Friday, January 31, 2014

SNRAS student aims to improve quality of life in Ghana with her research

By the time Josie Sam, a SNRAS doctoral student, completes her degree in the coming year, she will have come up with a model for sustainable water projects in developing countries.

Sam recently returned from several months in Ghana, where she conducted extensive interviews with village residents. “I want to help sustain rural water projects,” Sam said. “We have learned from experience it’s no good just fixing pumps. They need a long-term supply of clean water.”

Josie Sam (at right) chats with children at a school in the Ajumako District of Ghana.
The key may be empowering women with the tools and skills to repair water pumps. “Giving women technical training was not part of the original design,” Sam said. But once the idea was presented by an engineer, the women took hold of it. “I could just see their confidence grow,” Sam said.

“In the past when a pump was broken it might take months to get it repaired. Now I see women taking the initiative. Some have gathered stones for drainage and one even painted the pump that was turning rusty. The confidence the women showed was pleasant to see. They are translating it into doing their other things and taking ownership.”

While in Ghana Sam did an internship sponsored by the UAF Resilience and Adaptation program with the Environmental Health Department in the Ajumako District, assessing the needs for water, sanitation and hygiene in elementary schools. She also participated in a UNICEF training on water, sanitation and hygiene.

Sam has been a student at UAF since 2009, first earning her master’s degree, then going on to work on a Ph.D. Her advisor, Associate Professor Susan Todd, said, “Josie's work on how to improve rural water systems in Ghana is a very important area of research. She's ideally suited to this, since she speaks the local language and has years of experience in that district, plus people trust her.”

When Dr. Todd visited Ghana, she noticed that Sam can be tough when she needs to be. “People respect her for that,” Todd said. “But can also empathize with her respondents and they know she is there to improve their access to clean water. Ghana is blessed to have someone like her. Here at SNRAS, Josie is also a mentor to both undergraduate and graduate students. All of us have learned a lot from her.”

Sam firmly believes that fixing problems for people will not create a sustainable system. Her dream is to find a way that wells can continue to provide clean water to rural villages. “The challenge is to find exactly what helps,” she said. “The lessons we learn will be applicable over the world. We are looking at guidelines in jointly managed projects, such as management, financial commitment, active participation of the community, positive attitude, perception of the importance of water facilities, demographics of the village. We are on the lookout for other indicators.”

Sam’s research is important because of the value of water to health and safety. “Water is important for drinking, cooking, bathing, washing clothes,” she said. “Many people are using traditional sources such as streams or rivers that may be contaminated.”

In communities without pumps, people must travel up to two miles to haul polluted water back to their homes. “Collecting water is the work of women and children,” Sam said. “Some of them spend as much as four hours a day fetching water.”

In Ghana, the original wells were dug by the government in the early 1990s. Many of them broke down two or three years later. “Some women understand the importance of clean water and they do not give up.”

Sam believes in the project so much that she and her “second family,” Lewis and Judith Shapiro of Fairbanks formed the Nyarkoa Foundation in 2007. The foundation was created to develop and fund projects to provide sustainable sources of clean water for the rural population in the Ajumako Enyan Essiam District of the Central Region of Ghana. It is a non-profit 501c(3) corporation chartered in Alaska. Since its inception, all donations to the foundation have been used for project expenses in Ghana; administrative and travel costs have been, and will continue to be, paid by the officers of the foundation.

For a student from Ghana, it would be hard to select a place any more different from home than Fairbanks but Sam has adapted to life in Fairbanks quite well. “It’s a really friendly atmosphere,” she said.

“Going to UAF has been very rewarding. It’s been everything I hoped it would be. The professors are supportive and helpful. It has opened avenues for me.”

Josie Sam (at left) interviews a village resident in Ghana.

A village well in Ghana. (Photos courtesy Josie Sam)

Related post:
Ghanaian student adapts to Fairbanks lifestyle, SNRAS Science and News, June 100, 2009, by Nancy Tarnai

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Second STEAM Institute announced

In affiliation with OneTree Alaska, the second Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math Institute will be offered July 6-18 in Fairbanks. Registration is now open.

Hosted by SNRAS and the Boreal House Art and Science Center, the two-week immersion is geared for teachers, artists, scientists, university students and anyone interested in the boreal forest. The theme is "botanical immersion through multiple lenses."

Participants will select and define a plot on the UAF trail system for scientific inquiry and aesthetic inspiration. They will identify and work with plants, insects and interrelationships through multiple lenses. They will learn, observe and record with drawing, data collection, words, poetry, technology and design. Each will contribute a botanical illustration with writing to an encased portfolio, which will be printed and presented to everyone in the institute.

Educators can earn four 500 level credits from the University of Alaska Southeast while participating in ongoing teacher connections throughout the two weeks to discuss classroom practice and implementation. A well-developed curriculum piece is required for credit.

Tuition is $500. For credit, there is an additional $100 fee.

plant identification, structure, phenology (repeating events in the lifecycle of an organism), ecological relationships

time lapse photography using iPads, augmented reality, writing

design of casement structure for suite of art plates

drawing in color pencil, fine pen, watercolor, color theory, botanical illustration history, layout and design exercises,
 completion of an art plate

scientific measuring, calculations for engineering a portfolio casement

fFieldSketchngLogo 2  

Jan Dawe - UAF SNRAS research assistant professor, botany, forestry
    and ecology
Margo Klass - UAF lecturer in art, mixed media and book artist
Karen Stomberg - retired Fairbanks North Star Borough School District art coordinator, artist, curriculum integration 
Chris Pastro - FNSBSD teacher, Extended Learning Program,
     curriculum integration
Zac Meyers - UAF SNRAS instructional designer, technologist
Frank Soos - UAF professor emeritus, poet and writer

North Pole High School teacher Laurel Herbeck took the first STEAM workshop in 2012 and the field drawing class in 2013. She then incorporated what she learned into her high school art classes. Here are her impressions:

The first time we replicated the project exactly, with each student doing a page in the book, which we called "Pond Walk, Fall in North Pole and Two Rivers." The second project was a specimen book that focused less on the science and more on field drawing-collecting and making observational drawing of specimens, using colored pencil. 

In the STEAM workshop and field drawing classes  I learned about the science of plants: identity, classification, habitat, range and climate, reproduction, seasonal changes and what to observe in a plant. I also learned the history of botanical books,  how botanical artists work, what materials they use and how botanical drawing differs from other kinds of drawing.  In the STEAM workshop I  was provided resources for learning and teaching plant science and botanical drawing that I could apply to classroom projects. I will continue to do botanical drawing projects every year.

I have been involved in Northwoods Book Arts Guild and One Tree Alaska as an educator and book maker almost since the inception of these projects.  The opportunity to teach botanical illustration to my students an at the same time explore the beautiful woods and landscape around the pond behind North Pole High School was irresistible. I have long been interested in combining science and art. The first project was printed for us at the FNSBSD Print Shop by Bobby J. Trujillo, and looked just as wonderful as the books produced in the STEAM workshop.  Margo Klass, the" book engineering" instructor and book artist, came to help us with the construction. 

Students worked very hard on both projects and produced beautiful books. They thought the work was challenging, but were very proud of their results. I would recommend this class to teachers as a way of integrating science, math, engineering, technology and art, as well as a way to challenge students to work the way professional scientists,  botanical artists and book designers work. These projects were a form of authentic learning that teaches creativity, problem solving and skill mastery, exactly what we want our students to be able to do as 21st century learners!
STEAM participants in the woods in summer 2012.
"This institute is a unique, heterogenous mix of scientists, artists, naturalists, students and teachers," said Karen Stomberg. "It's a wonderful mix. Everyone brings something different to the table."

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

SNRAS student broadens horizons in Australia

Natural resources student Paul Lambert can't think of one single thing that shines in his memories of his six-month exchange to Australia. "It all stands out," Lambert said.

"I would like to tell other students that international travel is not such a big deal; it's not intimidating as I had thought. It's very refreshing to find different perspectives and ways of thinking."

Paul Lambert at King David's Peak in Walls of Jerusalem National Park, Tasmania. (Photo courtesy of Paul Lambert)
He loved the unique Aussie expressions and intends to keep using some of them. "Throwing another shrimp on the barbie," is not one of those. In fact, Lambert said he never heard the Australians say it, just other exchange students.

"We had a lot of barbecues. It was warm enough to be outside." Often at lunchtime, the students would barbecue snags (hot dogs), lamb chops or roo (kangaroo).

Lambert particularly enjoyed watching footy, a cross between rugby and football.

When deciding on foreign study, Lambert chose Australia because of the common language. "But I thought it would be different from other places," he said. "It was excellent. It was not only fun but a broadening experience.

"It was similar enough I was comfortable but also very different." Classes were comparable to UAF, but Lambert noticed a lot more student involvement. "Yet students were very laid back. They didn't talk about upcoming assignments. It seemed less scheduled."

In the end, he learned that even with all that easygoing style, the professors graded tougher than he was used to. He studied at La Trobe University in Melbourne and lived on campus in a dormitory. The food had a definite Indian influence, with curry on the menu almost daily.

When he concluded his studies in November, his father, Steve Lambert, flew to meet him and they backpacked in Tasmania for a month. They saw wombats, a huge variety of birds and wallabies. Hiking trails often featured boardwalks or stone steps and sometimes there were huts to camp in. Since Lambert had worked on a trails crew in Chugach State Park, he paid attention to the trail system and appreciated the hard work that had gone into it.

Father and son quickly discovered that the ultraviolet rays are more intense in Tasmania. After getting badly burned they bought special sunscreen.

Happily back at his studies at UAF, Lambert said he recommends a semester exchange for everyone. "If your class schedule allows it, do it," he said. "I highly recommend it. I'd do it again if I could."

Paul Lambert and his father Steve Lambert on Mt. Jerusalem, Tasmania.

Wallabies (Photos courtesy of Paul Lambert)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Lecture on Holy Land set for Jan. 23

Glenn Juday
Professor Glenn Juday will present a lecture, "Natural Resources and the Holy Land: Geography, History and Natural History," Thursday, Jan. 23 from 3:40 to 5:10 p.m. in Arctic Health Research Building 183.
The lecture is part of the Natural Resources Management 692 graduate seminar taught by the School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences faculty.
Juday traveled the Holy Land extensively in 2011, writing posts for this blog. His highly detailed and informative stories are accompanied by photographs he took on his journey.
Read the Holy Land posts from 2011 here.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Graduate student invents DIY reverse osmosis system for birch sap concentration

SNRAS Master's International student and OneTree service learner Tricia Kent has created a method of concentrating birch sap that will provide a boost to K-12 science education in Fairbanks.

As part of her research and service learning commitment, Kent is working on a reverse osmosis system that will be used to concentrate birch sap for the OneTree Alaska "Tapping into Spring" program.

Kent's undergraduate focus at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was in materials science, and she has worked in fabrication technologies and as a metallurgical engineer for Chromalloy. She switched to natural resources management as her M.S. focus, and in March she moves to Mexico to serve in the Peace Corps. She expects to be engaged in environmental education while also working on some aspect of non-timber forest products research for her master's project. She will begin training in Queretaro, Mexico, March 20.

Tricia Kent takes measurements in the UAF arboretum. (Photo by Diane Hunt)
"Trish is a great example of what service learners provide in a higher education context," said OneTree Alaska Director Janice Dawe. "She is someone who can take their academic training -- in Trish's case, a combo of materials science, horticulture and natural resources management -- out of the classroom and into K-12 classrooms and the community."

"The DIY reverse osmosis that Trish is building is an innovation for us," Dawe said. "It will greatly enhance the processing of birch sap by concentrating the sap sugar and removing a large percentage of the water in the sap, before it's boiled down to syrup. Trish is coming back to Fairbanks in late January through mid-February to complete work on the RO unit and train the rest of the OneTree Alaska team in its use. We're also talking with the engineering senior design seminar, in hopes that one of the students will choose to adopt the project as their senior capstone project."

Tapping into Spring is a program that engages hundreds of K-12 children in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District each spring with tapping trees for sap. The students will get to see the RO in action on field trips to UAF University Park Building to process their sap.

"We also expect backyard syrup makers may be interested in the cost savings and labor reduction represented by this DIY reverse osmosis, which is being built for less than $500," Dawe explained. "No plans have been made at this point to work with local syrup-makers on this; we need to complete the first season of sap collection with the RO."

Kent chose to work on this project because of her interest in non-timber forest products (materials that can be harvested from a forest that are not used for lumber). "This is an extensive list, but one that is particularly applicable to our boreal forest is birch sap," Kent said.
Last summer she visited the East Coast where the maple syrup industry is booming and talked with farmers and maple syrup makers to learn more about the process and figure out a way to apply this knowledge to birch sap.
"I hope that growing the Tapping into Spring project by building an RO unit will allow us to process more sap than in the past, and provide new and exciting science and engineering lessons for our classrooms," she said.

"We have had issues with the birch sap evaporator aspect of the Tapping into Spring program," Kent stated. "I originally was going to get an evaporator for the project and have it running off of steam from the UAF power plant. However, between the huge demand for custom-made evaporators and the renovations to the power plant coming in the next couple of years, the evaporator project got pushed to the back burner. The RO unit was a smaller project that could still provide interactive learning opportunities for our OneTree students."

Related video:

Watch a clip of Tricia Kent describing her DIY reverse osmosis machine.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Giant Map gets students excited about geography

Students at Pearl Creek Elementary School walked across the Pacific Ocean today, locating trenches, learning about subduction zones and discovering animal habitats.

Actually, the students traipsed on a Giant Traveling Map of the Pacific, on loan to the University of Alaska Fairbanks geography department from National Geographic.

Teacher Cori Dunavin was happy her students had the opportunity to explore the map. "I hope they get a sense of curiosity about geography and where things fit in," she said. "And they are using teamwork to solve problems."

Katie Kennedy gives instructions to sixth graders at Pearl Creek Elementary School.

Pearl Creek sixth graders mark where the Philippine Trench is in the Pacific Ocean.

Enthusiastic students learn about their world during a giant map activity.

This is the seventh year UAF has taken Giant Traveling Maps to schools across Alaska to emphasize geography education. This is the second visit for the Pacific map. Previous ones have included Africa, Asia, North America and South America. The only map that hasn't made it to Alaska is the one of Europe.

In the hour that Katie Kennedy, UAF geography education and outreach coordinator, has with each class she tries to spark interest and get students excited about geography.

"They learn geography concepts while having fun, moving around and working in teams," she said."Being able to walk across a map, there's something magical about that. Even the adults get giddy. It's fun."

Kennedy said she feels an urgency about getting into the schools with her geographic toolkits. "Geography education has been de-emphasized," she said. "It was one of the core areas of No Child Left Behind but it was the only one that didn't get funding."

It's important that students learn geography because it can show them how the world works. "It connects the physical and human features in the world," Kennedy said. "People need to be geographically aware. Geographic knowledge is important in just about any field. When you start thinking geographically, it's a way of problem solving."

Kennedy will work with Fairbanks students the rest of the week at Barnette Magnet School, Ladd Elementary School and Ticasuk Brown Elementary. Next week she takes the map to Deering and the last week of January she will be in Kotzebue and Anchorage.

While in Kotzebue, Kennedy will feature the map at a community science night event on Jan. 28.

UAF collaborates with rural campuses and other community organizations to offer Community Science Nights around the state. The goal is to bring fun interactive science activities to communities throughout Alaska. Some of the activities planned for the Kotzebue Community Science Night are:
  • view a planetarium show to learn about the wonders of the sky (Alaska Summer Research Academy)
  • step on to the National Geographic giant traveling map to learn more about the world around you
  • watch dancing oobleck and learn about it's strange substance (Alaska Summer Research Academy)
  • dissect sea creatures (Alaska SeaLife Center)
  • extract your own DNA(Alaska Summer Research Academy)
  • learn about polar bears and ice (Eyes on the Arctic)
The Chukchi Campus, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, National Park Service and the Selawik National Wildlife Refuge will also be involved. For more information on the Kotzebue event, contact Tiffany DeRuyter, UAF College of Natural Science and Mathematics.

Related video:
Watch Dr. Richard Alley's video about subduction, Ring of Fire, which Kennedy shares with students during her Pacific Ocean presentation.

Laurie Wilson named employee of the quarter

Laurie Wilson, laboratory manager at the Matanuska Experiment Station at the Palmer Center for Sustainable Living, has been selected the SNRAS employee of the quarter (January to March, 2014).

Since 1977, Wilson has worked in the lab, analyzing soil and plant tissues for UAF researchers, farmers, gardeners and contractors. She is in charge of running samples of soil, hay, grain and other materials for nutritional content.

"I get to do a lot of different things," she said. "Lab work could be boring but mine is interesting because it's different every day."

Laurie Wilson
Her supervisor, Norman Harris, said Wilson keeps the aging lab equipment in tip top shape. "Professional maintenance technicians on service agreements have often commented that this is the cleanest and best-maintained equipment they have seen," he said.

"Many school departments and state and federal agencies send samples to the lab because of their confidence in her excellent work and her attention to detail."

When the former lab manager retired, Wilson picked up that portion of the job as well as her original responsibilities. "She has been instrumental in maintaining the stellar reputation of the lab when major cuts lead to the termination of three lab technicians, leaving her as the only employee for five years," Harris said.

Wilson is a ready source of ideas on how to improve the lab operations and has successfully implemented them once they are approved.

"She works hard to make our annual Agriculture Appreciation Day a success by talking to businesses and getting their support and donations," Harris said. "Laurie is a unique individual and will be impossible to replace."

He described Wilson as an open individual always willing to help on projects and freely share her knowledge with others. "She has trained many students who praised her for her great skills, concise instructions and  tremendous patience.," Harris said.

"The teaching has never been part of her position description and has, for the most part, been unrecognized. She is the glue that holds the Palmer center together, which is why she is affectionately and respectfully nicknamed the Queen."

Wilson is planning to retire in the near future and her dream is that UAF will find a replacement for her who will keep the lab going and make it even better.

In her free time she enjoys swimming, gardening and being with her dogs.

Monday, January 13, 2014

UAF scientist veers toward potato research when life brings detour

Jenifer Huang McBeath of the University of Alaska Fairbanks has been researching biological controls and developing environmentally friendly methods for farmers to combat plant diseases since 1985. This work resulted in a patent granted by many countries. She never intended to switch her focus to potatoes, but life had other plans for the Rutgers University-educated professor.
“I got sidetracked,” she said.
Jenifer Huang McBeath in a rice field, Luliang County, Yunnan Province, China

The detour came in 1988 when Alaska experienced an epidemic of bacterial ring rot so bad that Alaska farmers could not sell seed potatoes to buyers in other states and Canada several years. “It was a real detrimental situation,” McBeath said. “It was chaotic.”

She stepped in to help when farmers asked if she could clean up the disease that was devastating potato businesses. “You can’t grow crops without knowing what and where the diseases are,” McBeath said. Following that experience, she agreed to help farmers try to export seed potatoes.

“We can’t compete with big potato states like Idaho and Washington,” she said. “The only way I could think of was to go abroad. Transportation was the equalizer.” Born in China and raised in Taiwan, McBeath found these countries could be the best markets for Alaska potatoes because neither had accepted potatoes from foreign countries due to concerns about diseases. Her connections and language skills gave her an edge.

While visiting Taiwan in 1991 to give a presentation on her biological control work to government officials, she took the opportunity to introduce Alaska seed potatoes and in 1994 Alaska was the only state that shipped seed potatoes to Taiwan. By 2003, Alaska had become the only state allowed to export seed potatoes to China, but they must be of lab tested, disease free quality.

Analyzing diseases in potatoes can be a tricky proposition, to say the least. Certification standards that work in the lower 48 simply don’t work here due to the intense photo period, short season and cold soils that come with summer in the Interior. “The symptoms can be disguised,” McBeath explained. “Plants might look healthy because they grow so vigorously but they can carry viruses and bacteria.”

In the methods she developed, McBeath takes up to 1,000 samples from a seed lot and tests them against 11 pathogens in her lab at UAF. “The only thing that differentiates these potatoes is the lab test,” she said. “If potatoes are not tested accurately there is a high probability of repeated epidemics.”

When chemicals are used to combat disease they are slow to break down in Alaska’s soils, making the for toxic conditions. McBeath asserts that tests must be done yearly to keep Alaska’s potatoes disease free. Once that is achieved for four years, crops can be exported. Already, there is an order for 100 tons of Alaska seed potatoes from China. McBeath hopes that farms can start shipping soon. Last year’s drought caused a phenomenally low yield of tested potatoes at seed potato farms, a setback for the project.

“The Chinese are watching Alaska very closely,” McBeath said. She has been to China several times to study potato diseases and has brought Chinese dignitaries to visit Alaska.

Surprisingly, the potato is one of China’s top four crops. “The potato’s position in China has been greatly elevated in recent years,” McBeath said. Not only is it a food product, but the starch is used in the plastic, fiber and pharmaceutical industries. “It’s an extremely important crop. I hope every farmer in Alaska becomes aware of the seed-growing potential.” Currently, there are only two seed potato farms in Palmer and one in Delta Junction.

A crucial element to success is the state’s simpler and cleaner environment. “All we have to do is be careful,” McBeath said. “Equipment has to be sterilized and we have to identify diseased plants and get rid of them. It is my utmost goal to keep this state pristine and help keep our environment free of pesticides.”

In addition to where spuds have taken her career,  McBeath also loves them on her plate. “Growing up in Taiwan, potatoes were rare,” she said. “My father would make stew with potatoes and I said I wanted to eat potatoes all the time when I grew up.” Little did she dream where that wish would take her.

“I am grateful that Alaska has given me the opportunity to grow as a scientist,” she said. “I’ve seen extraordinary things in my career.”

This column is provided as a service by the UAF School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences and the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. Nancy Tarnai is the school and station’s public information officer. She can be reached at

Peony growers workshop scheduled

A Jan. 30 workshop in Anchorage will focus on the business aspects of growing peonies.

The financial risk management workshop will run from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the BP Energy Center at 900 E. Benson Blvd. Rod Sharp and Jeff Tranel, agriculture and business management specialists from Colorado State University Extension, will lead the workshop. Topics will include start-up costs, annual expenses and revenues, profitability analysis and take-home tools.

Lydia Clayton, a University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service agent from Soldotna, said the workshop will give current and potential commercial peony growers a good picture of the costs associated with growing the popular cut flower.

The fee is $30 or $20 for Alaska Peony Growers Association members. Register online at or at 2 p.m. the day of the workshop. Sponsors include the UAF Cooperative Extension Service, Alaska Farmland Trust, RightRisk LLC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency.

The workshop will precede the Alaska Peony Growers 2014 Winter Conference Jan. 31 to Feb. 1, also at the BP Energy Center. See more information about the conference at

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Giant map allows students to explore Pacific Ocean

Students from Kotzebue to Craig will dive into the wonders of the Pacific Ocean with a gymnasium-sized map of the world’s largest ocean. The map, measuring 26 feet by 35 feet, will give student explorers a fun, interactive experience through rich content and exciting activities that enliven the study of geography.
Designed for grades kindergarten through eight, the map is on loan to the geography department at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Alaska Geographic Alliance throughout January as part of National Geographic’s Giant Traveling Maps program, managed by National Geographic Live, the public programming division of the National Geographic Society.
The Giant Traveling Map of the Pacific Ocean.
The brightly colored vinyl surface of the map will allow students explore some of the unexpected geography at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean: from the deepest place on earth, the Mariana Trench, to the world’s tallest mountain, Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, which has its base on the ocean floor. Most of all, students will experience the Pacific as a living entity, with active volcanoes giving birth to new islands, deep sea vents supporting new life forms, phytoplankton blooms providing over half of the planet’s fresh air and the Great Barrier Reef, the largest living structure in the world.
Katie Kennedy
Katie Kennedy, UAF geography education and outreach coordinator, will lead activities to help students interact with the map: “Cities in the Sea” invites students to explore the extraordinary biodiversity of four reef ecosystems; “The Deep & the Dark” simulates for students the depth of the Mariana Trench and fifteen other ocean floor trenches; and “Ocean Commotion” allows students to travel the ocean surface along the paths of eight major currents, finishing in the middle of the Pacific garbage patch, where they learn about human impacts on ocean health. Also accompanying the maps are lavish photo cards of animals and plants, hand-held models of volcanoes and colorful coral reef replicas.
National Geographic’s Giant Traveling Maps program was introduced in 2006 with a map of Africa. Since then the program has expanded to include maps of North America, Asia, South America and the Pacific Ocean. The maps reinforce National Geographic’s commitment to increasing geo-literacy through teacher professional development, K-12 curriculum, live events and academic competitions.
Jan. 9, Craig City School, Craig
Jan. 14, Pearl Creek Elementary School, Fairbanks
Jan. 15, Barnette Magnet School, Fairbanks
Jan. 16, Ladd Elementary School, Fairbanks
Jan. 17, Ticasuk Brown Elementary School, North Pole
Jan. 23, Deering School, Deering
Jan. 28, Kotzebue Middle School, Kotzebue
Jan. 28, Community Science Night, Kotzebue
Jan. 31, Chester Valley Elementary School, Anchorage

Monday, January 6, 2014

Master's International student posts photos from The Gambia

SNRAS Master's International student Samantha Straus is nearing the two-year mark of her Peace Corps service in The Gambia. She recently sent photographs to show what life is like for her in Africa.

Samantha Straus with Gambian local learning how to test water quality in honey. They used a refractometer calibrated for honey.

Constructing beekeeping equipment.

Samantha Straus with her host mother, Dado, at Kaur school for a garden training.

Samantha Straus with village children. The boy with his hand on his heart, Musa, helps haul water for Straus.

Samantha Straus works alongside friends during a beekeeping workshop, preparing to hang the Kenya Top Bar.

Straus and her host sister paint a hand washing mural at the school kitchen to encourage students to wash hands before eating.

The SNRAS Master's International program allows graduate students to earn a master's degree in natural resources management while serving in the Peace Corps. Straus writes about her time in The Gambia in her blog, Banto Faros.