By Janelle Eklund
Copper River Native Association, Wrangell St. Elias National Park & Preserve (WRST), and Wrangell Institute for Science and Environment (WISE) teamed up to teach CRNA teens some winter survival skills on February 22. The teens enjoyed getting out on the ice at Pippin Lake to ice fish, make snow shelters and learn about caribou tracks.
Volunteer, Charles Nuipok taught the teens how to make fishing poles with diamond willow sticks, line and a hook. Armed with their new fishing poles they ventured out on the ice where holes were drilled. Scooping ice out of the holes revealed lots of tiny shrimp. WISE instructor, Paul Boos and WRST education specialist, Glenn Hart, explained how fish feed on these shrimp. The teens were excited and promptly abandoned the commercial bait for shrimp bait. Two separate layers of ice on the lake prevented the fishing lines from getting to the bottom but the fun of the learning experience was worthwhile.
Nuipok and WISE instructor, Janelle Eklund supervised the teens digging out a snow shelter on a couple of snow mounds that someone had conveniently placed nearby. Time ran out before the shelters were finished but the teens learned what it takes to build a shelter that will protect you from the weather.
Glenn Hart demonstrated what caribou tracks look like and explained the features of the hooves. The teens got to make “their own” caribou tracks and next time will be able to make casts of tracks in the snow.
Many of the teens had not been to Pippin Lake before and they enjoyed the day learning about winter skills.
Who We Are
WISEfriends are several writers connected with Wrangell Institute for Science and Environment, a nonprofit organization located in Alaska's Copper River Valley. Most of these articles originally appeared in our local newspaper, the Copper River Record.