Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
KANUTI: Talking the talk, the little refuge that roared!
Alaska Region, May 18, 2005
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Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge received a 2005 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Environmental Leadership Award and was named "Refuge of the Year" for environmental excellence.

Kanuti Refuge is one of the smallest refuges in the state of Alaska, but little can be big! Kanuti has established an Environmental Management Team and has made a commitment to ensure the preservation, conservation and enhancement of the valuable ecological resources on the Refuge. Kanuti's ?green team? adheres to spike camping procedures for most field work and advocates ?leave no trace? camping procedures to minimize lasting effects on the land. Outreach at the Arctic Interagency Visitor Center in Coldfoot includes these principles.

Refuge staff ?walk the walk? in other ways too. Kanuti Refuge is responsible for administrative support for the Arctic, Yukon Flats and Kanuti NWR office in Fairbanks. Administrative staff purchase green-recycled products for the offices and break rooms, recycle toner cartridges, paper, cardboard, batteries and computer and computer parts when possible and encourage the use of biodegradable soaps and cleaning supplies.

Recently a Waste Prevention and Recycling Coordinator was designated for Kanuti to ensure field operations include plans for human waste disposal and that fuel storage includes the use of spill prevention and containment systems. Responsibilities of this position include the oversight of building projects to ensure that Kanuti minimizes their mark on the land, uses recycled building materials when possible and is compatible with the wild character of Kanuti.

The little Refuge in Alaska is also focused on use of low energy appliances, 4 stroke motors to reduce pollution, monitoring invasive species, use of double walled fuel tanks, mobile spill kits to respond to possible Dalton Highway or pipeline spills, and solar powered energy systems at remote cabins. In fact, when Kanuti built a cabin at Marion Creek last year in support of Arctic Interagency Visitor Center staffing, a solar powered energy system was installed to reduce costs and make use of sustainable energy. A similar system is already in place at the Administrative Cabin at Kanuti Lake.

The staff of the Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge takes stewardship of lands set aside for the American people seriously. They have made a strong commitment to the protection of these lands and actively work to comply with environmental standards. Kanuti talks the talk, and they walk the walk.

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