1 April, 2002
We have traveled across 250 wilderness miles where there were no signs of human civilization. There was nothing but the snow upon the open tundra and rolling hills. Since we left Council, our eyes have beheld the Alaska wilderness. However, today we were welcomed into the Native Alaskan village called Buckland. It sits on the banks of the Buckland River at the other end of the Seward Peninsula. It sits quietly amongst the wilderness. Buckland is alone and isolated. It's 500 mainly Native Alaskans are situated and dependent upon each other for living. There are no roads to Buckland. Buckland exists as a tiny settlement amongst the grand Arctic terrain.
During winter the main means of transportation are snowmachines since their life is dependent upon snow for 7 months of the year. The other means of transportation are four-wheelers to mainly go to hunting and fishing sites. People do travel to the neighboring village of Selawik for companionship and the joy of visitation to another village. The main mode of travel is airplane, which takes the people to the larger places of civilization such as Nome and Anchorage.
Life is simple in Buckland. The 500 people are centered around the school, the community small store, washeteria, a gas pump, and the small power plant. A generator at the power plant that someone monitors produces the electricity. The washeteria is where people shower and wash clothes. It is connected to the village water tank. Since Buckland has main water areas surrounding the village, there is much fishing in this area. The Alaskans also still perform traditional whaling practices hunting the beluga whale. The Native Alaskans are still connected deeply to their native culture but are also very modernized. This is evident in the Buckland School.
Buckland school is a newly built school and has state-of-the-art equipment. There are 154 students enrolled at the school for grades K-12. The facilities are beautiful and modern. It is hard to believe that the school sits amidst true wilderness. The children learn all the subjects that are taught in other United States schools. However, the native Alaskan Inupiat language is still taught to the children. The importance and connection of the children to their native culture is passed on in the schools.
We very much appreciated our overnight rest at the school. The clean showers and a warm bed were in need. Today we were able to put on a presentation for all 150 students from grades k-12 at the school. SnowSTAR 2002 brought out all of the fancy scientific equipment that is used to make snow measurements. The students entered the gymnasium by grade groups. The science equipment was set up on individual tables and one member of the team monitored each table. The students rotated from table to table and were able to see the demonstration of the equipment. The student's eyes were opened to a whole new world of snow. A world of snow that they have lived in for their lifetime but today they were opened to a new dimension.
SnowSTAR 2002 would like to give special recognition to Cheryl Jong's Earth Science class on their measurements that were taken on the weather throughout the year. They have been recording the daily temperatures, newly fallen snow, total snow depth, and wind direction. These measurements will be used to map the weather patterns on our route.
WHERE IS MRS. CHEUVRONT????? LET'S PLOT!!!!!
Latitude: 66.25216 degrees North Longitude: -160.72174 degrees west
HIGH TEMP: -3 degrees Celsius
LOW TEMP: -6 degrees Celsius
Our visit to Buckland was splendid and we all enjoyed teaching and interacting with the children. However, it felt good to be back on the move. As we traveled on the wind blew in some fresh snow against our faces. A small herd of caribou was spotted on the snow spotted tundra. We stopped at two measurement sites along our route today, and then traveled onward along a marked trail north to our next village of Selawik. Tonight we rest in a shelter cabin along the trail. Tomorrow we move on.....
Contact the TEA in the field at .
If you cannot connect through your browser, copy the TEA's e-mail address in the "To:" line of your favorite e-mail package.