Community editor and columnist Kris Capps is a longtime resident of Fairbanks and Denali Park. Contact her at, in the office at 459-7546 or by cell at 322-6334. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.

The American Association of University Women — or AAUW — has three $1,500 scholarships available for local women who are resuming their education.

Normally, this program is funded by the annual AAUW Home Tour. But that fundraiser had to be canceled due to COVID-19 in 2020, and it is canceled again in 2021. However, generous donations from members allow the scholarship program to continue.

These scholarships differ from those offered to graduating high school seniors. Instead, the scholarships are intended for women who are returning to school studies after a break or to change or advance their careers. Applicants must be women who reside in Interior Alaska, north of the Alaska Range.

Applications are due March 1. Information and applications available at

The Fairbanks branch of AAUW generally awards two scholarships: The Ann Rhian Memorial Scholarship and the Nancy Johnson Memorial Scholarship. This year, there is an additional Barbara Matthews Memorial Scholarship. The scholarships are awarded in April.

For additional information, contact Laura Lynn Walsh, AAUW Scholarship Coordintaor at

AAUW’s mission is to advance gender equity for women and girls through research, education and advocacy.

Birch Hill Trails

Nearly $11,000 was raised in December to support trail grooming and maintenance at Birch Hill Recreation Area, thanks to the Goldstream Sports Trail Donor Challenge.

Birch Hill trail supporters donated about $9,000 and Goldstream Sports added another $2,000, matching donations from many new trail donors.

Birch Hill ski trails are some of the best maintained trails in the world that are free of charge and open for public use, according to the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks. In a news release, the club noted that it spends more than $100,000 a year, keeping the trails groomed.

“With the pandemic, Birch Hill has seen record numbers of skiers out on the trails this year,” the press release said. “And the club’s trail grooming costs have risen considerably, so these donations really help.”

The trails are located at Birch Hill Recreation Area, which is operated by the parks and recreations department of the Fairbanks North Star Borough. Some of the trails even lead from the recreation area onto Fort Wainwright.

The joint partnership between the ski club, borough and military provides locals and visitors one of the most outstanding trail systems in Alaska, winter and summer, according to the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks.

For more information see or go to the borough’s website at

Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at Follow her on Twitter @FDNMKris.