Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
TETLIN: Two Students in Refuge Writing Class Win Statewide Awards
Alaska Region, August 24, 2004
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Two local high school students, Molly Timm and September Sutherland, applied their new writing skills learned in Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge's ?Literature and the Land? program this summer to win a Statewide writing contest. Miss Timm won first place, while Miss Sutherland won third place, in the World Wildlife Fund's ?Alaska's Wild Places? writing contest. The seven other local high school students in Tetlin NWR's Literature class also contributed writing pieces to the contest.

As part of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Challenge Cost Share Partnership between Tetlin NWR and the Alaska Gateway School District, the course sought to immerse young writers in environmental literature. The course provided students with opportunities to read and write about, and discuss environmental issues. Participants also earned a High School English credit as an alternative to ?mainstream? classes.

Two 3-hour classes were held each week. Students met at the refuge office but often ended up at a local campground or trailhead or even in someone's backyard! The emphasis was on appreciation of the environment ? the more time spent out-of-doors, the better. Field trips were integral to the class. They provided: opportunities to visit and work with 3 environmental authors and an English professor/author; numerous themes for ?free writes?; spectacular venues to share final presentations and readings; and inspiration to stimulate creativity.

Completion of an extensive required reading list, a ten-week journaling activity and a final portfolio (including essays, poetry, book reports and an illustrated children's book) were the ?products? of the course. Selected writings were published in the local newspaper. The final class meeting was a ?Parent's Night? at which each student read aloud at least two of his or her writings.

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