Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
KODIAK: Refuge Celebrates an Outstanding Year of Volunteer Support
Alaska Region, September 8, 2011
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Biology volunteer Deanna Russell holds a Kittlitz's murrelet chick.
Biology volunteer Deanna Russell holds a Kittlitz's murrelet chick. - Photo Credit: James Lawonn/USFWS
Student Conservation Association volunteer Liz Allard plays
Student Conservation Association volunteer Liz Allard plays "Fox & Vole" with a Salmon Camp participant. - Photo Credit: Lisa Hupp/USFWS
Envirothon volunteers Roxy Salcido and Blythe Brown wait for students at Forestry station.
Envirothon volunteers Roxy Salcido and Blythe Brown wait for students at Forestry station. - Photo Credit: Lisa Hupp/USFWS

Lashing rain and dark August skies didn’t keep people away from an evening of awards, tasty treats, and camaraderie at the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge annual Volunteer Appreciation event. As the Visitor Center filled with volunteers, friends, family, and Refuge staff, conversation swirled about the past field season, Refuge events, and local community news. Lisa Hupp, Refuge Volunteer Coordinator, presented highlights from the year, congratulated volunteers on their important contributions, and passed out certificates and gifts of appreciation.

2011 was a remarkable year for volunteers at KNWR; 143 people participated in a variety of projects that spanned nearly all Refuge activities. Several large events held at the Refuge Visitor Center throughout the year depended upon local volunteer support, from International Migratory Bird Day celebrations to the first ever Kodiak Trails Day event. Building on past year’s support by local natural resource management professionals, the Refuge also hosted the statewide Alaska Envirothon competition for High School students this year, an event that took months of planning and many hours of dedication by the 32 volunteers involved.

A record number of local volunteers also participated in the second year of a citizen science project monitoring avian productivity and survivorship (MAPS) of songbirds near the Buskin River headquarters; several volunteers became proficient at mist net and banding techniques, and will be in high demand for next year’s program. Throughout the winter, Kodiak volunteers lent their local knowledge to the downtown Visitor Center, acting as docents at the information desk and assisting staff in educational and interpretive projects.

In a year of complete turnover for the Refuge maintenance staff, two seasonal volunteers contributed hundreds of hours towards local and remote maintenance projects, improving Refuge infrastructure with their skill. Our four Student Conservation Association interns also consistently went above and beyond in their volunteer work this past summer – they implemented a complex environmental education curriculum for Salmon Camp, including visits to 5 remote villages on Kodiak Island, and staffed our information desk with high quality service for visitors.

This year also included a highly dedicated cohort of biology interns, selected from a nationwide competitive process over the winter. These ten individuals have contributed hundreds of hours assisting biological staff in the field; they spent much of their summer in isolated camps with few amenities, working long hours collecting and processing data on Mountain Goat ecology, Kodiak Brown Bear habitat, and the rare Kittlitz’s murrelet nesting ecology. Their hard work is indispensible to accomplishing our mission and goals.

2011 resulted in a record of volunteer hours contributed to the Kodiak Refuge, an estimated 17,432, or about the equivalent of eight full time positions! We are grateful for the support of so many wonderful people and look forward to the next year of working with volunteers for the purpose of conservation and education.

2011 Kodiak Volunteer Highlights
Contact Info: Lisa Hupp, 907-487-0285, Lisa_Hupp@fws.gov
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