Date: June 3, 2013
Tonight’s Location: Homer, AK
Weather: drizzle, clouds
Temperature: start 46º
Year List: 243
Birds: Sandhill Cranes, Green-winged Teal, Scaup, Pintail, Trumpeter Swan
This was our first Master Naturalist class, and it was very good. We met in the basement of the Pratt Museum. The classes covered introductions to interpreting, tides, prehistory, which was very interesting. The afternoon class was about volcanoes and earthquakes – the forces that shaped and continue to shape Kachemak Bay. From there, we went out to Bay Crest, a high overlook at the opening of the bay, which is a fjord, to view the geology we had been discussing.
We learned that the volcanoes which sit at the opening to the bay, as well as those close on Cook Inlet are very active volcanoes, that have halted life in Homer several times in recent history – not loss of life, but certainly falling ash has been a nuisance. It was also very interesting to realize that in the not too distant past – just the last ice age, that the entire bay was filled to over 1200’ with glacier, and that the spit is a glacial moraine. In fact, much of the Kenai Peninsula is glacial moraine. The Kenai Mountains, just across the bay are the result of subduction – where the Pacific plate has moved under the North American plate to push up mountains. Our instructor said that she has found underwater formations on top of the mountains – it just adds a depth to what we see!
Also interesting was the discussion of the indigenous people. We saw video of today’s elders discussing how they wish they had listened more closely to what their grandparents told them of daily life – of subsistence life in small villages around the bay, of skin boats, of bone and rock ulus (knives) used to skin seals. The memories and daily life tasks are being preserved by the tribes and are being passed down to the youth. We all felt the truth of not listening to our own elders and the loss of history – it was really neat.
We met Max and Joanne at Starvin Marvin’s pizza at the lighthouse for their Monday night special, and the pizza was very good. The best part was hearing of their camping adventure to Russian River where they hiked and saw a bear and enjoyed tenting and cooking out – we think they had a great time.