Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
AK PENINSULA/BECHAROF: Refuge's Second Annual Speaker Series Expands
Alaska Region, May 15, 2012
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Dr. Patricia Heiser speaks to students at Bristol Bay School in Naknek.
Dr. Patricia Heiser speaks to students at Bristol Bay School in Naknek. - Photo Credit: USFWS/Julia Pinnix

This winter’s Second Annual Speaker Series began in January and ended in May. A new method of expanding the audience for the series was tried, in cooperation with Lake and Peninsula Borough School District: schools were invited to tune in via the web.


The series kicked off with a showing of “Green Fire,” the first feature-length film about conservationist Aldo Leopold. Accompanying the film, Biologist Ron Britton and Visitor Services Manager Julia Pinnix presented overviews of the conservation work currently being done on our refuges.

In March, Dr. Patricia Heiser from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, described her research on post-Ice Age climate change. Dr. Heiser uses tree core samples for her study. She asks for anyone cutting trees in the area to contact her: she would very much like to have cross-sections of local spruce trees.

Dr. Heiser also appeared at Bristol Bay School in Naknek, where she spoke to students from grades 4-12. For Lake and Peninsula Borough schools, we tried a new approach. From the King Salmon L&P office, Matthew Stark arranged a web link for schools to participate. 9 schools connected for Dr. Heiser’s presentation on the post-glacial landscape of the Alaska Peninsula.

John Branson, historian for Lake Clark National Park, did 4 presentations in April. He began with a talk in our office conference room on John Clark. Many of Clark’s descendants live in the region. At the Bristol Bay School in Naknek, he shared the story of Dick Proenneke, who settled in what is today Lake Clark National Park. He adapted the same presentation for a web conference for the Lake and Peninsula Borough schools.

At an evening presentation at the Naknek Native Village Council, John showed film footage taken circa 1947 in this area. He asked audience members to share what they recognized in the film, from individuals to locations.

The final speaker in the series was Katmai National Park’s Whitney Rapp, who spoke in May. Whitney discussed invasive plant species, explaining what they are and what damage they can do. Her goal is to increase general awareness of problem plants so people can take action quickly, preventing small infestations from getting out of control.

Contact Info: Julia Pinnix, 907-246-1211, Julia_Pinnix@fws.gov
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