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Juneau’s dairy history

As Kathy Hocker and I built up Discovery’s library of historical photographs, during our Repeat Photography Project in 2004-2005, we noticed that many images from the Mendenhall Wetlands showed dairy operations. This led to more focused study of that period in Juneau’s history. As people start to think about sustainable, localized food production what lessons (or cautionary tales?) might the old dairy farmers have to teach us?

In 2012, I gave a talk for the Juneau-Douglas City Museum on dairy history. Below are vimeo links to that talk, divided into 2 parts: a 10-minute introduction, and a 25-minute chronicle, from Juneau’s earliest to last days of home-grown milk production.

Juneau dairies, part 1:

Juneau dairies, part 2:

Our dynamic home: Southeast Alaska then and now

In this half-hour video of still photography, Richard Carstensen looks at a rich archive of historical aerial photos taken in 1948 for mapping purposes, and compares them to present day images of Southeast Alaska communities. The result illuminates not only how the natural areas have changed, but also how our communities have changed.

From Richard:

In 2011, Cathy Pohl and I [Richard Carstensen] received a drive with 22,000 scanned air photos taken by the Navy in 1948. For the first time, cartographers and researchers in Southeast Alaska could efficiently access this extraordinary collection, studying natural and anthropogenic change in photos spanning 60 years. To celebrate, I created this 35-minute narrated slideshow comparing the 30-or-so Southeast communities, then and now.

Western Toad declines

Mysterious declines

As most longtime Southeast residents are aware, we’ve suffered a major decline in western toad, recently renamed Anaxyrus boreas boreas (formerly Bufo boreas).

Like human fingerprints, the distinctive pattern of bumps on a toad’s back is retained throughout the animal’s life. We suspect Alaskan toads live longer than their southern counterparts. ID photos like these, in places where you may encounter the same individual in future years, can help to document life span. Please don’t handle toads bare handed; it can transmit disease, or put them at risk from bug dope or sunscreen.

Like human fingerprints, the distinctive pattern of bumps on a toad’s back is retained throughout the animal’s life. We suspect Alaskan toads live longer than their southern counterparts. ID photos like these, in places where you may encounter the same individual in future years, can help to document life span. Please don’t handle toads bare handed; it can transmit disease, or put them at risk from bug dope or sunscreen.

In summer, 2014, at the north end of the City & Borough of Juneau, we saw more toads than Juneau naturalists have observed since the mid-1980s. They were all in the yearling age class, indicating a highly successful breeding year in 2013.

[1867-2017] 150 Years of Change

 

1867_2017 from Richard Carstensen on Vimeo.

Download Here (20MB): PDF_Download

Presentation for the Juneau-Douglas City Museum, in the sesquicentennial year of Seward’s purchase. Visualizations of 3 iconic Juneau landscapes as they appeared in 1867, and today (2017). For more background, download the pdf 1867-2017.