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FAIRBANKS:Connecting Youth to Conservation and Sustainability
Alaska Region, May 3, 2011
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Watershed Charter School students in Fairbanks, Alaska make a sketch of riparian habitats used by spawning adult and rearing juvenile Chinook salmon.
Watershed Charter School students in Fairbanks, Alaska make a sketch of riparian habitats used by spawning adult and rearing juvenile Chinook salmon. - Photo Credit: USFWS

In May 2011, seventh-grade students, teachers and parent volunteers from the Watershed Charter School in Fairbanks, Alaska spent three days and four nights at a Sustainability Camp within the Chena River State Recreation Area. The purpose of the Sustainability Camp was to build upon the established partnership between the Fairbanks Fish & Wildlife Field Office and the school by providing these students with a more intensive outdoor education experience. These 12 & 13-year old youth participated in hands-on science activities to learn about the Chena River watershed as critical habitat for Chena River Chinook salmon and other wildlife. This activity culminated in a role-playing scenario where the students had to decide whether to dam the upper Chena River to provide hydropower for Fairbanks. This activity allowed the students to explore concepts of society meeting its needs while preserving natural ecosystems and local human cultures. Other activities at the Sustainability Camp included hiking; bird watching; exploring Chena Hot Springs geothermal energy plant, greenhouse and recycling program; constructing and installing bird nesting boxes; learning camp fire building and other outdoor safety and survival skills; performing trail maintenance and interpretive sign design; and star gazing. The camp successfully exposed tomorrow’s leaders to the concepts of ecological, economic and social responsibility.


Contact Info: Laurel Devaney, 907-456-0558, Laurel_devaney@fws.gov



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