My name is Matt Goff and I am the author of this website. I was born and raised in Sitka, Alaska and it is also currently my home. I have two kids whom I homeschool. Pictures of them can be found in the Family section as well as scattered about in the Photojournal sections after 2001.
Some of What I Do
Between 2002 and 2007, I taught math and statistics at Sheldon Jackson College, a small four year college in Sitka. In late June 2007, the school suspended operations due to financial problems. Since that time I have made my living doing statistical consulting and adjuncting at UAS-Sitka, teaching one or two algebra classes per term. I have also been able to make some money doing natural history related work. My avocation (and what provides much of the motivation behind the stuff I put on the web) is to learn as much as I can about the area where I live.
I often say that I think I would be happy even if I never was able to travel more than 150 miles from the place I live right now. I feel like there is more to discover on Baranof and surrounding islands than I could find in many lifetimes, and at this point in my life, I feel like I will be happy to spend mine discovering what I can.
The Website Beginning
This website was started primarily to organize and share the pictures I had taken of Sitka over the years. Most of these pictures were taken while hiking and I enjoyed going back to look at them periodically to remind me of home. I did not start out wanting to learn everything I could about the Sitka area, but in 1998 I purchased my first SLR camera and started trying to take pictures of flowers. I found that it was not good enough for me to have a nice picture of a flower, I wanted to know what it was. This was the beginning of my ongoing efforts to become something of a naturalist.
Photojournal gets Started
It did not take long for me to start using the website as a way to record and organize some of what I see and do. The primary motivation for this was my first summer in Sitka with no other family (my parents had moved to Idaho) and my first digital camera. The website was a convenient way for my parents to keep up with my activities. This was really the beginning of my photojournal, where most of the content of this site is currently found. As I transitioned to shooting primarily digital (in 1999 I shot both film and digital), the photojournal became a good substitute for a photoalbum and so it continued to grow as I put almost every picture I kept in it (there are currently nearly 5000 images).
Since 2007 I have spent my web development time working on sites other than this one. I first started nature blogging back in 2003, but was not consistent about posting until 2006. In 2007, I started using my Sitka Nature blog to post new photojournal entries. In the past couple of years, I have also spent a lot of time developing the Southeast Alaska Natural History Wiki where I hope to collect information about all aspects of the natural history of Southeast Alaska, though currently it is primarily limited to species lists and brief pages for many of the more common species.
What's in the Future?
I expect to do very little to this site, but it will remain as an archive. If you've found this site because of the pictures, please visit my Sitka Nature Photojournal to see many more.
I will also continue to work on the Southeast Alaska Natural History wiki.
Finally, I also developed a site for the Sitka Trail Guide, but it needs updating, and I have not yet decided how to procede (it may get incorporated into the wiki).
I am thankful to those who have taken the time to send me an e-mail or sign my guestbook over the years. I have not always known what to say in response or found the time to say it, but I do appreciate all the comments I have received. It's always fun to hear from someone who stumbled upon my website accidentally and then spent far more time than they intended looking at the pictures I have taken and reading about the things I have done. I also appreciate the tips on identification I have received from quite a number of different people. When I find out that others have enjoyed or been inspired by what I have done, it helps me feel motivated to get out there and do more and for someone like myself who often has difficulty getting motivated, that is a good thing. With the recent loss of my teaching job, I would also like to say thank you to those who have signed my guestbook and/or e-mailed me with encouraging words. I appreciate them.