Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
YUKON DELTA: Wildlife Ambassadors of the Delta
Alaska Region, August 23, 2004
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For winter and spring of 2003-2004, Refuge Information Technicians (RITs) at Yukon Delta NWR have given personal presentations in 31 villages to 2536 students, 233 teachers, 406 local villagers and 90 Tribal Council members.

The RIT Program began at Yukon Delta Refuge in 1983 when local Natives were hired as interpreters between the Service and the 36 villages within the Refuge boundary. Villages are hundreds of miles apart and accessible only by airplane or boat during spring and summer and in winter by airplane or snowmobile. RITs must be bilingual to fluently communicate in both the Yup?ik language and English to schools, villages, Tribal Councils, as well as with other Refuge employees.

RIT programs included: 1) Waterfowl conservation focused on four restricted goose and two sea duck species, including threatened Stellers eiders; 2) Shooting clinics on the importance of steel shot; 3) Off Road Vehicles? (ORVs) damage to the tundra and disturbance of nesting birds; 3) Stewardship and helping others conserve resources for future generations; 4) Subsistence hunting and fishing regulations, including respecting fish and wildlife and sharing when plentiful.

RITs have also been instrumental conducting waterfowl harvest surveys throughout the Yukon Delta for 20 years, recruiting and training local surveyors to collect data essential to managing subsistence harvest of waterfowl. ?RITs are the ultimate ambassadors for the Service and wildlife throughout the Delta,? says Refuge Manager Mike Rearden, ?We couldn?t operate without them.?

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