By Robin Mayo
WISE is taking our Science Lecture series online, with web-based presentations from a wide variety of experts. Although we will miss the camaraderie and personal experience of live lectures, there are some cool advantages to online events which we plan to enjoy.
First, we are not limited to presenters who are willing and able to make the trip to the Copper River Valley in winter. This has opened up a whole new set of people we can tap into, and it is exciting. Potential speakers do need to be willing to master the technology, but in 2020 everyone seems to be embracing this.
Similarly, our audience is no longer limited to those within driving distance. There is no such thing as a “central” location, no matter where a live lecture is held, it will too far for some. With online lectures, we can even invite participants from other areas. Because of this, we are scheduling most talks for 5pm to make them accessible for those in earlier time zones.
Here is what we have planned so far!
Friday, December 18 at 5pm--the Nelchina Caribou Herd with Heidi Hatcher. Heidi is the Glennallen Area Wildlife Biologist for Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and has a wealth of knowledge of this important subsistence resource. She’ll also explore some of the history of our relationship with caribou and reindeer, including their appearance in holiday traditions.
Friday, January 8 at 5pm—Bird Research in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, with Carol McIntyre and Jeremy Mizel. These two National Park Service researchers will share their research on Golden Eagles and songbirds.
Friday, January 15 at NOON—Fish Passage and Culvert Projects with Kate Morse. The Copper River Watershed Project has a variety of projects in the area, including a major culvert replacement at 74 mile Richardson Highway. Learn about their system for evaluating culverts, the dynamics of culvert replacement projects, and the significant impact on fish habitat.
Friday, February 5 at 5pm—Archaeology Discoveries on the shores of Ancient Lake Atna with NPS Archaeologist Lee Reininghaus. This is the first of a two-part series on recent archaeological discoveries in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, including some cool collaboration with geologists to identify likely sites.
Friday, February 12 at 5pm—The Excavation of NAB-533 with John White, Texas A&M University. This talk will zoom in on one of the most interesting recent sites found in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.
To attend any of these talks, please email email@example.com to request a link. We will be using a platform called Cisco WebEx, which is very similar to Zoom. You will need to download an app if you want to join by smartphone, and it is recommended that you log in a few minutes early, especially if it is your first WebEx meeting.
We are working on more lectures for the rest of the winter, and welcome suggestions for topics and speakers. Looking forward to seeing you on the screen and learning together!
Wolves and Bats and Passerines, Oh My! WISE Science Lectures focus on scientific research in Alaska’s National Parks
By Robin Mayo
When we think of our national parks, we tend to think of hiking and camping, beautiful vistas, and historic sites. But the National Park Service is also very involved in scientific research, with a dedication to learning about the areas they are charged with protecting.
In the next two months, WISE is excited to be hosting 3 visiting scientists from the National Park Service for our Science Lecture series. They will present research on Mesocarnivores, Bats, and Migratory Songbirds in our Alaska parks.
Kaija Klauder is a graduate student at Washington State University, and crew leader for the Mesocarnivore Research Project at Denali National Park and Preserve. On Friday, February 17th, at 7pm at the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Visitor Center, Kaija will give an illustrated talk on her research titled “Gifts of An Enemy: Scavenging Dynamics in the Presence of Wolves.” Mesocarnivores are mid-size animals such as coyotes and fox, which often scavenge on the kills of larger predators. The research centers on the complex interrelationships that exist among carnivores. Who scavenges, when and why? What implications does this have for the overall ecological relationship between carnivores?
A few weeks later, Paul Burger from the National Park Service Alaska Regional Office will give a talk on the fascinating subject of bats. This will be on Friday, March 3rd, at 7pm at Prince William Sound College Copper Basin Campus. Very little is known about Alaska’s bats, their abundance, distribution, and habitat. This talk will include general information about bats and their role in the landscape, and will describe efforts of researchers in Alaska’s national parks. Knowing their range is vital for determining how susceptible they may be to disease and changes in habitat.
The third lecture will explore “Critical Connections, Conservation of Migratory Birds in Alaska’s National Parks” on Friday, March 10th, at 7pm at the Frances Kibble Kenny Lake Public Library at mile 5 Edgerton Highway. Presenter Laura Phillips is an Ecologist at Denali National Park and Preserve, and leads a project which includes surveying migratory songbirds in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Migratory birds are influenced by conditions and events in more than one part of the world, including on their wintering areas that are often thousands of miles away from their protected breeding grounds.
Everyone is welcome to join us for these talks, which are always geared towards the interests of the general public, and family friendly. WISE is grateful to Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, which has provided funds to help support our Science Lecture Series for many years.
Kaija Klauder at a research site
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.