AK: The Birds & The Bees

This week on AK… Valentine’s Day is approaching and love is in the air, so what better time to get a lesson on The Birds & The Bees? We’ll learn about sexuality education in Alaska’s schools and meet a couple who are testing their love on an eco-friendly trek across Alaska. Plus, tracking magpie migration and gearing up for bee season. All that and more coming up this week on AK from APRN.

The Birds
In October 2006, the Alaska Bird Observatory in Fairbanks began “Migrating Magpies,” an ongoing effort in which locals help scientists figure out why magpies might be migrating north of the Alaska range — permanently. In Fairbanks, Emily Schwing spoke with the Observatory’s Susan Sharbaugh, Athabascan elder Howard Luke and Audubon Alaska’s Stan Senner, and brings us this story.

  • Music Button: “Little Birdie” by Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys from Man Of Constant Sorrow

The Bees
With spring somewhere on the horizon, Alaska beekeepers are already looking ahead to summer honey harvests. AK’s resident bee lover, Ellen Lockyer, speaks with Anchorage beekeeper Dick Allen and Laurie Adams of the Pollinator Partnership, to find out more about the habits, and survival, of Alaska’s bees.

Wrangell’s Spelling Bee
Rebecca Sheir, AK
Alaska schools have been abuzz lately as students have been spelling each other down, in hopes of making State Spelling Bee finals. In Wrangell, the middle school spelling bee was held this past week. Lisa Phu brings us the final moments of the third round, when it came down to two contenders: Haley Reed and Tyler Eagle.

  • Break: “Flight of the Bumblebee” performed by The Mexicali Brass from Winter Wonderland

Champ of the Spelling Bee
On February 29th and March 1st, the winners of Alaska’s elementary and middle school spelling bees will have spell-offs in Anchorage and Fairbanks. One winner from each contest will advance to Washington D.C. for the national spelling bee. AK’s Scott Burton spoke with the Juneau School District’s top speller, 5th grader Braydon Wrightson.

  • Music Button: “Why We Like Spelling” from The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Original Broadway Cast Recording)

300 Villages

  • Calendar of Events (Music: “Makin’ Whoopie” performed by Eric Johnson from Makin’ Whoopie)

Global Warming’s Evil Twin
At this month’s Alaska Forum on the Environment, Dr. Richard Feely will give a talk on ocean acidification. He says oceans take in about a third of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere; this CO2 raises the water’s acidity. As he tells APRN’s Lori Townsend, that affects the ability of species like clams, crabs and mollusks to grow their hard shells.

Fish on Acid
The Alaska Marine Conservation Council has been spreading the word about the threat of ocean acidification in communities around Alaska. After a recent presentation in Petersburg, Matt Lichtenstein talked to fishermen to get their reactions.

Acidification’s Effects
Casey Kelly visited the Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Kodiak and spoke with Robert Foy. Foy and other scientists are looking at the potential effects of acidification on both the ocean ecosystem and our fisheries.

  • Break: “Sexx Laws” performed by Old School Freight Train from Pickin’ On Beck

Sexuality Education
The state of Alaska doesn’t require sexuality education in schools. AK’s Rebecca Sheir meets two South Anchorage High School seniors who — with help from people like Anchorage School District Health and P.E. Coordinator Sharon Vaissierre – are campaigning to bring comprehensive sex ed to their school.

Rebecca Sheir, AK
Teaching sexuality education in many Alaska communities is likely made more difficult by cultural factors. In many Native communities, showing any affection is sort of taboo — much less talking about the hard stuff. AK’s Rebecca Sheir talks with Kenny Steel, who grew up with her Yupik grandparents outside Bethel.

  • Music Button: “Let’s Do It” performed by Dinah Washington from In the Land of Hi-Fi

Love Trek
“Ground Truth Trekkers” Erin McKittrick and Bretwood Higman left Seattle last June, to embark on a human-powered trek to the Aleutians. During a brief layover in Anchorage, they told Matt Rafferty about their trip.

  • Closing: “The Birds and the Bees (Instrumental)” by Patrick & Eugene from The Birds and the Bees – EP