Do you know where the Pribilof Islands are?
The Pribilof Islands are a group of four islands located off the coast of mainland Alaska in the Bering Sea – Saint Paul, Saint George, Otter Islet, and Walrus Islet. The islands have a combined population of about 600 people, with the population concentrated in the towns of St. Paul and St. George. The islands, which are part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, are home to numerous wildlife species such as arctic blue fox and reindeer – and in the surrounding waters: fur seals, sea lions, several species of whales, and more. The islands are especially known for the important habitat they provide for nesting seabirds who enjoy the high cliff walls and plentiful rocky formations. It is estimated that two million seabirds nest on these islands annually!
In order to teach the youth of Pribilof Islands about the seabirds of their islands, Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge works with the Pribilof School District and a range of other partners to coordinate the Seabird Youth Network, which hosts summer science camps for local youth. The Network was launched to open doors for youth to careers in science and natural resource management and to increase the students’ understanding of their local natural resources, as well as to build local capacity for the collection of seabird monitoring data on these special islands.
The Seabird Youth Network recently hosted the St. George Seabird Camp where students learned seabird biology basics and had the opportunity to assist with hands-on research efforts by helping to collect Least Auklet diet samples and by using GPS loggers to record where seabirds go to find their food. Overall the students gained a better understand of the Refuge’s long-term seabird monitoring program while having a lot of fun!
Currently, the St. Paul Seabird Camp is taking place. Students are attending wildlife photography workshops, writing letters and completing art projects to send to friends on nearby islands, and they’re learning Aleut language as well as the cultural use of seabirds through hands-on cooking lessons and a student-led theater production.
The Seabird Youth Network website is updated with blog posts about these fun, educational camps! Check out the blog here: http://seabirdyouth.org/our-blog/
Check out the Seabird Youth Network on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Seabird-Youth-Network-392516100818794/?fref=ts
These camps are supported by the St. George Traditional Council, the Pribilof School District, the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, the St. George Island Institute, the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island, St. Paul Tribal Government, City of St. Paul, Trident Seafood, the University of Alaska, Anchorage (UAA) research team, and the Tanadgusix Corporation, the National Park Service, and ConocoPhillips.