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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

KENAI: In search of the FULL MOON

Region 7, April 26, 2013
Looking for a full moon that unfortunately didn't present itself in February due to cloud coverage.
Looking for a full moon that unfortunately didn't present itself in February due to cloud coverage. - Photo Credit: n/a
Ranger Michelle and Refuge volunteer Amber pose as proof the moon and stars were out in January.  Part of the constellation Orion can be seen in the right corner.
Ranger Michelle and Refuge volunteer Amber pose as proof the moon and stars were out in January. Part of the constellation Orion can be seen in the right corner. - Photo Credit: n/a
Participants get geared up and are given tips and tidbits on techniques (a 101 Intro to Snowshoeing).
Participants get geared up and are given tips and tidbits on techniques (a 101 Intro to Snowshoeing). - Photo Credit: n/a

During winter in Alaska the nights are often cold and clear, great for looking towards the heavens in search of stars, the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) and the man in the moon. The Kenai Refuge held full moon snowshoe walks for the local community for the third winter in a row. Each month from November to February about twenty five people (new people ages 12 and up each time) bundled up and braved the cold temperatures to get out and explore. Some of these people had never snowshoed before (and borrowed Refuge snowshoes) while others were experienced and came with their own snowshoes. Headlamps were worn, but on the nights when the full moon was out it was bright enough that headlamps weren't even needed. Listening to the crunch of snowshoes on snow and the other sounds of the forest in the still night air was refreshing. At Headquarters' Lake, participants were given a chance to explore on their own for a bit, returning to the group when Ranger Michelle (the Education Specialist at the Kenai Refuge) called them back with a wolf howl. The moon cooperated on each walk except for the February one. Hot cocoa concluded each walk with a time to socialize between participants. Positive feedback and reaching people new to snowshoeing (who often stated they now want to purchase snowshoes for their own use) definitely made these walks worth it despite the cold temperatures.

Contact Info: Michelle Ostrowski, 907-260-2839, michelle_ostrowski@fws.gov