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KENAI: Linking Girls to the Land
Alaska Region, October 14, 2009
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It was a cold winter day in Soldotna, Alaska, on March 6, 2009, but it didn't stop 13 leaders and their 33 Girl Scouts from coming to the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge for a special snowshoeing event. The event was advertised to Girl Scouts on the Kenai Peninsula and those in the Susitna Council (within Anchorage area).  Some groups drove over 3 hours to attend. 

 

In the morning, 2nd & 3rd grade Brownies learned what makes the Kenai NWR special and they walked or hopped the 3 different track patterns of a moose, American marten, and snowshoe hare.  Bundled up, they headed out on a snowshoe hike with Education Specialist Michelle Ostrowski and Student Conservation Association Intern Betsi Oliver, to explore along the "Keen-Eye" trail.  They pretended to be a pack of wolves while learning that wolves follow in each others footprints through snow in order to save energy & travel faster.  

 

In the afternoon, 4th through 8th grade Girl Scouts participated in activities illustrating the benefits of camouflage for Alaska's snowshoe hare, ermine and ptarmigan & the importance of subnivean (layer under the snow but just above the ground) for the small mammals like mice, shrews and voles during winter.  They matched animal furs and answered riddles before heading out onto the trail to snowshoe and look for wildlife tracks.  A lively discussion of careers within the US Fish and Wildlife Service with Refuge staff ensued during a question and answer period. 

 

This event was offered as the culmination of a "Linking Girls to the Land" grant project.  An Alaska‚Äôs National Wildlife Refuges Girl Scout patch was created and Ostrowski had a hand in helping develop the badge requirements for all 16 national wildlife refuges in Alaska and earning the patch requires and encourages the girls to learn more about their natural resources.  The grant monies purchased several pairs of snowshoes which are available for check out (at the Kenai NWR) along with a suitcase of activity supplies to help meet the patch requirements. Thanks to Joyce Cox (Kenai Peninsula Girl Scout coordinator) and Terry Gryting (Program Development Specialist for the Susitna Council) for their help in making this event a success.

Contact Info: Janet Schmidt, 907-260-2808, janet_schmidt@fws.gov



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