjoy them. This class is designed to introduce or expand your interest in water gardens as a hobby, a family activity, or just as part of you interior design or exterior landscaping. You will receive information on how to start, maintain or expand a Water Garden, where to find supplies locally and what mail order catalogs offer products most likely to thrive in Interior Alaska. (Class includes a July tour of the instructor’s Water Gardens.)
Week 1: Introduction to water gardening - North
Week 2: Dream your water garden
Week 3: How to build your water garden
Week 4: How to populate and care for your water garden
Instructor Marji Illingworth set up her first pond in a whiskey barrel in the 70s and began her Alaska ponds in 1978. She says she was influenced by her grandmother's pond.
Recent Alaska Books by Fairbanks Authors
LIT3 Session II: April 1, 8, 15, 22
Mondays 2:45 - 4:00 pm
Come enjoy a fresh installment of a popular OLLI series! Every week a different local Fairbanks author will read from his or her recent book, talk about researching and writing the book, and answer questions. You do not have to read the books before class.
April 1: Nicole Stellon O’Donnell’s Steam Laundry (2012) is a novel in poems based on the true story of Sarah Ellen Gibson, a miner’s wife during the Klondike and Alaska gold rushes, who came to Fairbanks in 1903.
April 8: Alex Hills’s Wi-Fi and the Bad Boys of Radio (2011) tells the story of the author's experiences in the Alaska bush and how they ultimately led to the creation of the world's first Wi-Fi network. It's a story of how innovation happens -- and a story that explains why your wireless device sometimes does strange things.
April 15: Frank Keim’s Whitewater Blue: Paddling and Trekking Alaska’s Wild Rivers (2012) documents nearly 40 years of travel along Alaska’s wild rivers by boat and on foot. In the book, Keim strives to capture the spirit of the rivers, the country they flow through and the wildlife that call them home.
April 22: Claus-M. Naske’s Alaska: A History (2011) is a detailed study of the history of Alaska. Topics include Vitus Bering's discovery of Alaska, the development of Russian America, the sale of Alaska to the U.S., the development of Alaska under U.S. ownership, statehood, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, the development of the oil industry and Alaska politics through the resignation of Sarah Palin.
The Aurora: A Look From Above
SC2 Session I: February 25, March 4, 11, 18
Mondays 2:45 - 4:00 pm
Aurora is produced by charged particles entering the upper atmosphere. Where do these particles come from and what accelerates them in a way that accounts for the structured auroral forms? The course will start with a review of auroral morphology as observed from the ground. The main part of the course will trace energy transfer processes from the Sun to the Earth and describe the processes taking place above the atmosphere that accelerate the charged particles responsible for the aurora.
Instructor Dan Swift is a retired professor of physics from the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska and much of his professional career has focused on understanding of auroral processes.
Alaska’s 1964 Earthquake: A Game-Changer in Global Plate Tectonics Theory or a Local Catastrophe Fading from Memory?
SC3 Session I: February 26, March 5, 12, 19
Tuesdays 9:30 - 11:30 am. **Optional Project Steering Group work sessions 11:45 am - 12:45 pm.
The previous OLLI version of this team-taught course (Fall 2012) revealed Alaska OLLI members’ appetites for a more extensive feast of ideas and experiences. Evaluators recommended that more discussions take place between now and the earthquake’s 50th anniversary. Accordingly, OLLI regards this course as an experimental project, or “work in progress.” That work may pioneer partnerships with other Alaska communities, field excursions to explore coastal sites of earthquake damage, and may grow to involve interactions with younger students. If OLLI students’ energy proves durable, we may contribute significantly to 50th anniversary commemorations of the event. The Spring 2013 session’s course is designed for both continuing students from 2012 and newcomers to the topic.
Dave Norton, a research generalist, will act as organizer and host for invited specialist-discussants, to include Rod Combellick of the Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, Alaska Department of Natural Resources.
Edible Wild Plants of Alaska’s Interior
SC4 Session I: February 27, March 6, 13, 20
Wednesdays 3:00 - 4:15 pm
This course will take you through a series of steps learning to accurately identify, gather, process and store a wide variety of wild plants throughout the seasons. Focusing on the boreal forest of the Interior, many of these plants may be found growing right in your own backyard! Notebooks and pens are recommended, handouts will be available, and other materials will be provided or recommended as needed. This course will encourage you to begin a fulfilling lifelong journey of working with Alaska’s wild plants both as food and for natural remedies.
Instructor Leslie LaBar is the Wild Edible Plant instructor for the Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) program offered through the Dept. of Fish & Game. She and her husband George LaBar are enthusiastic naturalists who strive to empower people to understand, explore and embrace the natural world.
Marmots in Alaska
SC5 Session I: February 28, March 7, 14, 21
Thursdays 3:00 - 4:15 pm *Location: UA Museum of the North
Chances are if you have hiked through any mountainous region in Alaska, or even walked through Creamer's Field, you have seen or heard these conspicuous critters. But did you know it was a marmot? Alaska is home to three of North America's six marmot species. These mammals have much to teach us about Alaska's biogeographic history and the current effects of a warming climate on arctic and alpine ecosystems. Learn about our current understanding of the ecology, evolution and biogeography of marmots, and Alaska's other lesser-known alpine mammals. We'll use museum specimens and include a tour of the research and collections areas in the UA Museum of the North to learn how natural history museums contribute to our understanding of biodiversity.
Instructor Aren Gunderson is the Mammals Collection Manager at the UA Museum of the North and continues research on marmots after having completed an M.S. in wildlife biology at UAF.
SC7 Session II: April 1, 8, 15, 22
Mondays 1:00 - 2:15 pm
This class will cover how we measure land, how we define property, and some of the special problems we have in Alaska. Learn about techniques for measuring land including compass and Gunter chain, transit and 100-foot chain, Theodolite and EDM, total stations, and Differential GPS. Discuss property definition with the public land survey system, US surveys, subdivisions, and mineral surveys, and consider some of the differences in these. Consider also Lot and Block descriptions, Aliquot part descriptions, priority of ownership and senior/junior ownership considerations. Types of deeds will also be mentioned.
Instructor Scott Sexton started surveying in 1970 for Dept. of Highways for construction on the Healy Canyon on the Parks Highway. He retired from DOT in June of 2010 as Location Survey Supervisor for Northern Region. You cannot leave Fairbanks, or most of the state, without using a road or airport that he worked on.
Archaeology in Alaska
SC9 Session II: April 1, 8, 15, 22
Mondays 2:45 - 4:00 pm
This course will cover the prehistory of Alaska, from the initial colonization of the New World, 14,000 years ago, to recent times. Explore how archaeologists reconstruct and interpret the record of the past in this region. We will cover early mammoth and bison hunters, the effects of dramatic climate change on these ancient populations, as well as intensification of the food quest after 5000 years ago. We will also track the origins and migrations of present-day Alaskan populations, Na-Dene and Eskimo-Aleut peoples.
Instructor Ben Potter is Associate Professor of Anthropology at UAF. He has worked in high latitude archaeology since 1995 and has published on stone tools, faunal remains, settlement and subsistence strategies, and organization of prehistoric societies in northeast Asia and northwest North America.
SC12 Session II: April 5, 12, 19, 26
Fridays 10:45 am - 12:00 noon
We residents of “Beringia” are still learning about our own especially fascinating supercontinental region of planet Earth. Although “Beringia” was originally conceived by Eric Hultén in the 1930s, his concept has greatly expanded in space and time as a result of continuing research and discoveries during our lifetimes. You needn’t be a geologist or biologist to enjoy discussions of how scientists reconstruct the long prehistory of this region. Two or more guest presenters will help illustrate the often amusing twists and turns of scientific inquiry into Beringia.
Instructor Dave Norton specializes in being a generalist and Beringia-phile. He has been a researcher and instructor associated with various parts and academic specialties of the University since 1967.
Our Sister City, Yakutsk
SOC1 Session I: March 1, 8, 15, 22
Fridays 9:00 - 10:15 am
What's special about Yakutsk? It's Fairbanks' sister city in the Russian Far East, the capital of the resource-rich Sakha Republic, historically an important city, and home to one of Russia's federal universities. Russians and Yakutians have worked together to create a city of two diverse cultures. This class will introduce you to these people of the North and conclude with information about opportunities to travel to Yakutsk.
Instructor Leslye Korvola lived and worked in Yakutsk and several other communities in the Russian Far East during the 1990s and is eager to further the sister city relationship with Yakutsk.