Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
KANUTI: Home Schoolers in Deep Freeze Warm to Birds
Alaska Region, February 1, 2008
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What do home-schooled students living north of the Arctic Circle in rural Alaska do on the coldest day of the year?  On January 14, students in the remote Brooks Range communities of Wiseman and Coldfoot braved -50 degree below zero temperatures to join Interpretive Park Ranger Kristin Reakoff for a fun and educational morning. The cold weather didn’t dampen the students’ excitement about participating for the first time in the long-popular Migratory Bird Calendar contest, sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Alaska.  

The day’s activities began with a discussion about migratory birds over hot cocoa while listening to locally made recordings of migratory song birds followed by a lesson on how to use bird identification books.  Students then learned about drawing with oil-pastels and spent the rest of the morning working on poster entries for the contest while exchanging stories about their personal experiences with birds.

The event was a success and provided an uncommon opportunity for these remote, home-schooled students to come together under one roof to share ideas, stories, laughter and fun. The students shared that they now feel a connection with rural students in other Alaska villages who also participate in the statewide contest.  The celebration's focus on migratory birds brought thoughts of spring and summer days to mind and warmed these hardy, northern students' hearts on so far the coldest day of the year!

Come Spring the Service will judge all the art and writing entries from more than 50 schools. Work of the state-wide winners will be published in the 2009 Migratory Bird Calendar.  For more information about the contest and participating refuges, see the Calendar Contest web page at http://alaska.fws.gov/external/education/about.htm.

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