February 2015: Milt Cooper, long time Nature Center volunteer, passed away on Friday, February 6, 2015. Our deepest condolences to his family and friends. Milt especially loved the Nature Center's astronomy programs. We dedicated this year's Night with the Stars to Milt in his honor and memory. We will miss his smile and cheerful "Howdy, Howdy" greeting. We bid farewell to a very good friend.
Milt Cooper (1945-2015) greeting guests during our Special 15th Anniversary Spring Auction.
February 21, 2015, 5-9pm: Our 9th Annual Night with the Stars was a tremendous success with a full house. Dr. Travis Rector of UAA presented a fascinating discussion on astrobiology; Beth Baker played exquisitely on the harp; and sister Naomi Everett and Alayna Cuddy catered the event. From appetizers thru dessert, the dinner was a feast for the senses. Thank you to all our sponsors (Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., Broken Toothe Brewery and Specialty Imports) and our volunteers for making it a memorable evening.
February 7, 2015: The 4th Annual Icy River Rampage 10m and 20m fat bike race at the Nature Center took place today under cold, blue skies. 65 racers total - with 40 racers traveling 20m and 25 - 10m. We even had some fat bike unicyclists! Congratulations to all the participants and thank you to all the volunteers who made it happen. Special thanks to Board Member Dana Glessner and her husband JD Batove for co-organizing the fundraising event with staff members Laura Kruger and Gus Gustafson. Way to go everyone! Results of ICY RIVER RAMPAGE FAT BIKE RACE.
December 13, 2014: Volunteers Elaine Pfeiffer and Richard "Diggs" Cleveland were honored as the Nature Center's "Volunteers of the Year 2014" at our annual holiday potluck. Elaine has been volunteering on our weekly trail crew since 2009 and Diggs has worked as our volunteer handyman since 2012. Many thanks to both of them for their hard work and dedication. Congratulations!
September 12, 2014: Dean Davidson and Steven Dilfer, with assistance from LDS Elders from Eagle River and Richard Cleveland, constructed a new awning for the Rapids Camp Yurt. We hope that everyone enjoys it. We plan to make others like this at the other yurts. Let us know how you like it. We'll have photos up soon.
September 8, 2014: Nature Center seeks surveying services.
Request for Proposal. Proposals due: September 18, 2014
August 23, 2014: Asta Spurgis, Eagle River Nature Center Co-Founder and Director, was recognized at the annual Bridge Builders gala event receiving an award for 2014 Excellence in Community Service.
July 23, 2014: Friends of Eagle River Nature Center received a very generous Legislative Grant to construct a trail maintenance facility at the Nature Center. Thanks to our community's legislators, in particular Rep. Lora Reinbold, our trail volunteers will have a warm facility to work in. In addition, the facility will provide laundry and restroom facilities for our resident volunteers. Many thanks to the State of Alaska for supporting Friends of ERNC.
July 13, 2014: Nature Center volunteers Dean Davidson and Steven Dilfer made and installed a new bench near the public use cabin. The bench was donated in memory of Joan Johnson of Eagle River who believed that "nature is sustenance for the soul".
July 8 & 9, 2014: Thank you to trail volunteers Richard "Diggs" Cleveland, Leanne Cleveland and Walter Potter for building a stairway on the steep section of the ascent to the River Trai Yurt. Nice work!
July 1, 2014: The Rasmuson Foundation has granted the Nature Center $100,000 grant to remodel the Nature Center: flooring throughout the building will be replaced, volunteer kitchen remodeled, and public restrooms remodeled. Thank you to everyone at the Rasmuson Foundation for this very generous grant. $100,000 is to be matched by Nature Center donors by 2016.
Spirng/Summer 2014 Volunteers in Residence: Steven Dilfer, Shelby Eidson, Tyler Salter and Billy Herbst. Welcome!
June 15, 2014: Brian Goodman, former Executive Director of FERNC and trail volunteer, who passed in June 2013 left a $10,000 legacy to the organization. This donation will be used toward the construction of our trail maintenance garage in 2015.
June 5, 2014: Notice the new interpretive displays near the Salmon Viewing Deck? They are the work of Dean Davidson, retired scientist/geologist and long-time trail volunteer and graphic designer Charles Lindemuth. Thank you Dean and all the trail volunteers that assisted in the construction: Kelly Fehrman, Elaine Pfeiffer, Steven Dilfer, Walter Potter, and Merv Weatherly.
June 1, 2014: Our capital campaign to build a trail maintenance garage is underway. We hope to raise $100,000 by next year. Thank you to our first donor, Cathy Brenner, for making a very generous donation to kick off the campaign. Cathy has been a supporter and volunteer for 8 years.
Thank you to our sectond donor, Dot Helm, for supporting this poject with a donation of $500.
April 19, 2014: Our annual spring auction was a huge success thanks to all our donors, sponsors and attendees. Click below for a list of donors. Thank you all for your generosity and support of the Nature Center's mission. We couldn't do it without you.
Thank you to our table sponsors: ConocoPhillips AK,
Perkins Coie, LLC, PRA, Princess Tours, & Visit Anchorage
March 24, 2014: Thank you to all our Dick Griffith Matching Challenge donors! And thank you to Dick!
February 2014: Thank you Ann and Bob Fisher for an amazing 12 years volunteering for Friends of Eagle River Nature Center! Bob and Ann hiked over 1000 miles during these years, leading hikes throughout Chugach State Park. They were both active fundraisers for the organization; generous donors; maintained trails; and Bob served as a Board Director and Finance Committee Chair (2002-2014). Kudos and Happy Trails from all your co-hikers, volunteers and staff.
February 16, 2014: Our 8th annual Night with the Stars event was a great success thanks to Chefs Naomi Everett and Alayna Cuddy, Sisters Catering and UAA Culinary Arts; Harpist Beth Baker; special presenter Emily Lakdawalla of the Planetary Society; our sponsors Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., Specialty Imports, and Broken Tooth Brewing. Plus our great volunteers: Molly Cromwell, Stacy Flagg, Gail Sommerville, and Bob Griffis. Special thanks to Scott Girard and our 2014 astronomy presenters Beth Baker, Chris Beck, Terry Drake, Robert Matthews, Michael Paoletti, Debbie Soltis and Omega Smith.
January 2014: Friends of Eagle River Nature Center Board of Directors welcomes new board member Stacy Flagg and says farewell to staff naturalist Doris Ivory.
December 21, 2013, 6pm, 18th ANNUAL SOLSTICE LANTERN PARADE AND CELEBRATION: KTUU TV filmed the Nature Center's annual event this year and posted this information and video clip. Thank you to our staff (Ute the Sun Goddess, Laura, and Gus) and volunteers (Molly, Ann, Gail, Stacy, Candy, Bob F., Glen, Walter, Bob G., Steve) for creating a beautiful candlelit evening of ice, fire, song, and festivities.
December 2013 through March 2014: Dick Griffith Matching Challenge. Legendary Alaska adventurer and Nature Center volunteer will match every donation up to $5000. See November 2013 Newsletter for details.
December 7, 2013: Annual Volunteer Appreciation potluck. This years Volunteers of the Year - Stacy Flagg and Michael "Gus" Gustafson. Thank you and congrats!
November 17, 2013: The Albert Loop Trail was reopened by Chugach State Park Rangers after determination that bear activity along the trail had ceased.
October 2013: Friends of Eagle River Nature Center have been awarded a Pre-Development Grant for a new trails maintenance garage/shop. Thank you to all the grant's supporters: The Trust, Denali Commission, Mat-Su Health Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation, and the Foraker Group.
September 18, 2013: Friends of Eagle River Nature Center is an official PICK CLICK GIVE organization for 2014. Consider making a donation when you apply for your Permanent Dividend Fund starting in January 2014.
August 17, 2013: Congratulations to all the 5K & 10K Eagle River Challenge Racers! Thank you for supporting the Nature Center. Here are the race results:
August 3, 2013: SALMON RAFFLE WINNER ANNOUNCED! Milt Cooper has won - first red salmon in the Beaver Pond were photographed by Nature Center staff on Saturday, August 3, 2013. Congratulations Milt for guessing the right day.
July 10, 2013: The Nature Center received the 2013 Bearpaw Award for outstanding service to the community from the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce. Laura Kruger, Operations Manager (3rd from right) received the award on behalf of the Board of Directors, staff and volunteers. Thank You Eagle River!
June 2013: Brian Goodman, former President of Friends of Eagle River Nature Center and long-time trail volunteer passed away on June 2, 2013. Brian, the friendly Englishman often seen on the Nature Center's trails was 81 when he lost his battle with prostate cancer. Brian was born in Liverpool, England on November 23, 1931. He is survived by his two children, Alistair and Nicholas; five grandchildren; and his cousin John Goodman. He will be sorely missed by the staff and volunteers at the Nature Center. The family requests that donations in Brian's name be sent to the Eagle River Nature Center.
June 8, 2013: Thank you to Stephanie and Christopher Crago of MORGAN STANLEY SMITH BARNEY for volunteering to help establish the bypass trail. This will be an ongoing project through July 2013.
June 5, 2013: Kudos to Pastor Jeff of Community Covenant Church in Eagle River and the youth group who spent 4 hours improving the new Moose Bypass Trail (part of the Albert Loop). Lots of digging, cutting and brush removal made for a physically tiring day. Thanks for all the work! We look forward to seeing you again next June.
June 2, 1013: Thank you to the staff of the new Walgreens in Eagle River for nominating the Nature Center to receive a donation at their grand opening. Asta Spurgis, Director received a "big" check at the opening.
May 22, 2013: Thank you to Key Bank volunteers for helping put a new coat of protective sealant on the building's logs for "NEIGHBORS MAKE A DIFFERENCE". Thank you Tammy Gray, Disa Foshaug, Alexandra Marsollais, and Shawn Clark for your time and great work!
May 21, 2013: Nature Center supporter Barbara Anne Winkley passed away.
May 2013: We bid bon voyage to Doug Devries, long-time volunteer and former Secretary of the Board of Friends of ERNC. Doug, most famously known for his "Muscles the Moose" childrens' books relocated to Illinois to be closer to family members. We sure miss you Doug! Photo below with Chris Lundgren in December 1999.
April 20, 2013: Our Spring Auction was a great success. Many thanks to all our sponsors and donors (click here for list), Friends of ERNC Board of Directors, our volunteers and staff who made it a fun fundraising evening.
January 27, 2013: Our 2013 Night with the Stars was a great success. Many thanks to our guest speaker, Seth Shostak, Sr. Astronomer at the SETI Institute and to our guest chef, Patrick Hoogerhyde and his chef assistants Curtis and Brie from BRIDGE SEAFOOD. We also thank our sponsors for their generosity: Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, Broken Tooth Brewing, Marriott Downtown, and Specialty Imports. Kudos to our night's volunteers, Gail Summerville, Stacy Flagg and Scott Girard. Lastly, thank you to all our attendees for making the evening a fun fundraiser for our astronomy and natural history programs.
Photo below: Seth Shostak, Gail Sommerville and Karen Shostak.
November 2012: Congratulations to our 2012 Volunteers of the Year - Patricia Jordan and Craig Walters. Both of them have been volunteering since 2001. We thank them for their enthusiasm and dedication.
October: We welcome our new School Business Partner - the Alaska Native Cultural Charter School and our renewing partner - Ravenwood Elementary School. We look forward to finding creative ways to make these partnerships beneficial for the students.
September 2012: United Way's DAY OF CARING took place today Tue, Sept. 11, 2012. Thank you to volunteers from BP (Karey, Andrew, Arvid and Clay) for coming out to help with projects at the Nature Center.
We really appreciate all your help getting the Nature Center prepared for winter: putting up lights outside, dusting all the exhibits, cleaning the floors of the educational yurt and organizing and cleaning the Close-Up Corner. Thanks again to BP and to United Way!
August 2012: Our new Yukla Yurt was completed by volunteers and staff on July 30th. It opened to the public on August 1, 2012. The yurt sleeps up to 6 people. It has a wide bunkbed (2 can sleep on each level) and a single platform. Steve Rasic of Northcountry Stoves in Eagle River volunteered his time to install the Jotul woodstove. He also donated many parts and materials. We thank Steve and the following volunteers for their time and leadership on this project (sorry, we haven't listed everyone involved, but we do have you listed in our information book in the yurt): JD Batove, Andy Bickford, Dean Davidson, Dick Griiffith, Michael Gus Gustafson, and Fletcher Yancey.
June 6, 2012: The REI Foundation granted Friends of ERNC $5000 toward trail improvements and boardwalk construction. Thank you REI and the staff at the Anchorage store.
May 12, 2012
Eagle River Challenge 5K and 10K Trail Race results:
Congratulations to everyone for a great race! Here are a few photos courtesy of Tom Howell.
April 2012: Thank you to the Rasmuson Foundation for granting the Nature Center $19,500 to purchase a new snowmachine and groomer/track setter. We look forward to having spectacular winter trails in 2013.
Thank you to everyone who attended and helped with our Spring Auction at the Bridge on Saturday, April 14, 2012. It was a fun evening which raised funds for the Nature Center. Click here for a program and list of donors.
March 2012: We extend our thanks to Sarah Wright for being our volunteer Treasurer and Bookkeeper from 2007- Feb 2012. Sarah spent hundreds of volunteer hours in service to the Nature Center. We can't thank her enough and wish her all the best at her new home in California.
Special thanks to the Paul H. Clark Foundation for their generous donation of $5000 for interpretive programming. Treva Clark was a volunteer in residence in 2002 and continues to support the mission of the Nature Center.
Thank you to all our 2011-2012 Dick Griffith Challenge donors! We raised and exceeded Dick's generous contribution. Here is a list of all our donors. Thanks again to each of you for making this a successful campaign.
February 25, 2012: Icy River Rampage, 20 mile bike race on Eagle River coming on Saturday, February 25, 2012. Race starts at 1pm. Sign in and bib pick-up starts inside the Nature Center at 11:30am. Joint sponsors: Arctic Bicycle Club and the Eagle River Nature Center. All proceeds support trail maintenance efforts at the Nature Center.
January 29, 2012: Night with the Stars, 5:30-8:30pm
Emmy nominated visual artist and astronomer Jose Francisco Salgado headlines this year's event at the Nature Center. Dinner by Aubergine Catering and Culinary Services. Cellist Wolfgang Olsson. Thank you to our sponsors: Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, Specialty Imports and Moose's Tooth.
Many thanks to all our 2011 funders. See a complete list of corporate sponsors here.
Update on Planning for Future of Eagle River Nature Center
Many thanks to RIM Architects for providing pro bono services for pre-development concept plans for a new nature center. The plan will be based on the site plan that was approved by the public through a public process (see link on home page to that plan and study) completed in 2010-2011. The Board of Friends of ERNC are working with RIM to prepare a funders packet - a document that will show a proposed building concept and a cost estimate with which FERNC can pursue funding. We anticipate a draft packet to be completed by March 2012.
August 2011: The Nature Center was awarded an REI Foundation grant for $5000 to construct a new public use yurt. Many thanks to REI Anchorage for their support! The new yurt is planned for June 2012.
Thank you to TOTE (Totem Ocean Trailer Express, Inc.) for their annual contribution.
June 2011: Summer is open us and thanks to the following groups, the gardens and flower baskets around the Nature Center are looking beautiful: Eagle River Rotary for their help weeding and planting and their donation of $500 toward the purchase of flowers and soil. Special thanks to Rotary member Tonya Gamble for organizing once again!
Mile 5.2 Greenhouse for his donation of $250 toward the purchase of flowers. Thank you Dale for all your help with our flower questions!
The youth group from Community Covenant Church for volunteering to weed, sweep and haul gravel to spiff up the parking areas and front gardens. Nancy and Jeff and all the teens - you rock!
May 2011: Our 15th Anniversary Celebration and Auction was a great success thanks to all our donors, volunteers and sponsors. Special thanks to our business sponosrs: BP, Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB), Northrim Bank, Perkins Coie, State Farm Insurance in Eagle River, Peak Oilfield Co., Moose's Tooth Brewery, Midnight Sun Brewery, Specialty Imports, ConocoPhillips and the hundreds of item and services donors.
January 2011: Thank you to Conoco Phillips for their generous sponsorship of our Junior Naturalist Programs in 2011. Thank you to CIRI for their renewed corporate sponsorship.
December 17, 2010: Astronomer Dr. Mike Brown will speak at our annual NIGHT WITH THE STARS event on Sunday, March 27, 2011 at 5:30pm. Celebrity Chef Kirsten Dixon (Within the Wild) is donating her services to prepare a lovely 3 course dinner for 56 people. Tickets: $100/person. Tables of 8 available. Contact Asta Spurgis at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 907-694-2108. Dr. Brown will speak at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium on Monday, March 28, 2011 at 7:30pm. Free lecture.
Major Sponsor: ExxonMobil
Other Sponsors: University of Alaska Anchorage; Alyeska Pipeline; Within the Wild, Moose's Tooth.
November 2010: Mark your calendars. Friends of Eagle River Nature Center will celebrate its 15 year anniversary at a special event on May 14, 2011: Boreal Forest Ball - A Black Tie and Fleece Event. The dinner and music venue will take place at the Nature Center startint at 5pm under a huge tent. This is a "not to be missed" special event that will feature the release of a Great Horned Owl at 9pm. The Magic Bus will be shuttling attendees from the North Fork parking lot all evening. For more info contact Laura Kruger at admin(at)ernc.org or call 907-694-2108.
September 14, 2010: Many thanks to the Chugiak Eagle River Foundation for awarding the Nature Center $1000 to purchase a computer for our main space. Visit www.cerfoundation.org and let them know you appreciate their assistance.
September 4, 2010: Our new online cabin and yurt live availibility calendar and reservation system has been launched. It is a secure and easy way to make your reservation 24/7.
August 25, 2010: The REI Foundation has awarded the Nature Center $5000 to construct a picnic shelter to be used for school classes. We hope to have the shelter completed by June 2011.
August 7, 2010: The Rasmuson Foundation has awarded the Nature Center a grant for $9950.00 to purchase new office equipment. Many thanks to the Founation for their support.
August 5, 2010: The salmon are in! Watch red salmon spawn by the viewing decks along the Rodak Nature Trail. This also means that Chugach State Park rangers will be closing the Albert Loop Trail to allow bears to feed on the salmon coming up the creeks. Please adhere to the closure for your own safety and for the well being of our animal neighbors.
July 28, 2010: There will be an increase in school fees beginning in January 2011. Naturalist-guided programs will be increased from a $5/student fee to $6/student fee. For more information go to Schools.
July 7, 2010: Final public comments with responses from Alaska State Parks personnel and Friends of Eagle River Nature Center Board of Directors and staff have been posted at http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/ A revised site plan concept is also posted, integrating ideas discussed at the public meetings with the needs of Chugach State Park, Friends of Eagle River Nature Center and community representatives.
July 2, 2010: We are seeking to fill an immediate vacancy for a summer resident volunteer for the months of August and September 2011. Please contact us at email@example.com for more details. As of July 28, 2011 this position remains open until filled.
April 15, 2010: Planning for the Future of the Eagle River Nature Cntr: Visit http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/ for up-to-date information and drawings of Site Concepts. Public comment period has been extended to April 30, 2010. Concept C is posted inside the Nature Center. Concept C is the preferred site of the Friends of Eagle River Nature Center planning team.
March 2010: Night with the Stars was a a great success, raising $4000 for the Nature Center's programs. Many thanks to the presenters, board member Scott Girard and all the evening's volunteers. Astronaut Bill Oefelein was the featured speaker, harpist Beth Baker and dinner by Haute Quarter Grill owners/chefs Lynn and Alex Perez. Many thanks to these volunteers and to donations from the evening's sponsors - K&L Distributors, Odom Corp, Mike's Quality Meats and Kim Girard.
January/February 2010: Review of Draft Master Site Development Plan for the Nature Center. A second series of public forums will be held to identify concerns and issues. The following forums are taking place for various user/interest groups:
October 2009: Planning for the Future of the Nature Center
Please use the form below for your comments on the first series of public forum information and email them to Lucille Baranko, Landscape Specialist with Alaska State Parks.
(This is a semi-final report)
September 2009: Planning for the Future of the Nature Center
The public is invited to attend a community forum on Thursday, September 17, 2009, from 6-8pm at the Eagle River Nature Center to provide input on preliminary site options for a master planning document.
Wednesday, August 13, 2009 - noon: The Albert Loop Trail is officially closed for public safety to avoid potential bear encounters. As the salmon return to their spawning grounds, so too, do the bears to feed on the salmon and the berries. Closing this popular trail for a few months has been a successful way to reduce people-bear conflicts. For more information, contact Chugach State Park at 907-345-5014.
July 2009: Planning for the Future of the Nature Center
A series of public forums will begin in August 2009. A workshop and presentation by Alaska State Design and Construction staff for Nature Center members and neighbors will take place on Thursday, September 10, 2009, from 6-8pm at the Eagle River Nature Center. Preliminary site options will be discussed. Public input and comments are important to this process. For a list of other public forum locations and dates, please visit http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/
August 2008- August 2009: Thanks to a generous Tier 1 grant from the Rasmuson Foundation, the Nature Center was able to purchase much-needed equipment to maintain the trails and grounds. The funds allowed the ERNC to purchase an ATV with winch, a belly dump for spreading gravel, bear-proof food lockers for the public-use cabin and yurts, bear-proof recycling containers, D1 gravel, interpretive supplies, and more. Thank you to the Rasmuson Foundation!
September 2008: Many thanks to Wells Fargo and the REI Foundation for their grant support.
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