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SELAWIK: "Friends" Volunteer at Kiana Elders' Camp
Alaska Region, August 9, 2007
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Campers catch insects to determine water quality with Friends volunteers.
Campers catch insects to determine water quality with Friends volunteers. - Photo Credit: n/a
Friends volunteer Betty Siegel examines a caribou head and antlers with children at the Kiana Elders' Camp. Photo by Mary Frische.
Friends volunteer Betty Siegel examines a caribou head and antlers with children at the Kiana Elders' Camp. Photo by Mary Frische. - Photo Credit: n/a

Six volunteers with Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges recently shared fun-filled summer days with children from the Iñupiaq village of Kiana on the Kobuk River in northwest Alaska.  The volunteers presented daily environmental education programs to children at the Kiana Elders’ Camp, a week-long summer camp program designed to engage children in natural history, the outdoors, and traditional cultural and subsistence activities.  The camp, reached by a 20-minute boat ride from Kiana, is located near the Selawik National Wildlife Refuge.  

The “Friends” volunteers—two per week for three weeks—took the young campers on nature walks where they cast animal tracks, identified birds, netted and examined stream life under magnifying glasses, tested river water, made weather observations, and drew and wrote in their journals.  In turn, volunteers learned from the children and camp staff about Iñupiaq culture and the challenges and joys of life in rural Alaska.  This was the first time Selawik Refuge had hosted Friends volunteers, and it was considered a great success by all involved.  Not only did the volunteers expand the scope of work of the Refuge, but their participation in the camp also fostered a valuable cross-cultural exchange.    


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



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