Thousands of black brants nest each spring on a piece of marshy tundra near Chevak, in Western Alaska. And for nearly three decades, the small geese have been the research focus of biologist Jim Sedinger. In 1984, the University of Nevada Reno professor decided the brants would be good subjects for a long term study on a bird population. This summer, he brought an audio recorder out into the field.
Until the late Nineties, Adak was a bustling military base. It had a bowling alley, a movie theatre, and housing for thousands. Now, with the Navy gone, the Aleutian town sits mostly empty. There’s a chance Arctic drilling could turn it into a boom town, but right now, the place feels like a collection of modern ruins. KUCB’s Alexandra Gutierrez traveled Adak to find out what it’s like to live among them.
For many residents of Tenakee Springs, in Southeast Alaska, life revolves around the community bath house, which is fed by the hot springs that give the town its name. Now, this old local institution is receiving a very 21st century renovation, as local people have raised money to convert the building to geothermal heat, putting a modern spin on the town’s ancient resource.
Five years ago, Peter Williams was depressed and an alcoholic, hitting bottom. Now, he’s a successful artist in Sitka who hunts sea otters and sews mittens, scarves, and other products from their fur. He says learning how to hunt marine mammals offered him ‘a place to heal.’
North America’s only Permafrost Research tunnel is pretty nondescript from the outside. But a small brown building built into a hillside by the Army Corps of Engineers in the late 1960’s is actually the gateway to nearly 40-thousand years-worth of geology, ice and history. Few Alaskans know it exists, but that might change this weekend when, the Corps hosts the first ever Permafrost Tunnel Open House.
Kids can learn to be an astronaut at Space Camp. For song and dance, maybe it’s off to Broadway camp. Fish science? For that, there’s no better place than Bristol Bay Salmon Camp. Nine high schoolers from around Alaska learned aquatic science skills as they studied the ecosystem of spawning salmon in Wood TikChik State Park recently.
It’s no secret that Alaskans love their beer, and in Anchorage it’s showing now more than ever. Established local breweries are constantly expanding and new smaller operations are always popping up. David Waldron recently tracked the adventure of one such brewery.
A library is more than a collection of books. In a small town like Sutton in the Matanuska Valley, the library serves many functions. It’s a meeting place for people of all ages, a storehouse of information, and a door allowing a peek into the community’s past. Sutton residents have worked for years to raise funds for a new library, and last month, that dream became reality.
In the tiny and remote communities of southern Baranof Island in southeast, there aren’t enough kids for a school. So parents have to home school. And both the parents and the kids try to strike a balance between a more traditional education of reading, writing, and arithmetic, with a more creative approach.
The Fourth of July in Alaska is all barbecues, parades, and – depending on how south you are — fireworks. But for one man in Unalaska, Independence Day came a week later. Koang Deng, a South Sudanese refugee, observed the first anniversary of his homeland’s independence by celebrating vicariously through relatives half a world away.
The famous late singer-songwriter John Denver loved the outdoors. Denver got a taste of Alaska’s wilderness on a visit to the state in the 70s. One of his stops was to the McCarthy-Kennecott area. Thirty years later, residents there pay tribute to that visit with a concert. KCHU’s Tony Gorman traveled to McCarthy to attend the fifth and final John Denver Tribute Concert and has this story.
Thirteen years ago, eight year old Durga Owens was found shot to death near his family’s remote homestead off the Steese Highway north of Fairbanks. No one has ever been charged with the murder. AK first started looking into the story of Durga’s murder five years ago. Over the past year, Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock discovered that investigators are still reluctant to share any information about the case.
The Grumman Goose seaplane has served the Aleutian region for the better half of a century, shuttling residents from remote islands to Dutch Harbor. But once the new Akutan airport is complete later this summer, water landings in the Bering Sea will be a thing of the past.
Researchers from the Smithsonian Institution visited Sitka recently. The group works at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC. The collection includes countless items from Alaska. Staff members at the museum are well acquainted with those items. But they don’t often get to see where the items began. To do that, they turned to Sitka resident and renowned Tlingit weaver Teri Rofkar.
May and June are some of the best months to go birding in Alaska. And the city of Anchorage is no exception. There are hundreds of different birds to spot, and no limit to the characters you’ll find watching them. APRN’s Dave Waldron is not a birder, but on a recent spring morning, he found his way into the flock.
The Mountain View Boys & Girls Club is packed with kids after school. One reason they show up is the music. There’s a room filled with instruments and a digital production studio. Now an Anchorage DJ who grew up in the neighborhood is adding to the mix by sharing his craft.
Alaska Natives living in some Arctic coastal communities became the nation’s first climate change refugees when the loss of protective ice, exposed them to huge waves and storm surges, making it too dangerous to remain in their homes. But inland villages are also feeling the affects of global warming. Melting permafrost is devastating the delta community of Selawik. To find out how residents are coping, Johanna Eurich visited the village, where the land is sinking and eroding.
The Southeast town of Wrangell is filled with small locally owned businesses that rely on community support. And the importance of that support was one lesson learned last weekend when students opened their own lemonade stands around the city. The Wrangell kids participated in their first Lemonade Day- a national event to encourage young people to learn about business.
Many mammals across Alaska are waking up from their long winter’s nap. But exactly how they get in and out of hibernation is still a mystery. A scientist at University of Alaska Fairbanks thinks unlocking the secrets of hibernation could help benefit human health in the future.
Birch is one of the most common trees in Alaska. And they can easily blend into Alaska’s forest landscape. But underneath the smooth, tough layer of a birch tree’s bark, something is flowing. It’s a natural treasure with many curative properties. KUAC’s Emily met up with one very enthusiastic scientist to harvest the distinctive liquid.