Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bear Aware

Bear awareness training today went well.  I learned a good deal about Grizzlys, Black Bears, and Polar Bears. First of all I learned how to identify each... the Polar Bear was always pretty easy.  The others have some serious overlap and actually the Polar and Grizzlies are beginning to hybridize now as the Polar Bears are making their way further south in search of food. More importantly I learned how to avoid bears and how to act in the case of confrontation.  I have to say that I am not a big fan of government training already.  There were very important bits of knowledge but they were spread out thinly through an entire days worth of powerpoint lectures.

Fairbanks with the Alaska Range in the Background
Later on in the day I biked over to ABO and met the rest of the field crews. Lindsey is the other intern in my position and she will be going out in the field with Peter Elstner to do point counts.  Justin and Claire are a couple and have been around the world as "field gypsies".  Lindsey and I are staying at Nancy and Jim Dewitt's house now and it is an even better situation than the last.  This house is up in the forest on a hill overlooking Fairbanks.  It is a bit more of a ride into work every morning but I am sure that being up here has some serious advantages as well.  
Summit Drive going up to the house I am staying in.
Bike path through town.

Downtown Fairbanks park on the Chena River.

The Dewitts contribute a great deal of time and resource to ABO and Nancy even rescues injured birds and uses them for educational purposes. Unfortunately a few days before I arrived her Great Gray Owl escaped and is nowhere to be found.  However she does still have a Boreal Owl that I intend to check out later on.  We are living in the downstairs of their house which is actually much like an apartment and a decent one at that.

Tomorrow I go back to the federal building for firearm training.  I can't wait to get this stuff out of the way so I can start to get into the actual birding and point-count survey training.

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