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TOGIAK: With Help from Mother Nature,Refuge Science Camps a Success
Alaska Region, September 25, 2007
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Park Ranger Allen Miller discusses salmon smolt and salmon migration patterns with float camp students on the Middle Fork of the Goodnews River.
Park Ranger Allen Miller discusses salmon smolt and salmon migration patterns with float camp students on the Middle Fork of the Goodnews River. - Photo Credit: n/a

Students from Dillingham, Togiak and Goodnews Bay recently had a summer learning opportunity, courtesy of Togiak National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and Mother Nature. Twelve students participated in two annual environmental education camps: the Summer Outdoor Skills/River Ecology Float Trip and the Cape Peirce Marine Science and Yup’ik Culture Camp.

In late July, five area high school students floated the Middle Fork of the Goodnews River. Using the river as their classroom, students learned how to ‘read’ the river and how to use river rafts safely and  practiced their angling skills while learning about backcountry safety and wildlife management practices. Leave No Trace camping principles were taught and practiced. Bear safety- as one might expect in a wilderness setting teeming with our continent’s largest land carnivores- was addressed and a part of each day’s routine.

Students learned about the ecology of a river and how biologists monitor different populations of wildlife, particularly fish. This topic culminated with a stop at the fish weir on the lower part of the river, where students talked with biological technicians (commonly known as biotechs) about fish counting. Good spirits and a strong sense of camaraderie were added elements that grew over the course of the week and permeated all aspects of the trip, despite the presence of rain daily.

The two camps are offered annually by Togiak NWR. Area students interested in the camps have to complete and submit two applications- a student application and a teacher recommendation form. Both camps strive to connect area students with the vast resources of the refuge-as well as the cultural aspects behind it- while instilling in them a deeper sense of personal commitment to stewardship.


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



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