We're having a special holiday sale on our birch sap products December 14 through 21, from noon until 6 pm at the OneTree Alaska STEAM Studio on the UAF campus (Lola Tilly Commons, 1850 Tanana Loop, Fairbanks 99775). All proceeds support OneTree's work to engage learners of all ages in boreal forest education, citizen science, and forest product development.
Please enjoy updates and photos from November through the first half of December below. We're looking forward to seeing you at the sale!
This is Pearson Brodie, half of our OneTree Alaska Sugar Master team. Pearson lives in Kodiak most of the winter, but he came to Fairbanks in November to finish making birch syrup from the 2020 sap season and get us ready for the 2021 season. Before making syrup, Pearson kindly came over to our house to help move a birch tree which had fallen across our driveway. Thanks, Pearson! After moving the tree, we looked at each other and wondered: What can we do with all these branches?
tHere's what we did. We took branches to the Lola Tilly Commons building and placed some in sap buckets to decorate the loading dock--which is the entrance to the OneTree Alaska STEAM Studio. The branches will be the first thing you see when you come to the sale! You'll see the loading dock at the back end of the Lola Tilly Commons building, along the far eastern edge of the parking lot that the Patty Gym, SRC, and several dormitories face onto.
When the garage door is up, OneTree's open-air store is open for business. You can park on the right-hand side (as you face the building) of the small parking area adjacent to the loading dock or along the sidewalk on the side of the building. Only one customer is allowed on the loading dock at a time--so stay warm in your car until you can take your turn on the loading dock. And please wear your mask!
Here's what it looks like from our seat inside the Tilly, looking out toward the parking lot. If we're not sitting at the desk, just give it a good rap on it and we'll come right out.
Here's what we see when we turn around and face into the STEAM Studio. This is another branch from the same tree as fell across our driveway, the same tree as the branches decorating the loading dock. We placed this branch in a sap bucket full of water on the same day as we decorated the loading dock. The branch went from leafless (winter-dormant condition) to leaf-out (summer-ready) in fourteen days. We hope it remains so beautiful throughout the holidays. Without roots to supply the leaves with nutrients, the branch will eventually die, but it's a great reminder that spring is just around the corner!
If you would like to leaf out a branch for the holidays, like the one in the jar in front of Chelsea, just let us know. We've got plenty! And if you know anyone who'd like to learn about OneTree, let us know their name and how to contact them by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you.
Last, but certainly not least, meet Shaun Johnson, the other half of our Sugar Master team. Shaun comes in two evenings a week to make birch caramel and syrup. Here he is cutting caramel pieces, getting them ready to wrap and package for you.
So, this is what we've been up to for the past 4-6 weeks. Let us know if you have any questions. And out-of-state friends, call us at 907-474-5717 to arrange for birch goodies to be mailed to you (flat box rate shipping charges apply).
Many thanks for your interest and support of OneTree. And from all of us here at OneTree, our very best wishes to you and your family this holiday season,
Each year Ms. Schlumbohm's class builds on the work of the year before, seamlessly integrating new students with old (see Ms. Schlumbohm's Class Project): This year's project took first in their school's Science Fair. Rather than continue on to the Interior Alaska Science Fair competition, the class decided to write a science journal article. Here it is: We at OneTree couldn't be prouder of them. They carefully describe their methods and analyze their science project results, and refer the reader to other scientists' published peer-reviewed articles. Please enjoy reading the fruits of Ms. Schlumbohm's community of learners' experiment and explorations.
Our friend and STEAM Studio Artist-in-Residence, Kes Woodward, is one of Alaska's best known contemporary artists. He recently updated his website to include mention of his collaboration with us together with his latest work. It is a joy to work with Kes and we are glad he feels the same! Please follow the link to see his website and the beautiful painting inspired by the Tilly!
Rosary ©Kesler Woodward 2016 Acrylic on Canvas 36" x 48"
Thanks to the intrepid Daily News Miner reporter, Kris Kapps, OneTree Alaska has been featured in the local news, not once, but twice! Kris interviewed Jan and Nicole first about the project's origins and direction, and then about a wreath-making workshop hosted during the holidays, Please check out these wonderful articles, linked below.
OneTree Alaska Promotes Science in Nature
OneTree Alaska Turns the Natural World into Holiday Decorations
by Nicole Dunham and Jan Dawe
Slowly, but also all too quickly, the days crept by to Saturday, October 17: the date of OneTree's much-anticipated first event in its new maker space--the old Lola Tilly Commons kitchen on the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) campus.
Over the past few months, UAF Facilities Services did the technical work to morph the kitchen into the OneTree Alaska STEM to STEAM Lab. Program staff aided the effort with flurries of cleaning and organizing; it was exciting and stressful in turns. On Saturday, not even the rain could dampen our spirits as we welcomed our core K-12 teachers, colleagues and volunteers to the Tilly.
There could have been no better person to lead the STEM to STEAM Lab's first workshop than Dr. John Zasada, one of the inspirations behind the creation of OneTree Alaska. John is well known to many in the Fairbanks community from his seventeen years of work as a research silviculturalist at the Institute of Northern Forestry. Towards the end of his career, John became interested in the utilization and beauty of birch bark. Journeying from his home in Minnesota, John brought his knowledge of birch bark weaving and much more to the group. We learned to make a bread basket that can be used to bake and serve bread in. Just a few hours after the workshop, Randy Smith Middle School teacher Chis Pastro emailed, "Please tell John Z. that I finished the basket and it is beautiful (even with its perfect imperfections)."
If you are interested in learning more about the entire process of working with birch bark, please watch this excellent video "John Zasada and the Art of Living with Birch Bark," put together by the International Wood Culture Society: