By Janelle Eklund
One hundred thirty two 4th, 5th and 6th graders attended the fifth annual Wrangell Institute for Science and Environment Earth Discovery Day on May 2nd. Thanks goes again to Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve for hosting this annual event. Park superintendent, Meg Jensen, opened the day by welcoming students, teachers, parent chaperones, and volunteers. Students came from Copper River School District, Mentasta, SAPA, and Home School.
Fourth grade stations were taught by Arlene Rosenkrans and Andrea Hand from Resource Conservation and Development: “Don’t Dunk the Junk”; Ted Hesser from SAPA, Planetarium; Cory Schwanke from Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game, How Old is that Fish; and Karen Ottenbreit, Bird Treatment and Learning Center: Raptors, Hunters of the Sky with a Merlin Falcon.
Fifth grade stations were taught by Jessica Denny and Chantelle Pence, Mt. Sanford Tribal Consortium: Living Earth; Marnie Graham, Joe Hart, Adriane Honerlaw from Bureau of Land Management: “Where’s Waldo?” Map and Compass; Dave Wellman from WISE: Stories in Rock Crystals; Tom and Kelly Vandenberg, National Park Service: Name that Tune (bird call ID).
Sixth grade stations were taught by Mike Trimmer, Ak. Dept. of Forestry: Tree ID and Leaf Hunt Relay; Glenn Hart, National Park Service & Janelle Eklund, WISE: Leave No Trace; Doug Vollman, Kenny Lake Soil & Water Conservation District: Watershed/Enviroscape; DeAnn Sabol, Bird Treatment and Learning Center, Corvid Caching and Classification, Raven.
Teachers were given the standards that applied to each station and students were graded from the questions they answered in their “Passport” journals. Student comments at the end of the day confirmed, once again, that this event is successful for instilling a sense of stewardship for the earth. One student said they want to get a degree in fish biology. Among the numerous other comments were, they would “respect and save wildlife”, “can tell what things are in the forest”, “will use the info to become a WISE person”.
WISE would like to thank all the sponsors, presenters and their agencies/organizations, volunteers, teachers, parent chaperones, and coordinator, Lynn Grams. All of these people make this important event possible each year. A special thanks to our sponsors, Alaska Conservation Foundation, Conoco Phillips, Wells Fargo, Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve, and the WISE membership.
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.