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YUKON DELTA: High School Students get a taste of Wild Science
10 Region, August 8, 2005
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What are rural Yukon-Kuskokwim village students going to do after they graduate from high school? Are there budding refuge managers or biologists among them?

The Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge is making efforts to see that interested students have an opportunity to get involved in natural resources management. The Yukon Delta Refuge and the Association of Village Council Presidents (AVCP) initiated the Kwethluk River Science Camp this summer. On July 31 eight students from Nunam Iqua, Kwethluk, Tooksuk Bay, and Bethel and staff from the Refuge and AVCP were dropped into Boundary Lake to float down the Kwethluk River to the Refuge Science Station downstream.

The goal of the Science Camp, one of a dozen such annual camps on Alaskan refuges, is to foster Delta students? interest in natural resource management and field biology while exposing them to employment and post-secondary education possibilities and identifying promising students for internships at the Refuge and AVCP. During the Kwethluk River float trip, the students? hunger for biology and resource management was fed by hands-on learning about river geomorphology; Pacific salmon ecology and conservation; identification, ecology, and habitat preferences of juvenile salmon, trout, and other native fish species; the role of insects in fish biology; riparian plant ecology; small mammal inventory; and radio-telemetry to study wildlife and fish.

It is hoped that the Kwethluk River Science Camp is the first installment in a continuing effort to identify, educate, and provide opportunities for hard-working students from the Delta with an interest in natural resources management.

Refuge biologists Bill Leacock and Dan Gillikin organized and lead the camp. Refuge Information Technician Joe Asuluk provided Native elder wisdom and linked modern science to traditional knowledge.

Contact Info: Kevin Painter, , kevin_painter@fws.gov



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