Refuge Notebook

Example of a culvert blocked by natural materials on Port Graham Road. (Photo by Sarah Apsens/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Connecting fish and community to resources in Port Graham

Streams that baby salmon live in provide shelter from predators, food and conditions for optimal growth

 

A snowmachine at rest in front of the Snag Lake public use cabin. (Photo by credit Scott Slavick/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Preparedness is key to staying safe in the backcountry

If you spend any time in the backcountry, it’s bound to happen: an ankle sprain halfway into a day hike; afternoon wind unexpectedly turns a… Continue reading

 

The bronze statue depicting a "giant Kenai Moose" of the early "19s" stands to welcome present-day guests to the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Marking 82 years in the great flow of past, present and future on the Kenai

Whether they were pulling my leg or not, a couple of years ago, my kids started asking me questions like, “Mom, did you have phones… Continue reading

 

Young samplings are better than a muffin to this moose on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo by Colin Canterbury/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: We stand on the shoulders of giant moose

This story starts 2,500 miles southeast as the raven flies from Kenai National Wildlife Refuge to the heart of the Weminuche Wilderness in the southern… Continue reading

Young samplings are better than a muffin to this moose on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo by Colin Canterbury/USFWS)
Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges volunteer Beth Sullivan surveys for the invasive plant elodea at Campfire Lake on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on Aug. 30, 2023. Here she pulled up a rake full of star duckweed (Lemna trisulca). (Photo by Matt Bowser/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Deja vu and something new — Probing Kenai Peninsula lakes for invasive species

We had been here before. Agencies, nongovernment organizations and community members had all taken part in an effort to remove invasive northern pike and elodea… Continue reading

Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges volunteer Beth Sullivan surveys for the invasive plant elodea at Campfire Lake on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on Aug. 30, 2023. Here she pulled up a rake full of star duckweed (Lemna trisulca). (Photo by Matt Bowser/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)
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)
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)
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)
Riding out to explore a barrier reef. (Photo by Mark Laker/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: The benefits of being a naturalist

Looking at the 2-plus feet of snow on my deck, I can’t help thinking about my opportunity to visit Fiji this past summer. Since I… Continue reading

Riding out to explore a barrier reef. (Photo by Mark Laker/USFWS)