Togiak National Wildlife Refuge is involved in many public outreach efforts. These activities are intended to educate the public about the refuge and its resources, provide opportunities for recreation, and foster support for the mission of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Bristol Bay Field Notes
Since March 2000, Togiak National Wildlife Refuge has produced a weekly radio show called Bristol Bay Field Notes for local radio station KDLG. Each Field Notes program is three to five minutes long and airs three times a week. Programs are geared toward the general public and are fairly non-technical in nature. Examples of topics include life history of local species, wildlife observation techniques, outdoor activities, topics of historical interest, management projects performed by the Service, and summaries of outdoor related activities and events from around the region. Education Specialist, Terry Fuller, is the host for the majority of the Field Notes programs. The program is well received by its wide-ranging audience of approximately 16,000 residents in 45 Alaskan villages throughout a listening area roughly the size of Ohio.
Public Bird Counts
Togiak Refuge organizes several public bird counts each year. Local bird watchers participate as "citizen scientists" to help us collect data.
Steel Shot Clinics
Nontoxic shot is required for hunting migratory birds in Alaska. It is a violation to have shells loaded with lead shot in personal possession while hunting migratory birds.
Steel shot clinics are held periodically throughout the region to encourage the use of this non-toxic shot and to educate hunters regarding proper load selection. Lead shot can poison waterfowl who ingest it, while steel shot will not, thus the use of the term "nontoxic." Togiak Refuge staff work cooperatively with other agencies to conduct these clinics, which illustrate how lead shot poisons waterfowl and allow hunters to practice shooting steel so they will be more likely to purchase it for their own use.
Learn more about steel shot from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game's website.
Public Open Houses and Events
Togiak National Wildlife Refuge hosts events for various occasions. Below are some of the events which have been held on a regular basis.
- National Fishing Week Activities
In an effort to help educate the public about fishing, Togiak Refuge has participated in a variety of activities over the years as part of National Fishing Week. These activities vary from year to year and in the past have include seminars for adults, clinics for local youth, fly-fishing clinics in villages, and visits to local classrooms.
- National Wildlife Refuge Week
As part of a national campaign to spread awareness to all Americans of the importance, uniqueness, mission, and history of the National Wildlife Refuge System, Togiak Refuge has sponsored a variety of activities for National Wildlife Refuge Week. We hope to motivate the public to become more involved in the enjoyment and protection of their National Wildlife Refuges.
- Beach Clean-Ups
Beach cleanups are often held to celebrate both International Coastal Cleanup Day and National Public Lands Day. Togiak Refuge coordinates with other interested parties to coordinate volunteers and clean up beaches and waterways.
Environmental Education Camps
Togiak National Wildlife Refuge, along with its cooperators, has sponsored three different environmental education camps for local students in the summers. These camps are based in remote locations, and are targeted toward high school or middle school-aged students. At most camps, elders from local villages are invited to attend and share their knowledge with students. Some of the goals of these camps are to increase students' basic biological knowledge, to expose students to the work of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and other land management agencies, to compare and contrast western science to traditional Yup'ik Eskimo knowledge, and to help students develop a sense of stewardship of the environment.
- Cape Peirce Marine Science and Yup'ik Culture Camp
This camp focuses on seabirds, marine mammals, and marine ecology. Students from local villages hike along scenic cliffs to view the animals in their natural environments.
- Caribou Ecology and Yup'ik Culture Camp
Students travel to the Nushagak Peninsula to study caribou, vegetation, and marine ecology. The Nushagak Peninsula is home to a caribou herd that was transplanted to Togiak Refuge in 1988. Students learn about caribou management as they assist biologists with radio tracking, and village elders share their knowledge of traditional Yup'ik uses of caribou.
- Bristol Bay Salmon Camp
Students from around Bristol Bay travel to Lake Aleknagik to study salmon biology, aquatic ecology, fisheries management, and the role of salmon in the ecosystem. Students experience hands-on field work under the guidance of experts, and participate in discussions with salmon research scientists, commercial fishery managers, and others.
- Summer Outdoor Skills and River Ecology Float Camp
This camp brings participants together for a wilderness float trip on Togiak National Wildlife Refuge. Students learn outdoor skills, become informed about wildlife management practices, and come to understand what brings visitors from around the world to their backyard.
- The public use programs of Togiak Refuge also contribute to community outreach by helping to educate recreational users and local people about opportunities and required practices within the refuge. In conjunction with these efforts, Togiak Refuge staff contact visitors to the refuge prior to their trips for a brief orientation. View an outline of the visitor orientation.
- Another avenue of outreach for Togiak Refuge is employing local people. There are internship and work study opportunities for students as well as a number of summer field positions and permanent positions which may be filled by local people. The specialized skills and knowledge local residents have can be an asset to the refuge, and working in these positions can be educational and exciting for locals as well. Visit our employment page for more information on the types of positions available, or contact us to learn more about how we recruit local people.
- Visit our education page for more information about outreach efforts in local schools.
Last updated: April 21, 2010