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For Educators

Bird Education activityThe focus of our outreach and education program is to promote greater understanding of the refuge and its resources through materials and methods that are appropriate to our diverse audiences.  This includes supporting local communities' continued connection to the land, increasing the understanding of the work of scientists and land managers, and promoting an appreciation of the special value of Selawik Refuge to people from far away who may never get a chance to visit.


Education and outreach activities include school and community programs, development and distribution of educational materials, and public contact through community events, the radio and online.  Below are some of our activities that may be of interest to educators in our region. 

Environmental Education Presentations

As members of the local community, staff at the Selawik Refuge are happy to take part in events such as career fairs, science fairs, and local celebrations. We also offer educational activities in schools and other learning environments, and through outdoor activities. We have a variety of educational materials to draw from, and are happy to work with teachers to develop lessons relating to the wildlife and ecology of our area. Educators in the Northwest Arctic are encouraged to contact us with questions or ideas, or to possibly arrange a visit from our staff. We are especially interested in:

  • ways to get kids outside and engaged in hands-on activities;
  • lessons based on wildlife and ecosystems of our area;
  • building awareness of the work that scientists and USFWS staff do. 

Email Brittany Sweeney, Environmental Education Specialist, with questions. 

Alaska Migratory Bird Calendar Contest
Shorebird poster from 2012 by Summer Tickett, age 6 

Like many other wildlife refuges across our state, Selawik Refuge participates in the Alaska Migratory Bird Calendar Contest each year.  Students (K-12) submit artwork and literature with the winning entries featured in an attractive, widely distributed calendar.  The contest provides an opportunity for local students to reflect on the value of birds in our area and learn more about them.

The calendar contest began more than 20 years ago as a conservation outreach effort for select species of geese in decline on the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta. It has since broadened in scope and become a familiar and well-loved tradition for many students. Our staff coordinates the Northwest Arctic entries and local judging, giving out prizes to the winning students in our area. These winning entries are sent to Anchorage for judging in the statewide contest. The real effort to engage students is undertaken by teachers who utilize this learning activity in their classrooms. We are grateful to the educators in our area who get involved year after year.

Selawik Science-Culture Camp

Culture Camp fishingIf you visit the Iñupiaq village of Selawik, Alaska in early September, don’t be surprised to see groups of students in colorful life jackets getting ready for the 15-minute boat ride to the Science-Culture Camp. The Selawik National Wildlife Refuge is happy to have a working partnership with the Native Village of Selawik and the Northwest Arctic Borough School District to collectively put on the camp, a much anticipated opportunity for local students in grades 1-12 to get outdoors and learn about the area’s natural and cultural history. 

Last Updated: May 21, 2014
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