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SELAWIK: Getting Outdoors Selawik-Style
Alaska Region, December 1, 2010
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Selawik students and their instructor open up a beaver set along the Selawik River, November 2010. Photo by Susan Georgette.
Selawik students and their instructor open up a beaver set along the Selawik River, November 2010. Photo by Susan Georgette. - Photo Credit: n/a
The school district's Inupiaq coordinator discusses beaver ecology with Selawik students and prepares to demonstrate the traditional skill of beaver skinning, November 2010. Photo by Susan Georgette.
The school district's Inupiaq coordinator discusses beaver ecology with Selawik students and prepares to demonstrate the traditional skill of beaver skinning, November 2010. Photo by Susan Georgette. - Photo Credit: n/a

As the sun crept above the horizon in mid-afternoon, Selawik students zipped their parkas, tied their hats, and scrambled into basket sleds for a snowmachine ride to nearby beaver trapping sites. The short daylight and sub-zero temperatures did not daunt participants in this Iñupiaq community on the Arctic Circle. For three weeks in November, the Iñupiaq coordinator for the Northwest Arctic Borough School District teamed with Selawik Refuge staff to teach youth the art of beaver trapping. Before heading into the field, students learned about the biology and ecology of beaver, a species that expanded into the Selawik area about 50 years ago. In the field, students chiseled through the river ice with a tuuq (long pole with metal point), cut willows, set snares, and covered the open holes with fresh snow, all under the watchful eye of their instructors. Harvested beaver were taken back to the classroom to skin. The skins were then stretched and dried for fur sewing projects later this winter. This hands-on learning effort promoted cultural knowledge and tradition, self-sufficiency, respect for nature, and enjoyment of the outdoors


Contact Info: Susan Georgette, 907-442-3799 ext 16, susan_georgette@fws.gov



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