Peninsula Clarion Contributor

The intertidal pseudoscorpion (Halobisium occidentale) is the second species of pseudoscorpion to be documented on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo courtesy USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Happy Halloween — A look back at Alaska’s smallest sea monster

Editor’s note: This article first appeared on June 15th, 2017, and is reprinted with minor edits. Lurking in some of Alaska’s woods, swamps and rocky… Continue reading

The intertidal pseudoscorpion (Halobisium occidentale) is the second species of pseudoscorpion to be documented on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo courtesy USFWS)
The banded Annaճ hummingbird is being released and flew away seconds after the photo was taken. (Photo by T. Eskelin, USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Tales of the traveling hummingbird

In the book “A Sand County Almanac,” Aldo Leopold wrote, “To band a bird is to hold a ticket in a great lottery. Most of… Continue reading

The banded Annaճ hummingbird is being released and flew away seconds after the photo was taken. (Photo by T. Eskelin, USFWS)
A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service volunteer intern collects data in the Alpine. (Photo by Jackie Morton/FWS)

Refuge Notebook: Inspired by the impossible

A few weeks ago, a mentor, Dr. Maurice Hornocker, reminded a roomful of us why we chose to be wildlife biologists. He captured it all… Continue reading

A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service volunteer intern collects data in the Alpine. (Photo by Jackie Morton/FWS)
Kena Central running back William Wilson moves for a gain during a 14-13 loss to Houston on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023, in Houston. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)

Houston football nips Kenai

HOUSTON — Late in the third quarter, the Houston Hawks held a two-score lead and were pitching a shutout. And then Kenai Central made things… Continue reading

Kena Central running back William Wilson moves for a gain during a 14-13 loss to Houston on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023, in Houston. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)
Ryan Chen lopping seasonal growth at a vista on Emma Lake Trail during a weeklong camping trip. (Photo by Shea Imgarten)

Refuge Notebook: That’s a rap — YCC leaves a trace on refuge’s legacy

They’re everywhere: a munched branch on the trail, muddy boot prints in the house, the rippling of water after a floatplane takes off. All of… Continue reading

Ryan Chen lopping seasonal growth at a vista on Emma Lake Trail during a weeklong camping trip. (Photo by Shea Imgarten)
A close-up view of spruce tip rust on spruce tips on the Kenai Peninsula. (Photo by USFWS/Kris Inman)

Refuge Notebook: Another big year for spruce tip rust

Much like 2018, the orange tips of young spruce trees are catching people’s attention and reminded me of 2018 when a co-worker asked, “What is… Continue reading

A close-up view of spruce tip rust on spruce tips on the Kenai Peninsula. (Photo by USFWS/Kris Inman)
A beautiful stop along Skyline Trail on the way to collect vegetation surveys in the Swan Lake Fire. (Photo by USFWS/Jackie Morton)

Refuge Notebook: Wild and free — My summer as an intern in Alaska

Dozens of Dall sheep pellets pelted my face like hail on a windshield. A celebratory selfie, finished off with “confetti” after a long day of… Continue reading

A beautiful stop along Skyline Trail on the way to collect vegetation surveys in the Swan Lake Fire. (Photo by USFWS/Jackie Morton)
A brown bear cub "catches" a salmon carcass. (Photo by C. Canterbury/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Keeping it wild while fishing, camping on Refuge

Sliding one foot in front of another, we crossed the Russian River; our quest for the day was not fishing but checking on terrestrial invasive… Continue reading

A brown bear cub "catches" a salmon carcass. (Photo by C. Canterbury/USFWS)
Kuviak Lake in the Swanson River Canoe System. (Photo by Matt Bowser)

Discover the allure of canoeing opportunities on the refuge

Imagine embarking on a journey through the untouched wilderness of Alaska, gliding along pristine waterways, surrounded by breathtaking landscapes and abundant wildlife. Perhaps you’ll witness… Continue reading

Kuviak Lake in the Swanson River Canoe System. (Photo by Matt Bowser)
An adult male mountain goat with GPS radio collar shortly after release. (Photo by Dom Watts/FWS)

Refuge Notebook: Studies investigate mountain goat movements, habitats

Earlier this winter, when looking out the window of the SuperCub at ridgelines covered in 4 feet of snow, it was difficult to imagine how… Continue reading

An adult male mountain goat with GPS radio collar shortly after release. (Photo by Dom Watts/FWS)
Springtime baby moose. (Tim Bowman/ADF&G)

Refuge Notebook: Wildlife facts and safety tips for summer

Spring officially began March 20, despite the weather. Wildlife unseen for months will return with the sun, bears emerge from dens, and young of every… Continue reading

Springtime baby moose. (Tim Bowman/ADF&G)
An orange-crowned warbler is one of the bird species that likes to nest in slash and wood piles. (Photo by Colin Canterbury/FWS)

Refuge Notebook: Nesting birds can use your help

Editor’s note: This article has been slightly updated from the original version that ran on April 22, 2022. Yes, it’s that time of year again,… Continue reading

An orange-crowned warbler is one of the bird species that likes to nest in slash and wood piles. (Photo by Colin Canterbury/FWS)
A moose cow and calf walking toward a wildlife crossing structure. (Photo by C. Canterbury/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: New technology increases efficiency of refuge cameras

When you first become interested in the world of biology, wildlife biology in particular, you never picture yourself sitting at the computer. But the reality… Continue reading

A moose cow and calf walking toward a wildlife crossing structure. (Photo by C. Canterbury/USFWS)
The Engineer Lake Public Use Cabin, a favorite cabin to enjoy on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo by USFWS/Dan Saxton)

Refuge Notebook: A winter’s night among the stars, wolves of the refuge

“Did you hear that?” I said to my wife and our young son as a lone wolf’s call echoed from the western hills above Engineer… Continue reading

The Engineer Lake Public Use Cabin, a favorite cabin to enjoy on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo by USFWS/Dan Saxton)
A bog lemming travels through a tube that mimics natural tunnels and captures remote videos and genetic samples to identify this species from its small mammal cousins. (Photo provided)

Refuge Notebook: Our little-known glacial relict

When I think about the Pleistocene, my mind naturally wanders to the large charismatic megafauna that dominated this period from 2.58 million to 11,700 years… Continue reading

A bog lemming travels through a tube that mimics natural tunnels and captures remote videos and genetic samples to identify this species from its small mammal cousins. (Photo provided)
A beaver coasts by in search of the perfect stick for a dam repair. (Photo by C. Canterbury, USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: More research needed to determine beavers’ impact on landscape

Do you ever stare at a map and wonder what that seemingly amazing place looks like in real life? Staring at the contours and colors… Continue reading

A beaver coasts by in search of the perfect stick for a dam repair. (Photo by C. Canterbury, USFWS)
Nature-based solutions like conserving peatlands and encouraging beaver in the right places and times are promising tools for ensuring abundant cool waters for fish and people. (Photo by C. Canterbury/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Water is life

When you think of Alaska and wildlife, the image of waters teeming with the bright red colors of salmon and brown bears fishing for them… Continue reading

Nature-based solutions like conserving peatlands and encouraging beaver in the right places and times are promising tools for ensuring abundant cool waters for fish and people. (Photo by C. Canterbury/USFWS)
Snowshoers talk with Ranger Leah Eskelin during a December snowshoe walk at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.  (Photo by Catie Shelden)

Refuge Notebook: Take it from the hare, snowshoes are the way to go!

The holidays are behind us, but there is still a whole lot of winter ahead. I love the rush and excitement of the early winter… Continue reading

Snowshoers talk with Ranger Leah Eskelin during a December snowshoe walk at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.  (Photo by Catie Shelden)
Sunset views of snow-covered Kenai Mountains and the far eastern section of Skilak Lake. (Photo by Lisa Hupp/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Changing winters bring new conservation challenges

Like most everyone here in Southcentral Alaska, much of my leisure time and a good bit of my otherwise normally encumbered time during the last… Continue reading

Sunset views of snow-covered Kenai Mountains and the far eastern section of Skilak Lake. (Photo by Lisa Hupp/USFWS)
The snowshoelike feet of the lynx makes it well suited for traveling over snow. (Photo by Lisa Hupp/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Snow — good or bad for wildlife? It depends

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas and has been since the big storm that arrived a few weeks ago, dumping between 2 and… Continue reading

The snowshoelike feet of the lynx makes it well suited for traveling over snow. (Photo by Lisa Hupp/USFWS)