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YUKON FLATS: Alaskan Refuges Introduce Rural Youth to Conservation through Earth Quest Internships
10 Region, September 30, 2007
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Rick Ackerman, Fairbanks Alaska Public Lands Information Center, shares his career experiences with assembled interns and natural resource professionals.  Photo by Barry Whitehill July 31, 2007.
Rick Ackerman, Fairbanks Alaska Public Lands Information Center, shares his career experiences with assembled interns and natural resource professionals. Photo by Barry Whitehill July 31, 2007. - Photo Credit: n/a
Earth Work Quest interns backpacking the Angel Rocks trail. Photo by Barry Whitehill August 1, 2007.
Earth Work Quest interns backpacking the Angel Rocks trail. Photo by Barry Whitehill August 1, 2007. - Photo Credit: n/a
Earth Work Quest Internship Program participants taking a break while backpacking the Angel Rocks Trail in the Chena River Recreation Area.  Photo by Barry Whitehill August 1, 2007.
Earth Work Quest Internship Program participants taking a break while backpacking the Angel Rocks Trail in the Chena River Recreation Area. Photo by Barry Whitehill August 1, 2007. - Photo Credit: n/a

Counting chum salmon, trail building, bird banding, and answering questions from tourists were some of the projects that 14 interns got involved with through the Earth Work Quest Internship Program this past summer.  Created through a Fish and Wildlife Service Challenge Grant, Earth Work Quest was developed t

  inspire students’ interest in natural resources careers

  develop a natural resources workforce from northern Alaska rural communities

  connect rural communities with natural resource professionals.

Students from rural communities of Arctic Village, Beaver, Eagle, Fort Yukon, Grayling, Stevens Village, and Tok joined the 2007 Earth Work Quest.  Some had paid internships through Native organizations like the Tanana Chiefs Conference if they came from a TCC-supported village and met income limits.  Other internships were funded through the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) or Student Temporary Experience Program (STEP).  For others, it was purely a volunteer experience that reimbursed them with a small daily stipend.

Interns gathered at the Chena River State Recreation Area from July 30-August 3, 2007, where they met natural resource professionals from state, federal, and private conservation organizations.  Many of these professionals had grown up in Alaska villages and they shared the challenges encountered in following their own career path.  The experience culminated with an eight mile overnight backpacking trip and banquet at Chena Hot Springs Resort.

The 2007 Earth Work Quest Internship Program combined the efforts of more than a dozen agencies and organizations.  In addition to those mentioned, other sponsors included the Alaska Departments of Fish and Game and Natural Resources, BLM, National Park Service, University of Alaska, Yukon Flats School District, and the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments.  Participating Alaskan wildlife refuges included Arctic, Kanuti, Tetlin, and Yukon Flats.


Contact Info: Barry Whitehill, (907) 456-0409, barry_whitehill@fws.gov



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