Scott Toliver, who is up from Colorado to work at BJ Services in Nikiski, takes in the view of Mount Redoubt, an active volcano, while on a lunch break Saturday. The dynamic volcanoes of Cook Inlet will be the subject of discussion at the Kenai River Center at 7 p.m. Tuesday as the Winter Speaker Series program gets under way for the season.
Photo by Joseph Robertia
As the temperatures are starting to tickle the 20-degree mark, it means two things: it won't be long before the snow flies, and it's once again time for the Winter Speaker Series, sponsored by the Kenai River Center and the Kenai Watershed Forum.
"There are a lot of things designed for tourists, but this is designed for residents. All lectures focus on the Kenai Peninsula in an effort to encourage folks to come and lean about the place they live," said Jan Yaeger, educational coordinator for center.
Now in its third year, the speaker series , which takes place at the center the second Tuesday of every month from October through March, continues to grow in popularity due to its subject matter, but also due to the time of year of the presentations, Yaeger said.
"It's good to have community events in winter because people have the time to attend, so it's easy for them to get out rather than staying shut in to the house," she said.
The first event in the series is Tuesday at 7 p.m. and will deal with a steamy subject, the "Dynamic Volcanoes of Cook Inlet." Jennifer Adleman, a geologist with the Alaska Volcano Observatory, will discuss the volcanoes that line the western horizon, including Augustine, Redoubt and Spurr.
"It's a great time, too, because Augustine is steaming again," Yaeger said.
Adleman is well versed on the tall, smoking mountains, having worked at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, the USGS Earthquake Hazards Team in Menlo Park, Calif., and Katmai National Park before coming to the AVO.
In addition to discussing the area's active volcanoes, Adleman will talk about what research goes on at the AVO and how they monitor volcanoes.
From this hot topic, the speaker series will shift to more cold-weather related content in November, as Larry Rundquist, with the Alaska-Pacific River Forecast Center, will talk about "Glacier-Dammed Lakes and Outburst Floods."
"We started thinking about this one after last year's ice jam (on the Kenai River), which was caused by a glacier-outburst flood," Yaeger said.
She added next month will be an appropriate time for this discussion, since the Snow Glacier-Dammed Lake also is "about to go," and when it does release, it will cause a notable rise in the Kenai Lake and upper Kenai River.
In December, the speaker series will feature Todd Eskelin, a biological technician with the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, who will speak about the "Birds of Winter."
Yaeger said this lecture will be a good way for people to learn how special adaptations allow some species to survive the big chill, and where people can go or what they can do to more readily spot them.
This event also is scheduled close to the Audubon Society's annual Christmas Bird Count, so interested participants may want to attend the lecture to become well-versed in species they may be tallying a few weeks later.
In January, "Climate Change on the Kenai" will be the topic by Deborah Williams, president of the Alaska Conservation Solutions.
"We'll get an update on the current state of the science and learn what this global issue might mean for us right here on the Kenai," Yaeger said.
The February event will be little unique in that it won't feature a speaker and it won't be on a Tuesday.
Instead, the event will be Alaska Ocean Film Festival on Feb. 8. This event will feature short films about saltwater adventure, coastal cultures and marine science from Alaska and around the world.
In March, the final event will feature Larry Lewis, a wildlife technician with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, who will discuss "Living with Bears."
"March will be a good time to get people thinking about bears, since it won't be long after that until they are waking up," Yaeger said.
For more information on the Winter Speaker Series, or any specific event, contact Yaeger at 260-4882, ext. 238, or visit the Kenai River Center's Web site at www.kenairivercenter.org.
Joseph Robertia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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