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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

SELAWIK: Science and Culture Camp Celebrates 11th Year

Region 7, October 17, 2013
Selawik youth practice cutting moose meat for the camp's lunch that day.
Selawik youth practice cutting moose meat for the camp's lunch that day. - Photo Credit: n/a
Selawik 1st graders line up to board a boat to the Science-Culture Camp.
Selawik 1st graders line up to board a boat to the Science-Culture Camp. - Photo Credit: n/a
Kids explore the river bank in search of aquatic insects.
Kids explore the river bank in search of aquatic insects. - Photo Credit: n/a

More than 150 kids from the Iñupiaq village of Selawik in northwest Alaska once again celebrated the natural history and cultural traditions of their homeland, much of which is now encompassed by Selawik National Wildlife Refuge. With the golden fall tundra spread out in every direction, kids checked fish nets, scaled and cut fish, picked cranberries, hunted caribou and seals, butchered moose, practiced with GPSs, searched for aquatic insects, measured permafrost depth, and sketched plants. Students in grades 1-12 participated, each for two days, dressing warmly for the 15-minute boat ride from the village to the camp. The Science-Culture Camp, which lasts for two weeks, provides numerous opportunities for learning, but remains relatively unstructured to honor one of the joys of outdoor life: freedom from strict time schedules.

The camp, now in its 11th year, is a cooperative effort by the Native Village of Selawik, the Northwest Arctic Borough School District, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Funding is provided by the USFWS with additional contributions from other organizations and businesses, including the Northwest Arctic Borough, NANA Regional Corporation, City of Selawik, and Alaska Airlines.

Contact Info: Susan Georgette, 907-442-3799 ext 16, susan_georgette@fws.gov