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TETLIN: Refuge Nature Camps Ensure No Child’s Left Inside
Alaska Region, June 15, 2009
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Some 30 students from two local schools were treated to overnight campouts sponsored by Tetlin NWR.  Due to accessibility problems reaching remote refuge lands, camps were held at a local Moon Lake State Recreation Area. 

The first group from Dot Lake School (a two-room K-12 Athabascan village school) arrived early in the morning on May 20 and immediately headed to a birding hot spot.  A local volunteer helped the kids spot numerous ducks and shorebirds as well as a Horned Grebe and a pair of Red Throated Loons.  Back at camp, the youngsters learned to set-up tents, “Leave-No-Trace” camping etiquette, fire suppression, how a pumper truck works and water bug identification.  A plant walk identified several new plants, discussions on plants as food and medicine and the discovery of an awesome "waterfall" and snow slide.  A paddle around the lake in a local's 34 ft Voyageur Canoe led to more wildlife viewing for moose, trumpeter swans and bald eagles before ending the evening with traditional scary stories and s'mores around the campfire.

The next day, the Dot Lake students were combined with the 4th grade class from Tok School for team-building activities.  After lunch, Dot Lake kids returned home while the 4th graders continued on with the fire, insect, plant and canoeing activities before going home on Friday, May 22.

When not busy with formal activities, kids were given time for unstructured play to explore woods and waters, including wading in the lake for bugs and leeches in a cell-phone-GameBoy-iPod-free zone. The school's lunch programs supplied food, teachers gave ideas and assistance and parent-chaperones helped refuge staff and volunteers with presentations and activities.

Contact Info: Mary Timm, 907-883-9419, mary_timm@fws.gov



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