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Starting My Own Tree Nursery

Clarissa Rizal: Alaska Native Artist Blog - Sun, 10/12/2014 - 7:24pm

Digging up a Juniper seedling – transplanting this very first seedling to begin a Tree Nursery !

How come I never thought of it before?  After almost 40 years of gardening and landscaping, and after owning a landscape company for 13 of those years, how come I never began a tree (and other plants) nursery?  It only makes sense!

Gotta be careful what I say; holy!  I can manifest some things totally unawares until it’s sprung before my eyes.  Spring of last year in 2013, as I stood about 15 feet in front of my studio, I decided it would be a good, natural (feng shui) barrier to have trees growing between the driveway and the front door of my studio, so I said “…it sure would be good to have a small forest right here…!” Lo and behold, exactly where I had stood, 3 aspen trees began to grow that Summer!  I kid you not!  And as if that wasn’t enough, I wanted more trees on the property, so I said:  “…in fact, we need a natural barrier of trees and shrubs on the back edge of the property, and I want trees over there and over there…!  I want this property to have a forest!”  Guess what?  Trees began to sprout all around the property, not necessarily exactly where I wanted them, but pretty dang close!  I’ve got apple trees, juniper, poplar and elm!  Sounds like a great start to a forest!

In the process of digging up a Transparent Green Lodi apple tree seedling which was growing underneath my first of two Pinon trees in the front yard…

As I planned this Fall, I transplanted all the tree seedlings temporarily into my daughter’s 3rd garden bed where the soil is still rich and moist after her last vegetable harvest.  The trees will be dormant over the Winter, but come Spring next year, I am transplanting them to their permanent homes with good soil, ample growing room and lots of water!   Because elms grow like a weed, I am planting them as a hedgerow to block out all the new homes recently built out below us in the past 20 years, however, I’ll keep the trees trimmed like a topiary of animal shapes for fun and so we can still see the fantastic view of the San Juan mountains and valley.  The poplar trees grow tall and narrow so I’ll use them on the Northwest corner of the property where the broad-span junipers will be planted.

On my morning walks, I’m going to take my favorite tool, a hand pick and a bucket to dig up seedlings along side the road.  –  Oh, it’s so exciting starting my own tree nursery!  Better late than never!

Categories: Arts & Culture

Bookmark Contest at the Juneau Public Libraries

Juneau Public Library Blog - Sat, 10/11/2014 - 2:59pm
The theme for the 2014 Bookmark Contest is “Every hero has a story.” The library accept entries from students preschool through 12th grade and you still have until Wednesday, October 15th, to bring us your entries. If you have never participated in the Bookmark Contest, drop by one of the three library branches to find […]
Categories: Arts & Culture

Latest Read: “Sharing the Skies: Navajo Astronomy”

Clarissa Rizal: Alaska Native Artist Blog - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 6:27pm

“Sharing the Skies: Navajo Astronomy” by Nancy C. Maryboy, PhD and David Begay, PhD

I find these kinds of books fascinating because they provide us another indigenous perspective outside of the western mindset.  I see similarities amongst the Navajo and our own people, the Tlingit.  The Navajo stories like our own are inspirational; more often than not they lead me to envision a robe or painting or some form of art piece.

This book provides a cross-cultural view of Navajo and Western astronomy.  “Sharing the Skies” provides a look at traditional Navajo astronomy, including the constellations and the unique way in which Navajo people view the cosmos and their place within it.  In addition, this book offers a comparison of the Navajo astronomy with the Greek (Western) perceptions.  Beautifully illustrated with original paintings from a Navajo artist and scientifically enhanced with NASA photography.

The authors are Nancy C. Maryboy and David Begay.  Marboy is a Cherokee/Navajo scholar working in the area of Indigenous Science, with a focus on astronomy.  she is the President and Executive Director of the Indigenous Education Institute located in Bluff, Utah and Santa Fe, New Mexico.  She teaches Indigenous Astronomy at Northern Arizona University.  She works with NASA educational outreach projects and with University of California, Berkeley, Space Science Labs on National Science Foundation projects.  She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico and San Juan Island, Washington.

David Begay is a scholar and member of the Navajo Nation, and one of the founders of the Indigenous Education Institute.  He works with University of California Berkeley, Space Science Labs in areas of Western and Indigenous science with support from NASA and the National Science Foundation.  He lives on the Navajo Nation and works as an independent contractor with federal, state, tribal and corporate entities.

You may purchase a copy of this book for $14.95 from Rio Nuevo Publishers in Tucson, Arizona ( or when you visit the Mesa Verde National Park visitor’s center gift shop, like I did !

Categories: Arts & Culture

Superintendent speaks out about student privacy rights

Juneau School District Announcements - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 2:40pm

Supe's On  - Welcome to the Superintendent's Blog

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Categories: Arts & Culture

School District Report on Investigation into Hazing

Juneau School District Announcements - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 4:35pm

The Juneau School District has concluded our investigation into allegations that on or about May 30-31 of this year a group of incoming senior boys hazed/initiated a group of incoming freshmen boys by paddling them multiple times.

These events were first brought to our attention in early June. At that time the district began an initial investigation, which, due to an active police investigation and summer vacation, was put on hold. When we were informed that the police had concluded their investigation we resumed our efforts.

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Categories: Arts & Culture


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