Welcome to JuneauNature, the natural-and-cultural history site for Discovery Southeast, best known as the team of naturalists bringing nature to Juneau schools since 1989. Less well known is our 40 years of original field research, our longtime service as bridge between educational and scientific communities, and our natural-&-cultural history archives, brought to you through this website.

JuneauNature shares this deep history with Discovery Southeast members, students, educators, scientists, and everyone who loves Lingít Aaní, southeast Alaska. Browse under NATURE, CULTURE, PLACES, TOOLS, SCHOOLS or Media types to get started.  Browse all the categories (except SCHOOLS, under construction) with this sitemap.

As of spring, 2021, we’re building that fifth ‘root’ section devoted to SCHOOLS. Serving teachers and their students, this ‘room’ of JuneauNature hosts maps, curricula, videos and other resources—many of them site-specific but some more theme- or topic-based (geology, birds, etc)—created over more than 30 years by Discovery naturalists.

Discovery Southeast thanks and honors Áak’w & T’aakú Kwáans, on whose land we listen and teach.


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Richard Carstensen's natural history blog.

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April, 2021:  Through JuneauNature’s blog, you can now follow ‘breaking nature-news‘ from local naturalists, and see alerts to freshly uploaded content. From our Subscribe box, request email notices for each new post.

Important place names in this blog:

● Áak’w & T’aaku Aanínorthern Tlingit homeland (CBJ)  ● Goatlandia, home of Jánwu, mountain goat, especially winter & summer ranges of Shaa Tlaaxmoldy top, (Mt J-word)  ● Sayéikspirit helper (D-word Island).

A note on authorship:

Since JuneauNature’s banner prominently calls this DiscoverySoutheast  ‘subsite’ “Richard Carstensen’s JuneauNature,” it should be fairly clear who’s talking. Unless otherwise noted, it’s me—RC.

Let me introduce myself—Richard Carstensen. Born in Philadelphia in 1950, I came to Alaska as a 27-year-old wannabe mountain man. Discovering that 1) wild Alaska presented no need to retreat to mountains, and 2) tanning deer hides was hard work, I quickly settled on the more realistic goal of becoming a well-rounded naturalist. I’ve tried to explore and document as much of Southeast Alaska as possible, teaching, interviewing, writing, drawing, filming, mapping and consulting. In recent years, what’s most excited me is the intersection of natural and cultural history—what a naturalist can contribute to the question Why do we live here? You’ll find my bio on the DiscoverySoutheast  staff page.

JuneauNature  is the ‘nature-content’ site for Discovery Southeast’s mother site. With help from an amazing community of naturalists, scientists and outdoorsfolk, JuneauNature is already the most comprehensive online source for many aspects of Southeast Alaskan natural and cultural history. (See NATURE for links to other great Southeast nature sites, and CULTURE for links to our region’s outstanding heritage sites). Stay tuned, as it gets even better!

Place names convention:

In all my writing and cartography since publication of Haa L’éelk’w Hás Aani Saax’ú: Our grandparents’ names on the land  (Thornton & Martin eds 2012: abbreviated “T&M12”), I’ve used Lingít place names whenever available, followed by translation in italic, and IWGN (important white guy name) in parentheses. Example: Kadigooni X’áat’, island with spring water  (Spuhn Island). Euro-names are typically distracting preemptions, or worse; Spuhn was a principal in the Northwest Trading Company who leveled Angoon. Where the Lingít went unrecorded I default to the IWGN, often acknowledging its inadequacy with a parenthetical “(noTN?)”

For more background on place names, see Naming our home.

Our deepest thanks to the Juneau Community Foundation—Blackwell Fund, for supporting this site and our recent publications!