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KOYUKUK/NOWITNA: Science Camp Fuels Interest in Fire
Alaska Region, August 30, 2011
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Fire Management Officer Ben Pratt helps a future firefighter with his personal protective equipment.
Fire Management Officer Ben Pratt helps a future firefighter with his personal protective equipment. - Photo Credit: FWS Photo
Campers at the Fire Science Camp fight a pretend fire in a spruce tree.
Campers at the Fire Science Camp fight a pretend fire in a spruce tree. - Photo Credit: FWS Photo

By Elizabeth Julian, Participant in the Student Career Experience Program

 “This is the best day ever!” exclaimed a third grader as he fought pretend fire with water at the Alaska Fire Service dispatch station in Galena on July 8, 2011.

For two weeks, groups of first through seventh grade students from Galena spent a few hours each day learning about fire succession in the Alaska boreal forest with the help of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska Fire Service, Louden Tribal Council and the Galena School System.

Provided with numerous activities directed for each learning age, 29 children enjoyed learning about how a fire can behave in boreal forest ecosystems, the different effects that happen after a fire throughout the span of 150 years, why fire is good and bad, and much more. The children of Galena also learned about the fire triangle and how fuel and oxygen applied to heat can create a fire. Each day they created crafts related to lessons they learned, including tree cookie spin toys and tree identification books.

The BLM Alaska Fire Service field trip was the highlight of the week where the campers took all their newly gained knowledge and applied it to fire management scenarios. Presentations were given by USFWS Fire Management Officer Ben Pratt and Bob Lambrecht from BLM. The children sat wide eyed as pieces of equipment used in wildland firefighting were pulled out of a large pack, and as a group discussed how each item would be used. Later they paired up to “put out” fire (flagging) in trees and on the ground using pumps and bladder bags. It was a rewarding moment to hear the kids say, after putting on the firefighting gear, “I want to be a fire fighter!” 
 


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



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