Mukluks are traditional boots worn by indigenous Arctic people around the world. Mukluks are very versatile and are worn to sneak up on seals while hunting, for traditional dances, and for formal occasions like weddings. The process of sewing mukluks has become less common in recent years, but Mary Lou Sours is working to change that and reconnect people to this cultural tradition.
About 60 miles North of the Arctic Circle is the small village of Noatak. The majority of the residents there, including Lonnie Arnold, still live a traditional subsistence lifestyle and rely on the wild plants and animals to feed their families. During the summer, almost everyone in the Iñupiaq community is fishing for salmon and picking blueberries, raspberries and cloudberries for the freezer.
Lorri Wright has been weaving for years and first learned the craft at the Anchorage Weavers and Spinners Guild. At first, she started weaving to save money on cloth for sewing, but now the hobby has turned into a therapeutic activity to calm her moments of anxiety.
26 years ago, Paula and Mike packed up and moved their family out to the Alaska Bush. Their homestead has now blossomed into a thriving Peony Farm. Commonly known as the wedding flower, peonies are a beloved symbol of summer for many Alaskans. While growing flowers off-the-grid presents unique challenges, Mike and Paula can't imagine a life anywhere else.
What started as a fun, childhood hobby has now turned into a blooming business for potter, Marta Elaine Zegzdryn. Her company, MEZ Pottery, can often be found at festivals and fairs across Alaska where you can find her unique, sophisticated Alaskan designs. Marta says much of her inspiration comes from the beautiful, rugged landscape in which she lives.
With long winters and temperatures often dipping below freezing, most people might not consider Anchorage to be a location with a growing skateboarding community. But Garrett Swenson, a lifelong Alaskan and confident skateboarder, says the scene has been in Alaska for years and is even expanding. The extreme seasons and lack of venues have created a tight-knit skateboarding community.
Matthew Burtner is using his experience as a music composer to raise awareness of climate change by making avant-garde soundscapes from Alaska's wilderness. Matthew, like most other Alaskans, has a front-row seat to climate change and he's sharing these sounds with the world through his new album, Glacier Music.
Packrafting is an Alaska born sport that's picked up popularity in the past ten years. Because of their ability to be folded into the size of a small sleeping bag, packrafts have become a favorite adventure tool among backpackers looking to extend hiking trips, and thrill-seekers looking to conquer whitewater rapids. Meet Luc Mehl, an adventurer who's been packrafting in Alaska for 15 years.
After her parents started a bakery in Anchorage, Rachel fell in love with the art of making crusty, rustic loaves. She is now the owner/manager of Fire Island Bakery and self-proclaimed Gluten Queen. However, to Rachel, the bakery is about more than just the bread, it’s about the community she gets to share it with.
Alaska in the spring is a blossoming green wonderland to harvest and forage for wild edible plants. Lisa Brandstetter takes advantage of many of these spring treats, but a favorite for her and her family are spruce tips; But she chooses this lifestyle for more than just the pantry full of homemade jelly.
Scared Scriptless is the longest-running improv comedy troupe in Alaska. They routinely perform sold-out shows to a devoted local audience. The members of Scared Scriptless might not be vying for a spot on SNL but they all share a unique passion that makes their performance feel more authentic than your typical comedy routine.
Being raised in a multi-cultural family, artist Thomas Chung has developed a great interest to delve deeper into the traditions of the world. With the mind to understand the many ideologies and technologies of other cultures, Thomas often seeks to collaborate with local Alaska Native artists to render his work.
Gabriel Degange and Allison Dunbar are mushroom people. They first met at a mushroom convention and now, as a couple, they run their own business harvesting natural, Alaska chaga and growing gourmet mushrooms for area restaurants. Chaga is becoming more popular and can often be found at farmer's markets in Alaska, but Gabriel and Allison have designed a method for making chaga tinctures.
Dennis Stevens, along with other KL7AA volunteers, work together to ensure Ham Radio communication for the Anchorage area stays operational. So if digital comms break down due to an emergency, local residents could have another communications hub, the Anchorage Amateur Radio Club.
The 49th State has an abundance of edible wild plants, but some people might think of Alaska's wild berries or mushrooms before they'd consider eating fiddlehead ferns. Jason Porter, the Executive Chef of Alyeska Resort and Hotel, takes advantage of his spring harvest of fiddleheads and uses them in dishes for himself, his family and for the resort's restaurants in Girdwood, Alaska.
Kelly Terry had no formal experience when he volunteered to operate the DJ booth for karaoke night at Asia Garden Restaurant in 1994. After nearly 20 years in the position, he is now a local legend around Anchorage, known for his welcoming presence at the eccentric karaoke lounge. Karaoke is a draw for residents looking to do something fun indoors during the long, dark winters.