Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
KANUTI:: Fish dissections, nature medallions, and beading galore!
Alaska Region, January 19, 2017
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Allakaket Elders Kenneth and Elsie Bergman.
Allakaket Elders Kenneth and Elsie Bergman. - Photo Credit: Photo by Sheryl Reily
Students listens to stories shared by Allakaket Elder Pollock Simon.
Students listens to stories shared by Allakaket Elder Pollock Simon. - Photo Credit: USFWS
Wood medallions
Wood medallions - Photo Credit: Sheryl Reily
Students learn to sample chum salmon at the fish weir.
Students learn to sample chum salmon at the fish weir. - Photo Credit: USFWS

Six students from Allakaket and one student from Fairbanks gathered at the annual Henshaw Creek Science Camp located within Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge. Located approximately an hour upriver from Allakaket, this remote camp is a week-long outdoor immersion experience where U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff, local village elders, Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) staff, volunteers, and students come together to connect with nature, the refuge, and each other. Artist Sheryl Reily led art activities and participants were able to create and customize their own wooden medallion name tags. Yukon Koyukuk School District (YKSD) Language Coordinator Susan Paskvan led Koyukon Athabascan language lessons and games allowing students to connect with their native dialects. Environmental Education Specialist Allyssa Morris led lessons on the salmon life cycle as students peered behind their shoulders to observe spawning fish with their own eyes.


The highlight of the camp is when students are able to visit an active fish weir managed by TCC staff. Students are outfitted with waders and sample fish and collect data such as age, sex, and length. Later they learn to traditionally cut fish with help from their elders followed by fish dissections led by TCC biological technicians. Each night ended with stories around the campfire and beading sessions led by Allakaket Elder Elsie Bergman.

Since 2007, this science camp has become "a community event" that is anticipated and enjoyed each summer by village residents. It has become a critical component of outreach efforts at Kanuti Refuge and we hope to continue to inspire youth to better understand appreciate the refuge lands they call their own backyard.

Contact Info: Allyssa Morris, 907-456-0213, Allyssa_Morris@fws.gov
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