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Youth Go North for Science on BLM Lands in Alaska

Go North for Science kids

It was a science camp like no other. Eight lucky teenagers, led by Fairbanks science teacher Carol Scott, recently completed a unique expedition up BLM-Alaska’s Dalton Highway Corridor to explore the subarctic and arctic ecosystems along part of the Dalton Highway.

The 414-mile, partly gravel highway bisects northern Alaska and provides the only road access across the Yukon River. The Dalton is no ordinary road, and neither were the challenges it presented to these students. They encountered mud, mosquitoes, and round-the-clock daylight -- which doesn’t make for easy sleeping in a tent! But they also experienced the magic of the Arctic as they set-up rustic camps at BLM’s Marion Creek and Galbraith Lake campgrounds. From there they set off to...

 bear spray trainingkids collecting GPS locations of swallow nest boxesKids collect snowshoe hare pellets for a long-term population studyKids create research transects on the vast tundraKids observe songbird capture and identification with a researcher
Practice non-lethal bear deterrentsInstall and collect GPS locations for swallow nest boxesCollect snowshoe hare pellets for a long-term population studyCreate research transects on the vast tundraObserve songbird capture and identification with a researcher

The BLM, the National Park Service, and cooperating partner Alaska Geographic Association sponsored this first-ever opportunity for local middle-school students to work alongside scientists performing research on BLM-managed lands in Alaska. A visit to the scientifically-renowned Toolik Field Station north of the Brooks Range introduced the students to the living quarters, lifestyles, and research projects for nearly 100 scientists that assemble there each summer from universities and research centers around the world.

“It is our hope that North for Science becomes a long-term program for local students in Fairbanks to learn about the vast region to their north. This unique program may even inspire a career or two in Alaska’s resource management”, says Karen Deatherage, BLM Interpretive Park Ranger.

—Karen Deathrage

All photos courtesy of Carol Scott

Last updated: 07-22-2016