Refuge Notebook

Tales of a Federal Wildlife Officer: Brown bears at Russian River

The opening of this year’s sockeye fishery at the Kenai/Russian River confluence brought reports of two yearling brown bear cubs making regular appearances along the… Continue reading

 

Refuge Notebook: Kenai fuel break will extend protection of communities

It’s no secret that wildfires play a significant ecological role in Alaska’s boreal forests, including those here on the western Kenai Peninsula. Everyone who drives… Continue reading

 

Student Julia Merculief in St. Paul, Alaska, explores refuge islands using virtual reality headsets. (Photo by Kendra Bush/USFWS)

Refuge notebook: Visiting remote refuge wilderness from a classroom desk

As the education specialist for the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, it is my job to bring the wonders of the refuge’s wildlife and awe-inspiring… Continue reading

 

Refuge Notebook: Aleutian Islands oddities can win bets

Want to win a beer bet? Ask someone the location of the most southerly point in Alaska. The answer isn’t in Southeast, near Ketchikan. Rather,… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: The roles of morels

While people have been taking advantage of the abundance of morels following last year’s Swan Lake Fire, I have been asked many questions about them.… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: Spruce beetles 2020

Spruce beetles are at it again. I am sad to see large trees in Soldotna with patches of missing bark that indicate woodpeckers are finding… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: One person’s trash is another’s artifact

Archaeology. OK, what was the first thing that came to your mind when you read that word? I hope it wasn’t Indiana Jones, or dinosaurs!… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: Learning to love the ‘sweat and shiver’ diet

Have you ever spent a weekend camping, maybe a long weekend, when the rain never seemed to quit? Where on the last day, all you… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: Forest morels: Year after fire brings rewards

2019 will be synonymous with wildland fire for most of the residents of the Kenai Peninsula, and as the details of date and time fade… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: Recreational safety after the Swan Lake Fire

Residents of the Kenai Peninsula are all too familiar with wildfire after the summer of 2019. Not only did the Swan Lake Fire burn for… Continue reading

Swan Lake Fire trails update

Last fall the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge was forced to close eight trails due to Swan Lake Fire activity. Through the fall, all eight trails… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: A helicopter’s role in wildland firefighting

A HECM, or helicopter crewmember, performs an essential role in ensuring the safety and success of aviation operations during a wildland fire. To manage wildland… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: Keeping an eye on birds

Around this time of year I start to include a pair of binoculars in my checklist of essentials for heading out the door on a… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: Migration is not canceled

A friend told me recently that March is her favorite month. What? Not May, when our birds of summer come home to nest? Nor June… Continue reading

Crested auklets are just one of 30 species of seabirds that we study, but theyղe one of the strangest with their otherworldy eyes, showgirl plumes and tangerine odor. The citrus odor may be important for repelling pests. (Photo by Michael Johns/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Introducing Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge

We’ve probably already met, but you didn’t realize it. We’re the other national wildlife refuge headquartered on the Kenai Peninsula. If you’ve taken a Kenai… Continue reading

Crested auklets are just one of 30 species of seabirds that we study, but theyղe one of the strangest with their otherworldy eyes, showgirl plumes and tangerine odor. The citrus odor may be important for repelling pests. (Photo by Michael Johns/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Birds of the World resource wows

Recently a friend asked me for information about spruce grouse. I am sure he saw the slight look of panic as I thought about what… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: Metabarcoding in our backyard

I like low key, low tech, cheap science. That is part of why I became an entomologist. I love that I can walk out the… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: I Think I Can Ski

Let us start with a riddle. There are 11 frogs sitting on a log. Five of the frogs decide to jump off the log. How… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: Ice fishing the Swanson River Road area lakes

Winter is my favorite season here on the Kenai Peninsula. Everything is slower, quieter. You can just sense that the energy is calmer than the… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: Completion of the Sterling Highway Improvements Project

As anyone visiting the Skilak Lake Wildlife Recreation Area or traveling between the Kenai Peninsula and Anchorage knows, construction has been underway on the Sterling… Continue reading