Chugach Corner: Story Book Forest, shorebirds and soothing sounds of nature

Pagres from “Mama Built a Little Nest.” (April 21, 2021) Photo courtesy of Amanda Williams

The Story Book Forest is back on the Cordova Ranger District to make reading fun, all while enjoying the great outdoors. A story book forest takes you on a journey of discovery through a book read-along style, at a beautiful location in nature.

The creative team behind this year’s Story Book Forest is Paula Payne, cultural program lead, Jillian Gold, librarian, and Anna Tikhomirova, librarian.

Payne shared she grew up going to a Story Book Forest near Idlewild Park in Pennsylvania, and thought the idea would work well in Cordova.

“We started it last summer when we were brainstorming ideas for how to get the community involved in book reading that wouldn’t be indoors and would be socially distanced. It is a series of sandwich boards with pages taken directly out of a book.

“Paula [Payne] reformats them in photoshop so that they are on a larger scale. We print them, cut them and tape them together,” continued Gold.

The children’s book on display for this year’s Story Book Forest installation is “Mama Built a Little Nest” by Jennifer Ward. The whimsical book was chosen to align with the upcoming Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival. The Story Book Forest will dazzle readers and adventurers from May 6-19 and begin at the Crater Lake Trailhead, across from Skater’s Cabin on Lake Avenue. The Crater Lake Trail is picturesque, nestled amongst Sitka Spruce and Hemlock trees.


“Walk along and read a story, it’s socially distanced and outside, and it’s a fun thing to do. A lot of the families in town have been really enthusiastic about it, so we are keeping it going,” said Gold.

What’s happening on the Chugach

Several moose were seen along Alaganik Road on April 17. Lapland Longspur were sighted throughout the Cordova Ranger District earlier in April, along with a plethora of other bird species. Be on the lookout for Ospreys!

“Spring has sprung in Cordova. The early arrivals are here, greater yellowlegs and greater white-fronted geese showed up this past weekend. This is just the start of the epic spectacle of migration on the Delta,” said Erin Cooper, Program Manager, Wildlife Ecology, Vegetation and Management with the Forest Service.

Every Monday for “Meditation Mondays” you can enjoy the soothing sights and sounds of the Chugach National Forest via the U.S. Forest Service-Chugach National Forest Facebook page @ChugachNF and on Twitter @ChugachForestAK. Join us to see and hear waterfalls, rolling ocean waves, wildlife sightings and more.