Sam Schimmel demonstrates how to carve ivory in a modern way on Friday, July 6, at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center, near Soldotna, Alaska. Schimmel, who is originally from St. Lawerence Island, Alaska, said that cutting ivory traditionally required a sharpened baleen knife. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Sam Schimmel demonstrates how to carve ivory in a modern way on Friday, July 6, at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center, near Soldotna, Alaska. Schimmel, who is originally from St. Lawerence Island, Alaska, said that cutting ivory traditionally required a sharpened baleen knife. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge hosts cultural heritage workshops

Traditional beadwork, storytelling, fish processing and a tutorial on how to harvest local plants are just some of the cultural heritage workshops the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge will be hosting through the month of July.

“These are all really effective ways of connecting the visitor to the land,” Leah Eskelin, visitor services park ranger, said.

The programs will include guests from the Kenaitze Indian Tribe and skilled artisans from around the area.

“The Kenaitze Tribe are key partners that have a lot of connections to highlight what’s special about this land to generations,” Eskelin said.

July 17-21 is Fish Week and the events will be hands-on. Visitors will learn about fish, including their anatomy and biology and how to catch and clean them.

“We pretty much cover everything you can imagine about fish,” Eskelin said. “We’ve always done fish related programs but not like this.”

Eskelin said she hopes to increase awareness about food waste.

“There’s always this question about what we do with last years fish,” Eskelin said. “To not be wasteful, you can process it by canning and smoking it.”

Eskelin said that dog mushing heritage will also be a part of Fish Week.

“It’s intertwined,” Eskelin said. “Fish is a huge part of feeding those teams.”

The workshops are all free and kid-friendly, with the exception of the adult beadwork class, on July 13.

The next workshop is storytelling. Participants can listen to traditional stories from the area that have been passed down through generations. The workshop is at 2 p.m., Thursday, July 12.

The adult beading workshop will teach students how to craft a small project using traditional designs at 1 p.m., Friday, July 13.

For Fish Week, activities will be held throughout the day, and Eskelin said the schedule for the week is still in the works. Updates will be posted to the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge’s Facebook page.

A guided traditional plant use walk will take place at 2 p.m., Friday, July 27.

A hands-on “Harvesting the Kenai” workshop will take place at 2 p.m., Saturday, July 28.

Reach Victoria Petersen at vpetersen@peninsulaclarion.com.

An ivory owl figurine made by Sam Schimmel is used as an example during his ivory carving demonstration at the first workshop of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge’s cultural heritage series on Friday, July 6, at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center, near Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

An ivory owl figurine made by Sam Schimmel is used as an example during his ivory carving demonstration at the first workshop of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge’s cultural heritage series on Friday, July 6, at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center, near Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

More in News

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Soldotna man dead after Nikiski collision

The Kenai Spur Highway was closed for around four hours.

Copies of the Peninsula Clarion are photographed on Friday, June 21, 2024. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Announcing a new Peninsula Clarion print schedule

Our last Wednesday edition will be delivered June 26.

A bucket of recently caught sockeye salmon rests on the sand while anglers seek to fill it further at the mouth of the Kasilof River on Monday, June 26, 2023, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Dipnetting in Kasilof opens Tuesday

Dipnetting will be allowed at all times until Aug. 7

The Kasilof River is seen from the Kasilof River Recreation Area, July 30, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Fish and Game restricts bait on Kasilof, Ninilchik Rivers

The use of bait on the rivers will begin Friday and extend to July 15 in Ninilchik, July 31 in Kasilof

A man fishes in the Kenai River on July 16, 2018, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Peninsula Clarion/file)
Slow sockeye fishing on Kenai, Russian Rivers

Northern Kenai Fishing Report for June 20

Alaska Department of Fish and Game logo. (Graphic by Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Bag limits doubled for sockeye salmon in Resurrection Bay

The increase is effective from June 21 to July 31

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Girl Scout Troop 210, which includes Caitlyn Eskelin, Emma Hindman, Kadie Newkirk and Lyberty Stockman, present their “Bucket Trees” to a panel of judges in the 34th Annual Caring for the Kenai Competition at Kenai Central High School on Thursday, April 18.
Caring for the Kenai winners receive EPA award

Winning team of the 34th annual Caring for the Kenai was selected for the President’s Environmental Youth Award

Most Read