Refuge Notebook

Refuge notebook: Taking the wild out of wildlife

I find this a little depressing. A 2018 study published by the National Academy of Sciences estimates that by weight, 70% of all birds on… Continue reading

 

Graduate student Sue Ives used this portable acrylic chamber with an infrared gas analyzer to measure carbon flow in a peatland on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo provided by the refuge)

Refuge notebook: Healthy peatlands store carbon and help salmon

After this last summer’s lightning, fires and long drought, it should be obvious that our local climate is becoming warmer and drier than longtime residents… Continue reading

 

A brave volunteer dressed up in a bat costume to help peers visualize the anatomy of a bat resulted in an unusual question. (Photo provided by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Refuge notebook: No silly questions

“Why don’t bats get dizzy from hanging upside down?” A second grade student at Tustumena Elementary School posed this excellent question to me. I stood… Continue reading

 

This adult male Bobolink was singing and displaying in a distant field near Homer, Alaska. With the aid of a 500mm lens, astute birders documented the first occurrence of this species on the Kenai Peninsula. (Photo by Sarah Dzielski)

Refuge Notebook: The Future of the Bobolink

June 23, 2019 started as almost every other day this summer. Hot, dry weather dominated from Hope to Seldovia. It was, however, unique in the… Continue reading

This adult male Bobolink was singing and displaying in a distant field near Homer, Alaska. With the aid of a 500mm lens, astute birders documented the first occurrence of this species on the Kenai Peninsula. (Photo by Sarah Dzielski)

Refuge notebook: Kenai refuge cabins are again open for business

As a relatively new parent, my appreciation of the proverb that begins with, “It takes a village,” seems to grow with each passing day. This… Continue reading

Refuge notebook: New fall colors include hummingbirds

In a day and age where social media seems to dominate and not always for the best reasons, I recently had the most positive outcome… Continue reading

Refuge notebook: More elodea found on Kenai refuge

When we first found elodea on the Kenai Peninsula seven years ago, partners in the Kenai Peninsula Cooperative Weed Management Area didn’t really have any… Continue reading

Refuge notebook: The porcupine — an underappreciated creature

Sauntering my way, the animal halted and gazed in my direction. It appeared uncertain about my status. Was I a threat? Or, was I anything… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: The Swan Lake Fire and wildlife

This summer brought one of the hottest and driest summers ever recorded on the Kenai. Large areas dominated by black spruce, hot temperatures, and dry… Continue reading

Refuge notebook: Why are the birch trees brown?

I was working out Swan Lake Road last month when I noticed that entire stands of birch trees looked odd. The leaves almost appeared to… Continue reading

Refuge notebook: Storks in Poland are example of cultural wildlife conservation

This last month I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Poland with my family. The trip was organized by my father-in-law, Henry, who lived… Continue reading

Refuge notebook: Lightning on the Kenai Peninsula

I’ve been saying “Wow” a lot lately. A week ago, on Aug. 13, 48 lightning discharges occurred within 300 miles of the North Pole! The… Continue reading

Coming into the Country: Ticks

While on a family vacation to Florida this spring we took a short walk through a lush, beautiful forest in Faver-Dykes State Park near Pellicer… Continue reading

Refuge notebook: The difference between predicting climate change and its ecological outcomes

The University of Alaska Fairbanks has a great online climate forecasting tool. Simply type in a town, the future decade(s), an emission scenario and voila… Continue reading

Refuge notebook: Rethinking nonnative species in a human-driven world

Wow. In the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s 2019-2020 hunting regulations, mule deer and white-tailed deer can now be harvested. These two nonnative species… Continue reading

Refuge notebook: Rising estuary still provides great bird habitats

What happens when the largest estuary on the Kenai Peninsula suddenly drops 2.3 meters in elevation and then rises slowly over the next half century?… Continue reading

Refuge notebook: The many faces of the Swan Lake Fire

The smoke hung low in the valley as we walked down a dozer line to its end where a clearing had been created. Just weeks… Continue reading

Refuge notebook: Elodea still a threat to salmon in Alaska

The commercial harvest of the five salmon species in Alaska was worth $586 million to fishermen in 2018. More than half of those gross earnings… Continue reading

What costs wood frogs an arm and a leg?

I was surprised to learn that despite the diverse wildlife in Alaska, the state has not a single reptile. Alaska’s cold conditions make life in… Continue reading

The white “petals” of bunchberry are really modified bracts that attract pollinators. (Photo provided by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Refuge notebook: A common little plant with uncommon traits

This summer, I traveled from the East Coast to the Kenai Peninsula to intern with the biology program at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. As… Continue reading

The white “petals” of bunchberry are really modified bracts that attract pollinators. (Photo provided by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)
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