Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
KANUTI: Singing About Bears in Coldfoot, Alaska
Alaska Region, October 27, 2005
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Sandy Kogl and Pat Chamberlin at Ballad of the Wild Bear Sing Along
Sandy Kogl and Pat Chamberlin at Ballad of the Wild Bear Sing Along - Photo Credit: n/a

It can be a cold, desolate place 60 miles north of the Arctic Circle and children can be few and far between. If you see a bunch of kids in one place, you can bet something fun is going on. So when many kids from Coldfoot and Wiseman showed up at the Arctic Interagency Visitor Center in August 2005 you could feel the enthusiasm in the air. Why all the excitement? Two of the authors of the new children’s book Ballad of the Wild Bear came from Talkeetna for a book signing and sing along. The book includes a musical CD including the whole story sung in tune to an old folk song. The catchy melody makes it easy to sing along.

Finding ways to reduce negative bear and human interactions is the premise of this new book and authors Sandy Kogl and Pat Chamberlin were eager to teach the young people of Coldfoot and Wiseman some positive ways to reduce those impacts. They started the evening off by describing some of the problems Talkeetna residents were experiencing with bears and how the community came together to solve the problems. Next, Sandy read the book aloud to the large crowd, while showing off the fine illustrations done by Libby Hatton, also of Talkeetna. After reading the book, everyone participated in a sing along, accompanied by the musical CD included with the book. Sandy and Pat included many of the words on an easel so everyone could sing along. And sing they did!!  Everyone had so much fun; we sang the song three times!

Kanuti Park Ranger, Jody DeMeyere, was able to put on the book signing and sing along with Alaska Natural History Association funds. The Alaska Natural History Association is a nonprofit partner with the center and is responsible for the bookstore. Jody promoted the event all over the community. Due in part to the high promotion of the event, over 30 people came to the visitor center to participate in the sing along. Literally every kid from the communities of Coldfoot and Wiseman showed up, plus many Princess Tour bus visitors who happened to be in town. Who knew it could be so much fun to sing about bears?!

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