Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
ARCTIC, KANUTI & YUKON FLATS: Thousands Flock to Flying Duck Ice Sculpture during Winter Carnival
Alaska Region, March 5, 2005
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Over 2,500 people visited the Winter Carnival Ice Park in Fairbanks, Alaska for the annual Family Fun Day on Saturday, March 5 - and our beloved Blue Goose was there to greet them all! The Fairbanks Ice Park is home to the World Ice Art Championships, where ice carvers from around the world gather in March to test their skills in the largest ice sculpting competition in the world. Throughout the month of March, these internationally renowned events typically draw 45,000 spectators to the Ice Park. For the second year in a row, Arctic, Kanuti and Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuges, which are headquartered in Fairbanks, partnered with the non-profit organization, Ice Alaska, to create an original ice sculpture designed to raise awareness of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Living in a land of permafrost and long winters, Fairbanks children greet spring by enjoying the follies of the Kids? Park, which features interactive kid-sized ice forms such as mazes, slides and spinning whirly-seats, as well as tantalizing sculptures that add both beauty and whimsy to the park. This year's Northern Alaska Refuges Ice Sculpture depicts a migratory water bird taking off from a still lake, stretching up high in the water, breast raised, beak high, and wings outstretched, while waves surround the bird as it frees itself from the surface of the pond. All of the park's forms glisten in early spring's crisp, bright sunlight by day, and glow with faceted colors from accent lighting by night. On Family Fun Day, children and adults alike were met near the sparkling duck sculpture by uniformed refuge staff who answered questions, provided information about national wildlife refuges, and lent a helping hand to the star of the show ? our very own mascot, the Blue Goose. The wonderland of ice sculptures in the Kids? Park lasts until temperatures rise above freezing, usually in mid-April?just when children are watching real geese and other waterfowl touch down briefly in Fairbanks during their migration to points including the northern refuge lands of Arctic, Kanuti, and Yukon Flats Refuges.

For more information about the Northern Alaska Refuges Ice Sculpture, please contact Jennifer Reed, Visitor Services Specialist for Arctic NWR, at (907) 455-1835 or jennifer_reed@fws.gov.

Photographs are available upon request.

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