The Innoko National Wildlife Refuge staff are available to answer questions concerning the local environment, wildlife, refuge resources and refuge management.
Innoko Refuge staff provide needed materials to teachers; work with students; give presentations; provide information on contests such as the Waterfowl Calendar and the Jr. Duck Stamp; coordinate wildlife week events in April with the local schools; conduct a Science Camp in August with the Iditarod Area School District; and host open house events in October to celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week.
The Innoko Refuge has a large selection of books, videos, curricula, kits and activities geared towards natural resources, the environment and wildlife. This resource library is available to teachers and parents who are home-schooling their children. Items may be checked out for a specific period of time. An advance notice may be required for some of the more popular items.
National Wildlife Week/Earth Day Activities
The Innoko Refuge staff work with the Iditarod School district staff to present a special week-long focus on wildlife and environmental issues. This effort normally occurs during National Wildlife Week and Earth Day in mid-April. Staff work with teachers and students to present a variety topics and to provide special guests including live birds from the Bird Treatment and Learning Center.
Round Mountain Science Camp
Innoko Refuge, along with the Iditarod Area School District and other cooperators, sponsors an environmental education camp at the Round Mountain site located southwest of McGrath. The science camp targets students going into the 10th and 11th grades. Please contact the refuge for an application. Applications will be accepted from now until June 30, 2010, and the camp dates are (approximately) July 25 - 31, 2010. Goals of the camp are to increase students' basic biological knowledge and sense of stewardship of the environment. Elders from local villages are invited to share their knowledge with the students. The staff works with the students and school district to obtain science credits. Past camp topics have included small mammal trapping, fire management, elder stories, fish dissection, water sampling, orienteering, first aid, CPR, kayaking, nature artwork, journal writing, berry picking and preserving.
Alaska Waterfowl Calendar Contest
Each year the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in cooperation with other organizations, produces a calendar with a message of goose and waterfowl conservation. The calendar also highlights information from elders in the communities. A statewide contest is held to select artwork and writings from students. A goal of the calendar is to encourage students to learn about the wildlife found near their homes and to promote conservation of waterfowl. In the past the calendar has highlighted endangered waterfowl and species of concern including the emperor goose, black brant, spectacled and Steller’s eider. Typically entries for the following year’s calendar are requested by the first Friday in February. Applications, entry information and past winners are available from participating refuges and the Alaska Waterfowl Calendar Contest web page.
Jr. Duck Stamp Contest
The Jr. Duck Stamp Contest is a national contest that uses student art to produce a stamp that is then sold to collectors to generate funds for conservation education awards. It is an art and science curriculum developed to teach environmental science and habitat conservation. Participants select a species of North American waterfowl, do research on the species and its habitat, then use an artistic medium to portray the waterfowl. Students from K through 12 are eligible for the contest including those who are home schooled. Awards are given to students by grade groups, then a Best of Show is selected for the state. The Alaska Best of Show winner then goes to the National competition in Washington, D.C. Applications, entry information and past winners are available from participating refuges and the Jr. Duck Stamp Contest web page.
National Wildlife Refuge Week
Usually held during a week in mid-October, National Wildlife Refuge Week was established to increase public awareness of the refuge system. The Innoko Refuge usually celebrates this week with a public open house where the community can meet Refuge staff, obtain information on Refuge projects and join the staff in a light meal.
Alaska Natural History Association
The Innoko Refuge office has a branch of the Alaska Geographic. The ANHA office sells books, topographic maps, t-shirts and other items and donates some of the proceeds to events such as the National Wildlife Week.