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ARCTIC: Cost of Arctic Refuge Kiosks: $8,100; Value of Lasting Partnership: Priceless
Alaska Region, October 25, 2005
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Visitors take a look at one of the new informational kiosks in Kaktovik. FWS photo, 2005.
Visitors take a look at one of the new informational kiosks in Kaktovik. FWS photo, 2005. - Photo Credit: n/a
The kiosk project reinforced connections between Refuge staff and Kaktovik community members. FWS photo, 2005.
The kiosk project reinforced connections between Refuge staff and Kaktovik community members. FWS photo, 2005. - Photo Credit: n/a

Just as neighbors do well to “talk over the fence” once in a while, Arctic Refuge staff and Kaktovik village members reinforced their connection when they teamed up to create a product valuable to both. Refuge staff, leaders from the North Slope Borough (NSB), City of Kaktovik, Native Village of Kaktovik, and Kaktovik Inupiat Corporation, as well as a popular local artist, all rolled up their sleeves and got to work designing and fabricating informational kiosks that benefit both the community and the Refuge.

The group quickly determined that two audiences would benefit from the project: visitors to the Refuge who travel through Kaktovik, and residents of the community. Visitors seeking hiking, river-floating, and camping opportunities often use the same areas of the Refuge that residents traditionally use for subsistence hunting and fishing. One kiosk targets these visitors, delivering information about Kaktovik village history and traditional harvest patterns, private lands within the Refuge, and recreational opportunities. “This kiosk will be good for people who are visiting Kakovik and the Refuge” said City of Kaktovik Mayor Lon Sonsala, after seeing the completed posters. George Tagarook, NSB Kaktovik Fire Department Chief followed with, “It'll be good for the visitors to learn about the Kaktovik area and it's wildlife.”

The second kiosk is specifically directed toward the residents of Kaktovik, who share their lives with some of the Southern Beaufort Sea stock of polar bears during the months of August through October each year, and who also utilize the Refuge for subsistence activities such as hunting and fishing. Community leaders are interested in increasing public awareness about living safely around polar bears, and Refuge staff want to educate the community about the Refuge. The posters in this kiosk therefore focus on polar bear biology, behavior and safety, but also include information about the Arctic Refuge.

The $8,100 in funding for the Kaktovik Kiosk project was provided through the National Wildlife Refuge Kiosk Program, but the value of the project went far beyond the dollars spent. This was one of the first joint partnership projects undertaken between the Refuge and the Inupiat Eskimo Village of Kaktovik, and hopefully only the first of many more to come. The community at large received the kiosks well.  Before the project was even completed the working group began brainstorming the next poster topic for the kiosks. Refuge staff and community members hope to create at least one new poster each year, choosing to highlight a current issue or shared concern. Nora Jane Burns, NSB Village Coordinator for Kaktovik, reflected on the results of the group’s tireless work saying,” I’m very happy we got the kiosk project done and that together we’ll be able to educate people.”

For more information about the Kaktovik informational kiosks, please contact Jennifer Reed at 1-800-362-4546. 


Contact Info: Kristen Gilbert, 907-786-3391, Kristen_Gilbert@fws.gov



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