Category Archives: Berry Harvesting

Documenting Change in Nunavut

Here is a thesis that explores climate change through berries near Kugluktuk, Nunavut, Canada. The program is part citizen science as well as documenting the ethnobotany of the region. It includes great summaries of the most important berries and even some recipes!

ubc_2017_may_desrosiers_sarah

Wild berries along the Tanana

From one of the last screencasts in the Wild and Cultivated Berries class, (NRM 154), it was mentioned that certain berries could be found along the Yukon and Tanana rivers. I am from a village along the Yukon River and have to travel along the Tanana River in order to get home by boat. I had never even thought about looking for any other berry besides blueberries along the river. Now that I know what all of these berries look like and where they are likely to grow I can definitely be on the lookout next time I travel home 🙂  LF Fairbanks

The Zen of Berry Picking!

Salmonberry picking. The link above takes you to a cute short story about salmonberry picking in Alaska. It is called “The Zen of Berry Picking” by Lisa Kroner. It is a funny short story that truely does express how important berries are to people who pick everywhere and live off the land. “The thing about picking wild berries is that although they are everywhere, they are not always easy to get to-” (The Zen of Berry Picking, Kroner, p. 9). Berry picking is not always easy and it can be a real chore depending on the area you live in. I also think thats what makes it fun though, and feeling the appreciation when you come home with a bucket full of berries. Kroner expresses her thankfulness in this short story of her learning about salmonberries.

Berries in Alaska

This article in the ADN is about the antioxidant content of berries, good picking locations in Alaska and some of the things you can do with them once you find them. One recipe i personally would like to try is the Nagoonberry Syrup! Burke, Jill. 2012. Alaska wild berries: Tips on how to find and prepare them. Accessed online: Berries  Accessed on 12 Oct 2016.

Nagoonberry Harvest Glacier Bay

Berry picking is a large part of most Alaskan cultures and heritages. This is a video produced in cooperation with Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve and the Hoonah Indian Association. In this ten minute video there are 21 lucky berry pickers that were invited to the Glacier Bay National Park to pick Nagoon berries. In this video you get to see and hear introductions of those invited berry picking including some information on the individuals cultural background and their thoughts and feelings on being able to go berry nagoon berry picking. I like this video because you get a since of the feeling of pride and happiness that berry picking can bring not only an individual but also a community. I really liked that many of these pickers were first time nagoon berry pickers. What a great program the National Park Service has created by helping Alaskan cultures get back to some of their roots. LH Fairbanks

Grant, K. 2011. Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve Berry Pickers 2011. Available online: https://www.nps.gov/media/video/view.htm?id=C3F041A5-1DD8-B71C-0774CC1129C90E5A . Accessed: 10 Oct. 2016.

Alaska Wild Berry Resources

Alaskan Wild Berry Resources and Human Health Under the Cloud of Climate Change
Wild berries are an integral part of Alaskan diet. They are a rich source in polyphenolic metabolites that can aid metabolic disorders such as obesity and diabetes. Here, a study of five common Alaskan wild berries are screened for bioactivity -the effect on participants. And the effect of different seasons/fluctuations on berry abundance and quality is provided.

Selected extracts reduced glucose levels and other insight allows for the monitoring of these berries as the climate changes throughout the region.
Flint, Courtney. Gonzalez De Mejia, Elvira. Kellogg, Joshua. Kuhn, Peter. Lila, Mary Ann. Raskin, Ilya. Ribnicky, David. Wang, Jinzhi. 2010. “Alaskan Wild Berry Resources and Human Health Under the Cloud of Climate Change.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 58(7): 3884-3900.

Berries in Alaska

I saw a post/comment on this paper on the Hort Alaska Berry Blog. Most Alaskans surveyed (from 73 communities) thought that berry supplies were more variable and had declined in recent years. I wouldn’t be surprised if that is the case, but I also wonder if our memories would mislead us to accurately remember past berry years. I guess the number of containers you pick from year to year would be a good indicator. If berry supplies are more variable and declining, that would be a good case for managing wild stands to some degree or cultivating berries. It’s also interesting to see how your location influences which berries you pick. Apparently, I am solidly an Interior berry picker that finds blueberries to be the most important berry. But, that probably means there is less competition for other berries such as cloudberries, nagoonberries, and cranberries. It is pretty cut throat at the blueberry patches here in Interior Alaska.
Hupp, J., Brubaker, M., Wilkinson, K., & Williamson, J. 2015.  How are your berries? Perspectives of Alaska’s environmental managers on trends in wild berry abundance. Available online: Berries. Accessed on 11 Oct, 2016.