Bob Abbey (far right) stands proudly with 50 new Americorps youth after swearing them in during a ceremony on June 1 at the Abbot Loop Community Park. Photo by Kim Mincer
Anchorage celebrated America’s Great Outdoors on June 1. BLM Director Bob Abbey came up for the event and hosted stakeholder meetings in Anchorage with state, local, and federal partners. He then traveled to Abbott Loop Community Park, located near the Campbell Tract Facility, and led a swearing-in ceremony for the Alaska Service Corps and Service Alaska Youth Corps (SAGA). He swore in 50 enthusiastic students and presented each with a signed certificate.
After the ceremony, the students and visitors enjoyed refreshments provided by the staff of the Campbell Creek Science Center and the Office of Communications. The students also had a great time visiting with Director Abbey and talking about their experiences in the Corps working on trails, fuels reduction and stream restoration activities. When commenting on the ceremony, Director Abbey stated, “It was inspiring to see so many young people dedicated to preserving Alaska’s beautiful natural resources, not only for this generation, but for future generations.”
Bob Abbey (far left) listens attentively as BLM’s stakeholders talk about ways to increase youth and public involvement in outdoor activities on public lands. Photo by Kim Mincer.
President Obama launched the America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) Initiative just over a year ago to encourage the American public to get involved in conservation and recreation activities on public lands. In support of AGO, The Department of the Interior has held a series of discussions and special events with stakeholders around the country highlighting the AGO initiative and how they can become involved. To learn more about AGO go to: http://americasgreatoutdoors.gov/
BLM-Alaska hosted and co-hosted several activities in support of the AGO initiative. Checkout the fun below:
Outdoor Week 2011
More than 1,400 sixth-graders attended the 37th annual Outdoor Week at the BLM Campbell Tract May 10-13. This event was sponsored through a partnership with the Anchorage School District. Presenters from 13 different organizations and agencies provided hands-on activities about bear safety, archaeology, weather, stream flow analysis, low-impact camping, dog mushing, bird identification, soils, outdoor survival skills, gold panning, fly-tying, and more. BLM-Alaska thanks the non-BLM presenters who contributed more than 740 hours of their time to make Outdoor Week a success. Outdoor Week provides an opportunity to connect today’s children with their natural environment—a crucial first step in developing happier, healthier children, and ultimately, better stewards of the land. The event helps promote natural resources careers and outdoor recreation.
|Several six-graders go for the gold, trying their luck at gold panning during Outdoor Week. Photo by Kim Mincer. ||Travis Beals and his dog team put on an educational mushing exhibition during Outdoor Week. Photo by Kim Mincer. ||BLM-Alaska employee Merlyn Schelske helps one of the youth participants perfect the art of fly tying. Photo by kim Mincer. |
Exploring the Boreal Forest at the Youth Environmental Summit
|Examining bugs kicked up from the river bed and collected in kicknets at Youth Environmental Summit. Photo by Rachel Stumpf. |
Working in partnership with Gakona Village, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Wrangell Institute for Science and Environment, and other local non-profits; the BLM Glennallen Field Office participated in the Youth Environmental Summit, an annual three day summit, to celebrate: “YES! The Boreal Forest is Wild”. In the spirit of this year’s theme, 5 th
grade youth learned about GPS photography and waypoints in a boreal forest as they hiked to the Tolsona Mud Volcanoes on June 1. On June 2 and 3, 1 st
grade youth enjoyed a boreal forest scavenger hunt, created a model miniature wild forest, collected and examined boreal forest bugs, and learned about the habitats of boreal forest animals. “What’s been really exciting”, says Marnie Graham, Public Affairs Specialist at GFO, “Is to work with the same kids since the summit and to see them actively using the knowledge they gained there.”
Taking Pride in America on National Trails Day
On June 4 over 60 volunteers of all ages gathered to celebrate the 18th anniversary of National Trails Day at the Campbell Creek Science Center. Volunteers completed several projects around the Campbell Tract facility, including resurfacing the Birch Meadow trail, performing maintenance on bike trails in Far North Bicentennial Park, pulling invasive weeds, and planting native plants and flowers that were grown in the Science Center Greenhouse. Volunteers also kicked off the beginning of the 2011 Naturalist Trailhead Program. After a free pizza lunch, the volunteers watched as State Director Bud Cribley released a short-eared owl back into the wild after successful rehabilitation by the Bird Treatment and Learning Center.
— June Lowery and Sheila Sine
|BLM-Alaska employees and youth volunteers freshen up the fences with a new coat of paint at the Smokejumper trailhead as a part of National Trails Day activities. Photo by Vanessa Rathbun. ||BLM Recreation Technician Bradley Johnson directs the Southeast Alaska Guidance Association (SAGA) trail crew and volunteers to “resurface” Birch Meadow Trail during National Trails Day. Photo by Vanessa Rathbun. ||State Director Bud Cribley releases a rehabilitated short-eared owl back into the wild during National Trails Day. Photo by Vanessa Rathbun. |