Director's Notes
A conversation from this past month left an imprint.

It happened on the day Valoy and Greg Warburton, longtime supporters of Sitka and cherished friends of Sitka's founders, Jane and Frank Boyden, visited campus. Valoy and Jane's friendship began in the early 70's, and the Warburtons have been active with Sitka since the organization's origins.

The night before their arrival, we sent out an impromptu invitation to the newest members of the Sitka community: our five current artists and ecologists in residence. Since joini ng Sitka, I've been eager to hear perspectives from a variety of voices about what historically has drawn people to this place, and what compels us to be engaged now. My hope was that at least one resident would drop in, and that I could get an early taste of the intergenerational dialogue I've been craving.

The next morning we pulled a few chairs together in a circle, and put on an optimistic pot of coffee.  

All five residents came.

What unfolded was a discussion of art and ecology, and why - in a world in where support for the arts and environmental health are in peril - opportunities like the residencies and workshops Sitka provides are all the more vital.

Kristen Densmore passed around a book of cyanotypes by pioneering photographer, Anna Atkins. Atkins's marriage of process innovation and natural observation is informing Kristen's own exploration of photography, fiber art, and the creative tension she feels between the power of technology and living more simply. Sadie Sheldon, a New Orleans-based artist who explores the excesses of consumer society and builds interactive works from human debris, shared how living in residence on Grass Mountain, surrounded by natural forms and materials, is challenging her assumptions and approaches as an urban maker.  

"Dictyota dichotoma, in the young state; and in fruit,"  Anna Atkins 1843
As each resident shared their work, Valoy and Greg wove in insights from first-hand experiences seeing how Sitka has removed barriers and transformed lives through the gifts of creative freedom and natural wonder.

In Valoy's words, "Art has a place in the world that is healthy - healthy for human beings, and that helps us see our impact on each other and the world around us."

What formative imprints do access to nature and the freedom of self-expression leave on us? How do encounters with the natural world, in turn, inform the human imprints we choose to leave behind?

Wherever you are, let's put the kettle on and keep the conversation percolating.  
Alison Dennis
Executive Director
December 2018
Important Dates This Winter
Mark your calendar! 

Amy Fields.
Photo: W. Muklashy
Office Closed for Holidays:
December 24-26, 2018 and January 1, 2019
Winds and Waves Workshop Registration:
January 15, 2019 (see article below)

2019 Workshop Dates:
Workshop Info Posted Online: February 11
Workshop Catalogs Mailed: February 19
Members-Only Early Registration: February 26
General Public Registration: March 12

Residency Application Deadline for Fall 2019/Spring 2020:
April 16, 2019
Workshops Make the Perfect Gift! 

Gift certificates for workshops are available in any amount and make the perfect present. No need to worry about sizes! Gift certificates are available online or by calling the Sitka office at 541-994-5485. We will mail the certificate to you in a lovely gift envelope. 

Congratulations to our 2018 Workshop Raffle Winners! Jessica Hartman and Stephanie Toohey both completed a post-workshop survey, entitling them to be entered into a workshop raffle. Each winner will receive a $50 gift certificate that can be used towards registration for another Sitka workshop.
Sitka Hosts Audubon Society Birders 
Sunday, December 16  
Robert Schlegel.
Photo: W. Muklashy
The Audubon Society of Lincoln City will lead a "Christmas Bird Count" on Sunday, December 16. Jack Hurt will lead a count in Sector 1, which includes Sitka's main campus and Grass Mountain. Christmas Bird Counts occur throughout the country and provide "citizen scientists" a means to contribute to a data base that shows bird population trends over long periods of time.

All skill levels and ages are welcome... don't fret if you are a beginning birder as this is a perfect opportunity to learn more about local birds. During the Christmas Bird Count, volunteers tally as many species and number of individual birds as they can from sunup to sundown.

2019 Winds and Waves  
Registration Opens Tuesday, January 15 

Workshop: May 4-6, 2019 at the Sitka Center 
Faculty evening concert: May 3, 2019 in Lincoln City
Join Letitia Berlin and Frances Blaker, Cléa Galhano and this years' recorder resident and guest instructor Adéla Gardavská in the 2019 Winds and Waves Recorder workshop.

Don't miss out on three days of instruction and community in the beautiful Sitka setting! Tuition is $285 and includes a catered lunch each day and one adult ticket to the faculty concert.

Two Jeanne Lynch Memorial Scholarships are available. Both will cover workshop tuition and provide $150 toward living/travel expenses. Information about how to apply will be on Sitka's website in January.

Registration will open Tuesday, January 15 at 8:30 am. To register, go online or call Sitka at 541-994-5485. Space is limited to 45 participants, so don't delay!

Fall Resident Show & Tell  
Saturday, January 5th at 1pm

Join us for an engaging capstone event to our Fall residency season. See what the residents have been working on since their arrival in October.

You'll hear from visual artist, Kristen Densmore; musician, Soraya Perry; visual artist, Sadie Sheldon; and the Howard L. McKee Ecology Resident, Bruce Byers, as well as alumni writers-in-residence Josie Sigler Sibara and Jay Sibara.

Presentations begin at 1pm in the Boyden Studio.

Free and open to the public.
2019 Spring Resident Spotlight

We are always excited to open our doors each spring to a new cohort of artists, writers, musicians and natural scientists who will spend time at Sitka as residents to develop their craft or research.  Each month we will feature a couple of our incoming residents. This month, we introduce two more spring residents who will join us for the full 3.5 term, Matt Jones and Felix Prater. 

Matt Jones
Matt Jones is a graduate of the University of Alabama MFA program. His writing has appeared in The Southern Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Chicago Tribune, The Atlantic, Post Road, The Normal School, and various other publications. He has been awarded an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, as well as residencies from Willowtail Springs and The Leopold Writing Program. He is currently working on a collection of essays and a novel.

Felix Prater

Felix Prater is a multi-medium ecological artist. His practice is an exploration into art's power to deepen our relationships with other species, the land, and the life we inhabit. His work spans a wide range of practices, including; Film, Performance, Music, Poetry, Collage, Painting and Installation.
Ecology Feature: Cascade Head, Oregon's Biosphere Reserve
A Laboratory for Exploring the Relationship of People and Nature
Article and photos by Bruce Byers, Howard L. McKee Ecology Resident 
Cascade Head from Westwind Spit.
Photo: B. Byers
Cascade Head is one of the 29 areas in the United States that are part of the network of international "biosphere reserves" in the United Nation's Man and the Biosphere Program, and one of only four on the entire US Pacific Coast. The Cascade Head Biosphere Reserve conserves a representative example of the coastal temperate rainforest ecosystem of the Pacific Northwest and has been a part of this international network that now includes 686 biosphere reserves in 122 countries since 1976. Who knew?
Most local residents, and even state and federal agency representatives who manage the fish, forests, and other natural resources in the area, probably don't know much about the Cascade Head Biosphere Reserve, if they are even aware of it.

Old Sitka spruce at Grass Mountain.
Photo: B. Byers
UNESCO biosphere reserves are supposed to be laboratories for understanding the relationships between human societies and the ecosystems on which they depend, and models for making the human-nature balance more sustainable and resilient. The designation of Cascade Head as a biosphere reserve in 1976 built on a foundation of forest research reaching back to 1935, when the Cascade Head Experimental Forest was established, and on the establishment of the Cascade Head Scenic Research Area by an act of Congress in 1974. Under the jurisdiction of the US Forest Service, its objective was closely allied with that of the Man and the Biosphere Program: "To provide present and future generations with the use and enjoyment of certain ocean headlands, rivers, streams, estuaries, and forested areas, to insure the protection and encourage the study of significant areas for research and scientific purposes, and to promote a more sensitive relationship between man and his adjacent environment."

Foamline and reflection of Cascade Head on Westwind Spit. Photo: B. Byers
Some important and "cutting-edge" ecological research has been conducted here on topics such as how red alder fixes nitrogen and improves soil fertility after a disturbance such as a fire or windstorm and increases the growth of conifers, the life cycle and habitat requirements of the threatened Oregon Silverspot butterfly, and how juvenile Coho and Chinook salmon use estuaries to enhance their survival. The conservation and restoration actions implemented at Cascade Head and the Salmon River estuary enabled research that has provided an understanding of some important landscape-scale ecological processes. This research record provides a valuable baseline for future research, especially related to the potential effect of climate change on these coastal ecosystems.
The history of the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology is intertwined with the history of the Cascade Head Scenic-Research Area and the Cascade Head Biosphere Reserve. All developed in the early 1970s, an era when environmental concern was growing rapidly. Again, who knew?

View across saltmarsh at low tide, Salmon River estuary. Photo: B. Byers
One of my objectives as the Fall 2018 Howard L. McKee Ecology Resident at the Sitka Center is to make sure that in the future, the history and significance of Cascade Head is more widely recognized. I hope to do that through the support I'm giving to local stakeholder organizations and through the essays I'm writing here. Members of the local community should be proud of the role the area has already played in the scientific understanding of the ecology of coastal temperate rainforests, estuaries, and salmon populations. And they should embrace the opportunities to strengthen the Cascade Head Biosphere Reserve as a laboratory and model for understanding how humans and nature can coexist sustainably - and how art can contribute to conserving healthy ecosystems and continue to be inspired by them.

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56605 Sitka Drive, Otis OR 97368