October 17, 2018
National Wildlife Refuge Week, observed the second full week of October each year, celebrates the great network of lands and waters that conserves and protects Americans’ precious wildlife heritage for present and future generations. Here are events and stories from around Alaska's 16 National Wildlife Refuges.
September 25, 2018
The elders in Point Lay, a small Inupiaq village in the northwest reaches of Alaska, remember a time when the Arctic sea ice and the animals that depend on it followed reliable patterns. In particular, they tell of a time when only a handful of Pacific walruses visited the shores of the barrier island just beyond their community.
In recent years, what was once true is no longer. Thousands of Pacific walruses now show up, raising concerns and sparking a community-wide effort to help the massive marine mammal survive in a dramatically changing environment. Read more...
September 20, 2018
Every year, thousands of birds fly to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for the summer to breed, brood, and rest. More than 200 species make this journey. For the first time ever, on September 24-28, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and partners take you deep into the nation’s largest refuge, one of the most important sites for birds anywhere on the planet, for a virtual bird festival to celebrate these intrepid travelers.
September 13, 2018
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game formally apologized to Alaska Native peoples Thursday, September 13, 2018. The apology recognizes hardships Alaska Native families experienced from implementation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in the 1960s and 70s. "This moment ... can bring healing, and healing is what needs to happen for Natives throughout the State," said Gayla Hoseth, AMBCC Native Caucus Co-Chair and Bristol Bay Regional Advisory Committee Representative. Council members honored many Alaska Native leaders who worked to change the Act during the ceremony. The apology was presented to the Alaska Migratory Bird Co-Management Council at their fall meeting by USFWS Regional Director Greg Siekaniec and Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten.
August 8, 2018
Beginning in May 2018, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) began receiving reports of dead and dying seabirds from the northern Bering and southern Chukchi seas. This event continues and now includes the Pribilof Islands and the northern Gulf of Alaska. Coastal communities have counted hundreds of dead seabirds that include: murres, fulmars, shearwaters, kittiwakes, auklets, and puffins.
The USFWS is coordinating with a team to collect reports and monitor several beaches. It is important to continue to track this event as it unfolds. The public is requested to report observations of sick or dead birds to USFWS at 1-866-527-3358, or to local regional contacts listed in the USFWS fact sheet distributed in August 2018.
July 24, 2018
Making a home for people and wildlife. These natural places sustain our communities and contribute to the health and well-being of families. Nature’s Good Neighbors is a series of stories highlighting people who depend on the land as much as the land depends on them. Working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conserve and restore wildlife habitat for future generations, these modern-day stewards are working with nature to make a home for people and wildlife. Read the Alaska stories below from Sandy Jamieson an adventurious Alaskan who retires after forty years guiding on Arctic National Wildlife Refuge or the elders from Point Lay who remember a time when the Arctic sea ice and the animals that depend on it followed reliable patterns.
July 10, 2018
Between now and National Wildlife Refuges Week in October we'll be developing the “Alaska National Wildlife Refuges Playlist" – a showcase of epic public recreation opportunities on our 16 refuges. Similar to the magazine-style bucket lists you see in magazines, the trips in our Playlist will help inspire and connect people to our magnificent places and wildlife. The first six are out now and we will be promoting and displaying them in different ways in the coming weeks.
We'll also be developing feature stories on Alaskans and others who have led adventurous lives on the land, like this one which tells the story of Sandy Jamieson, a hunting guide who operated on Arctic Refuge for over forty years, and is now retiring: Read more
June 22, 2018
For nearly a decade, John Tobin and his staff have provided critical support to the Service's Chukchi Sea polar bear research program. By helping coordinate shipping of capture gear to the mine, providing accommodations for our staff, and troubleshooting any issues that arise during the capture season, Tobin and his team have always been willing to assist in our research needs. Tobin's commitment to our research program has enabled us to collect invaluable information on bears in the Chukchi Sea, including polar bear ecology and how the animals are responding to sea ice loss. The research Tobin has supported allowed for the first estimate of the population's size in over two decades, which is critically needed to inform sustainable levels of subsistence harvest in the region. Additionally, the information gained on polar bear habitat use in the Chukchi Sea will be vital for ensuring that offshore activities can be conducted with minimal impacts to the population.
Commemorating the Battle of Attu
May 2018 marks the 75th anniversary of the battles of Attu. The Service and partners are commemorating the Battle of Attu, World War II in the Aleutians, and the sacrifices of the Alaska Native Unangax^ people. Attu has gone full circle from national wildlife refuge before the war, to battlefield, and now it's back to birds - providing wildlife habitat as part of Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. Working together to heal the land, fish and wildlife; veterans, survivors, and descendants can heal by connecting to nature and families can heal by telling their stories.
May 7, 2018
The Northwest Boreal Lynx Project is investigating the long distance movements of Canada lynx in relation to the 10-year snowshoe hare cycle. Lynx can and do move very LONG distances. An adult lynx can travel close to 1000 miles, swimming mighty rivers and climbing many mountains. They travel from Alaska all the way across Yukon Territory to Northwest Territories in Canada before deciding to return to Yukon. Why did they leave Alaska? How did they cross these mountains and rivers? What landscape features do they prefer? Where will they go next? These are all questions we hope to begin to answer.
May 1, 2018
There are a few things in life that connect us all---one of those things is food. People across the state and employees of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Alaska generously share their experience harvesting, preparing and eating wild foods through stories, photos, and special recipes.
April 12, 2018
The Alaska Migratory Bird Calendar Contest is a state-wide poster and literature competition. The purpose of the contest is to encourage local students to learn about bird conservation. K-12 students (public, private or home-schooled) residing in or adjacent to the North Slope Borough and the following National Wildlife Refuges: Yukon Delta, Togiak, Izembek, Alaska Maritime, Alaska Peninsula/Becharof, Selawik, Innoko, Tetlin, Kodiak, Koyukuk/Nowitna/Innoko. Thank you to eveyone that participated and assisted in this years competion for the 2019 calendar. Read more
April 3, 2018
Congratulations to Audrey Schick, 17, of Thunder Mountain High School in Juneau, who took top honors in the 2018 Alaska Junior Duck Stamp Contest with a painting of a canvasback duck. A panel of five judges chose Audrey’s artwork out of the 196 entries from across the state to represent Alaska in the National Junior Duck Stamp Contest that will be held on April 20 in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Conservation Message went to Grant Pierson, 13, also of Thunder Mountain High School in Juneau, for this thoughtful words “Conservation is like cleaning a room, it’s easier than you think and it has to get done.”
For complete contest results visit Junior Duckstamp Conservation Program
Last updated: October 2018
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