Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Music in the Garden series begins May 23 at Georgeson

A popular musical tradition will continue this summer at the Georgeson Botanical Garden. The Music in the Garden series kicks off Thursday.

The band Haifa performs as part of the Music in the Garden series.
UAF photo by J.R. Ancheta
Concerts begin at 7 p.m. on Thursdays most weeks until Aug. 9. Spectators are welcome to bring a blanket and picnic, but are asked to leave pets at home. Food and drinks are available from Chartwell's Campus Dining. Concerts are free, but the garden will accept donations.

Parking at the garden is limited but is available on UAF’s West Ridge. A short walking path to the garden, located at the Fairbanks Experiment Farm, begins at the overlook.

This summer’s Music in the Garden schedule includes:

May 23 — Sourdough Rizers
May 30 — Dry Cabin String Band
June 6 — O Tallulah
June 13 — Cold Steel Drums
June 20 — Rock Bottom Stompers
June 27 — Headbolt Heaters
July 11 — Marc Brown and The Blues Crew
July 18 — Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival American roots ensemble
July 25 — Red Hackle Pipe Band
Aug. 1 — Fairbanks Community Jazz Band
Aug. 8 — E.T. Barnette String Band

Music in the Garden is sponsored by UAF Summer Sessions and Lifelong Learning, with support from the University of Alaska College Savings Plan, Design Alaska, Sound Reinforcement Specialists and Georgeson Botanical Garden. For more information, visit or call 907-474-7021.
Jeff Richardson of University Relations provided the information for the story.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Agricultural educators conference hosted in Fairbanks

A conference for Western agricultural educators is planned from May 20-24 at the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus.

 The Alaska FFA Association and the Alaska Association of Agriculture and Natural Resource Educators will host the gathering. Kevin Fochs, the director of the Alaska FFA program, said about 100 participants are expected at the regional conference for the National Association of Agricultural Educators. Participants will include agricultural and natural resource teachers and FFA advisors from 11 Western states and Alaska. The conference will include tours, workshops and business meetings.

Workshops will take place at UAF and participants will tour several locations in the Fairbanks area, including the permafrost tunnel, the University of Alaska Museum of the North, Georgeson Botanical Garden and reindeer operations, Chena Hot Springs and Arctic Sun Peonies. FFA is a youth program affiliated with the UAF Cooperative Extension Service.

Monday, May 6, 2019

UAF Commencement Saturday includes 20 SNRE grads

At Saturday’s UAF commencement, 13 bachelor’s and seven master’s degrees were granted to students with the School of Natural Resources and Extension.

Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources Management
From left, SNRE graduates included Kendrick Hautala, Robert Scott,
Shannon Gustafson, Trevor Schoening, Gwendolyn Quigley and master's
degree recipient Bryant Wright.
Hannah Christian
Kama McGregor Gale
Cheyenne Greenside
Shannon Gustafson
Kendrick Hautala
Annie Looman
Breanna McGuire
Timi Miner
Kori Phoenix
Gwendolyn Quigley
Trevor Schoening
Robert Scott
Richard Sheridan

Master of Science in Natural Resources Management
Eric Geisler
Stephen Harvey
Joshua Paul
Faculty participating in the UAF graduation included, from left, Meriam Karlsson,
Susan Todd, Pete Fix, Natalie Thomas, Mingchu Zhang and David Valentine.
Maija Wehmas

Master of Natural Resources Management
Lori Beraha
Cory Cole
Nina Olivier

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Students honor Cathy Donaldson as outstanding staff

Cathy Donaldson
The UAF student government organization chose Cathy Donaldson for its Staff of the Year Award.

Donaldson is the academic and research staff member for the School of Natural Resources and Extension. She helps students resolve issues, such as finding someone to sign paperwork, proctoring tests, connecting them with an advisor or working through many other issues. She has also filled in as a recruiter at various events and works with UAF recruiters on answering questions about the natural resources and environment programs.

Sierra von Hafften nominated Donaldson for the award from the Associated Students of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. A student senator, von Hafften said she thought of Donaldson because the award is for someone who makes a difference in students’ lives.

“She is extremely helpful and willing to work with students,” she said. Von Hafften said she has learning disabilities and Donaldson has worked with her on exams and has proctored exams for other students who miss exams because of illness.

Von Hafften is from Anchorage and expects to graduate a year from now. She said she switched from geological engineering to the natural resources and the environment major, in part, because of the helpfulness of faculty and of Donaldson.

“She is really nice and very welcoming,” she said. “It’s a very welcoming department.”

Sara Church, who is finishing up her junior year, said Donaldson did a great job communicating with students and helping them get paperwork together for the NRM 290 field trip she took last year. Donaldson regularly forwards job and internship opportunities to students, and Church applied for one of those internships and received it. The ongoing internship is with the Alaska Department of Natural Resources. Donaldson also proctored exams for two distance-delivered natural resources management classes she took that were taught from Palmer by former Professor Norm Harris.

Donaldson said she is humbled by the award because she knows other great staff at UAF. She enjoys helping students and working with the school’s faculty. “Everybody cares about what’s best for the students,” she said.

Donaldson has been with the school since January of 2016. She has a master’s degree in water resources from University of California Davis and worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for several years as a wildlife biologist in the endangered species area.

She was recognized at the student awards breakfast on April 27.

Vegetable variety trials research highlight published

Find out what’s happening with the UAF vegetable variety trials in the newest Agroborealis Research Highlight.

Project director Heidi Rader coordinated limited trials at the Georgeson Botanical Garden in 2017, but the trials expanded in 2018 with 30 varieties of beets, carrots and celery. Varieties of beans, Brussels sprouts, corn and watermelon were also evaluated for further testing.

The trials will expand to the Matanuska Experiment Farm in Palmer this year. Read about what the trials evaluated and where to find detailed results.

Agroborealis Research Highlights are published online twice yearly by the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and School of Natural Resources and Extension at The two-page highlights are downloadable.

If you want to like to get an email when future research highlights are published, please subscribe here.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Community agriculture celebrated May 5 at Georgeson

The public is invited to celebrate Alaska agriculture May 5 at the Georgeson Botanical Garden.

The Interior Alaska Food Network and the botanical garden will host Alaska Agriculture Day 2019 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with free family activities and educational booths representing more than 25 community groups and organizations.

Activities will include painting a plant pot, barley toss, face painting, garden tours, planting a seed starter for sunflowers or marigolds, and several games, such as ladybug tic-tac-toe. The Alaska OneTree Program will demonstrate how to make birch syrup, and participants may learn about beekeeping, conservation, sustainability and growing herbs. There will also be swallow nests from the Alaska Songbird Institute and farm equipment.

A new plaza will be dedicated at 1 p.m. to James Drew, former dean of the UAF School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management, a predecessor to the UAF School of Natural Resources and Extension.

One of the event organizers, Britanny Balthaser, said the Interior Alaska Food Network is a coalition of individuals from the Interior who work to improve the local food system. Hosting the event brings attention to the importance of local agriculture and the agriculture we have, she said. The network is a regional affiliate of the Alaska Food Policy Council.

The garden is located at 117 W. Tanana Drive, at the university’s Fairbanks Experiment Farm. For more information, contact Balthaser at 907-474-6754 or

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

First reindeer calves born at Fairbanks Experiment Farm

The third reindeer calf hangs close to its mother, Lola, at the Fairbanks
Experiment Farm on Monday. UAF photo by J.R. Ancheta
See the YouTube video.

The first reindeer calves of 2019 arrived at the Fairbanks Experiment Farm over the weekend.

Male and female calves were born late Friday night and the third reindeer calf, a female, arrived Saturday morning at 5 a.m.

“We found it Saturday morning when we came in to feed,” said reindeer caretaker Erin Carr.

Workers discovered two additional calves this morning. On Monday afternoon, the newest calf and her mother, Lola, rested in the pen closest to the barn, on the uphill side of West Tanana Drive. Visitors snapped photos of the gangly calf through the fence as it sniffed around the grassy field, nursed and stayed close to its mother.

The calf, who will be named this fall, weighed 13.5 pounds. Carr said the calves usually stand for the first time within an hour of being born.

Altogether, a dozen calves are expected this spring the farm. The Reindeer Research Program herd now includes 33 adults and five calves. The program conducts research on nutrition, animal health, meat quality and range management in support of the reindeer industry.

As is tradition, schoolchildren are encouraged to submit possible names for the calves, which are named in July or August, after they are weaned. Children may submit names on the Reindeer Research Program website at Names chosen last year, included Zac Effron, Tater Tot, Pretzel and Hope. Reindeer have also been born this spring at the university’s Large Animal Research Station.